'Black-ish' Brilliantly Tackles Police Brutality in the U.S.

February 25th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

Wednesday's episode of the ABC sitcom "Black-ish" is receiving praise for its critical take on police brutality in America and racial disparities in the criminal justice system.


The episode, "Hope," took a hard look at real-life cases of police shootings and asked the question: When is it the right time to introduce Black children to the reality of racial inequality in policing? The family discussed recent cases — the police-involved killings of Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, Sam DuBose, and Eric Gardner, for example — while watching a fictionalized case play out on TV.



The parents, Dre (Anthony Anderson) and Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross), questioned whether they should involve their youngest children in conversations about racism in law enforcement, specifically regarding the disproportionate number of unarmed Black people killed at the hands of U.S. police officers. While they agreed that reality would eventually set in, Bo worried that the children would lose their hope and innocence if they're exposed too early to racial injustice.

Anthony Anderson Monologue on Hope & Obama from Blackish

#UIRandall: Say what you want about black-ish but they put on a tremendous episode tonight! Check out Anthony Anderson's chilling monologue about hope & Obama. #blackish #BlackishABC

Posted by Urban Intellectuals on Wednesday, February 24, 2016

"Hope is what keeps us as a people and a country moving forward, and sadly the best way to end that movement is to take away that hope," Dre said. "That hope, at its core, is all we really have to give our children — a belief in something better — but when everything around them is doing its best to squash that belief, what do you do?"

Viewers were impressed by the episode's uncompromising approach to a subject that's often difficult to navigate, especially in the form of a sitcom. The Twitter world applauded "Black-ish" for making the bold move and offering a comprehensive overview of issues that have historically affected (and continue to affect) Black communities throughout the country.

"There are disappointingly few shows on network television right now that could air the kind of episode 'Black-ish' aired on Wednesday," The Atlantic reported. "Not only did 'Hope' consist entirely of Black voices discussing police brutality, the shootings of unarmed civilians, and a legal system that seems geared toward protecting bad cops, it also managed to be a funny sitcom at the same time."

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