It’s time to talk about the Black elitism and anti-Blackness portrayed on ‘This is Us’

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  • Shawna

    That was a very thoughtful piece. It read kind of one – sided. It seemed to ignore that Randall was a child and adult with above average book intelligence whose adoptive parents supported wholeheartedly. And, their rejection of his adoptive grandmother for elitist and racist views. Also, it seemed to ignore how the show challenged the assumptions of Beth and Randall about the birth mother’s lack of interest in her child by portraying her legitimate reason for being a no – show to a visit in jail by her daughter, and also the preparation the birth mother made to provide for her child once she was released for a crime that was committed by a lover, if I recall correctly, not her. All very realistic dramatizations of real- life black experiences.

    • I wasn’t ignoring Randall’s upbringing as much as I was putting this season’s fostering story in a larger context of Blackness and how the characters are written. The show did challenge Beth and Randall and showed that Shauna was doing her best to take care of Deja. However, that doesn’t change how Beth and Randall acted/reacted. Randall surveilled Shauna without her permission, spying on her by driving to her home to check and make sure she was a fit mother, again overstepping his role. I think these are important things to point out as they are ways that we see a predominantly upper-class, well-to-do Blackness play out on television. The Pearson’s are not working class people. I think that is my core point here. That I would like to see more diverse Black characters that aren’t either poor or extremely well-off.

  • Amber Rein

    I don’t think their being overprotective of Deja was portrayed as anti-Black at all. When Deja was placed with them, they were informed that this was her mother’s third strike and she likely wouldn’t be realeased, and that Deja had been in and out of several group/foster homes. Their being protective was not anti black, it was being what real parents are, concerned for the long term living conditions of that child, not just the immediate where Deja’s Mom is getting her mess together for the umptenth time. That was shown when Deja, the child, had to talk her mom down and tell her to follow the rules. Doing his own surveillance of Deja’s mother was what he needed to do to assure himself, not overstepping, because the “system” has a record of letting our children down often. I’ve seen and experienced that first hand, and I’m definitely part of the working class. Just because it is not a depiction of what you, yourself, has lived through, does not mean it’s not an accurate portrayal of what it means to be black. Like Shawna said above, your piece is thoughtful but it is very narrow sighted.

    • Please expand. What have *I* lived through, exactly? You seem to know me. Shawna and I are good, long-term friends. I’m not sure you and I have ever met. But, you’ve clearly got some understanding of who I am and are using that to analyze this piece (which is actually not about me).