Powerful TV Proves We Need Black History Month Now More than Ever

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The month of February commemorates Black History Month, a time for our country to celebrate the hardships and hurdles the black community has overcome. 

Yet, it also serves as a reminder that the fight for equality doesn't stop here, and there's no way 29 days could sufficiently pay homage to the numerous victories achieved. 

Even with the abolition of slavery well over a century ago, the black community still fights for freedoms in all aspects of the law and society.

And unfortunately, our country has a history of turning a blind eye to its problematic past riddled with racism and oppression.

Good Trouble - Social Justice

History provides important lessons and acts as a cautionary tale, so we may not repeat it, but it seems America hasn't learned that lesson to the fullest. 

Police brutality, poverty-stricken neighborhoods, racial profiling, and other issues facing the black community are all weeds from the deep-seated roots of racism that run strong through the veins of this country. 

Many current TV shows, whether comedy or drama, have included narratives that speak these horrific truths. 

While the news ran wild of stories involving police brutality and unwarranted killings of black people, TV shows scrambled to impart similar storylines. 

The Johnson Family - black-ish

A show centered around a black family living in a typically affluent white neighborhood, black-ish made way for a new branch of TV shows to join the ABC network. 

Responding to important topics of police brutality, the history of slavery, and a reaction to Donald Trump's election, the show makes sure to cover a broad range of important topics, and through its comedic lens attempts to put a lighter spin on otherwise depressing facts.

A standout episode of the series that received news coverage on ABC News, black-ish Season 5 Episode 2 set out to tackle the topic of police brutality. 

Taking a moment to step aside from the jokes and the laughs, Dre and Bow discoursed over the realities of the world they lived in and the importance of talking them over with Jack and Diane, no matter how young they were. 

Dre and Jack - black-ish Season 5 Episode 2

Offering a pause to the typical bantering tone of the sitcom, through teary eyes they memorialized the moment Obama gave his inauguration and offered a bit of hope to the country, alongside the fear of losing said hope. 

Following its predecessor, Good Trouble Season 1 focused on Callie's clerkship of the Jamal Thompson case, easily reminiscent of the Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin cases that sparked an entire movement. 

The ruthless shootings of black men happen far too often, the statistics easily show that black men are far more likely than white men to be gunned down by the police. As expressed on black-ish, police brutality toward black people is nothing new, the cameras are. 

The Black Lives Matter Movement was formed in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, in hopes to intervene in a racially unjust system. 

BLM - tall - Good Trouble

In order to bring awareness and let it be known that every human being no matter their ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender deserves equal rights. 

The scenes of Jamal's mother on Good Trouble Season 1 Episode 3 speaking in front of the courthouse in tears begging for justice for Jamal's murder were heartbreaking.

Easily an empowering moment, but one no mother should ever have to endure. Yet, a moment that is too often heard of.

A tragedy that many black parents have to explain and explicitly warn their children about. 

Ben and Bailey hug - Station 19 Season 3 Episode 1

After Bailey and Warren worked on a case on Grey's Anatomy Season 14 Episode 10 of a black child shot by the police after attempting to climb through the window of his own house, they expressed the harsh actualities to young Tuck.

Where most parents know "the talk" as a prepubescent sex discussion, Grey's Anatomy exchanged the term to refer to a lesson in police compliance, a lesson black parents must give to their children.

Accompanied by somber music, Bailey and Warren informed Tuck of the proper way to handle himself if confronted by the police, explaining that he did not have the same privileges as his white friends.

He could not climb through windows, throw rocks, or play with toy guns.

Tuck - Grey's Anatomy

The impressions left behind from the recency of the civil rights movement are visible with the prevalence of beleaguered black neighborhoods. Neighborhoods often left with fewer resources and underfunded school systems. 

On This Is Us Season 3 Episode 2 we were brought along Randall's journey as he attempted to achieve what most of the tenants had tried countless times.

As expected, his persistent fight for the Rec Center did not bode well with the tenants.

He saw a run-down building with dead streetlights, warped pipes, and broken water heaters. ChiChi, William's friend, explained to him that the tenants were not the sum of their parts. 

The Family Man - This Is Us Season 3 Episode 2

And, although Randall tried to use his blackness to identify with them, she reminded him he was not one of them. 

He was not raised like them, and their issues were deeper than just run down amenities.

Simply changing a lightbulb or fixing a radiator wouldn't ease the pains they were accustomed to. Bandaging the wounds doesn't truly get to the source. 

The interaction between ChiChi and Randall opened a conversation, making this powerful scene worthwhile.

(TALL) Struggling With Anxiety - This Is Us Season 4 Episode 11

Many politicians initially begin their careers for reasons similar to Randall to to impart change and make a difference. 

However, just like Randall, most politicians don't come from the same background as the constituents they're trying to aid, offering them a skewed perspective.

Instead of trying to offer help from a desk, they should take time to sit with the people and get to know the place rather than immediately jumping to conclusion about the faults they initially see. 

We can all learn about Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X in school but still be blinded to the real-time difficulties continuously plaguing the black community. 

picket line

However, at the very least, with popularized TV shows taking a stand to highlight these tremendous challenges and heinous situations, we're left with a greater understanding that Black History Month is more than a hasty 29 days to recognize the achievements already made.

But, additionally to remind us of the long journey that still remains.  

We'd love it if you left a comment down below with your thoughts and any memorable scenes that moved you. 

Inga Parkel was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She left the organization in June 2020.

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