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Is Black-ish a good show?
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The show is an off-beat and constructive portrayal of a black family

"Black-ish" breaks new ground in terms of portraying black familial relations in a genre where the only point of reference is a white family. It provides an alternate perspective into reclaiming and embracing black identity.

The Argument

"Black-ish", an American sitcom that premiered in 2014, began with the premise of Dre Johnson, the head of the Johnson family, panicking over the fact that his four children were not “black” enough.[1] This set the tone and objective of the show; to understand through light-hearted comedy what it means to be black, and how this definition changes from one generation to the next. "Black-ish" follows the lives of Dre, his wife Rainbow, a liberal anesthesiologist, and their five children, who navigate not just their own lives but also try to make sense of the socio-political problems that plague society at large. One of the reasons why the show succeeded beyond expectations within the sphere of sitcoms was the fact that it added a splash of color in an otherwise predominantly white arena. While shows like "Full House" depicted a middle-class white family as they explored newly founded familial connections, warmed the hearts of countless viewers, they were also over-represented with a plotline that had been re-used repeatedly. "Black-ish" worked its way into the lives of its viewers by carefully balancing both the familial drama and the ability to open discussions on various issues. The topic of identity is a sensitive one, be it racial, sexual or gender, particularly when it comes to family. While current trends focus on trying to Westernize and imitate the whites, "Black-ish" stands apart where the idea of being a proud black family becomes a priority, brought out through subtle actions instead of sermonizing.

Counter arguments

While "Black-ish" does make waves for its portrayal of a Black family surviving in a majorly white neighborhood, structurally it is not very different from any other major white family sitcom. It checks all the requirements of a typical show; one parent who tries desperately to relate with his children, the other who holds the family together, children who try their patience at every given point, one family member who doesn’t approve, and one racial character desperate to fit in with the majority. All in all, "Black-ish" is a near-perfect imitation of the stereotypical white family in pursuit of their American Dream.[2]



[P1] "Black-ish" is different from the other typical white family sitcoms that have similar plotlines.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] - The Johnson family is structured very similar to other white sitcoms, thus strengthening the stereotype.


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 7 Jul 2020 at 19:20 UTC

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