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Richardson writes: "Strategically placed ad-libbing, background chatter and overlapping dialogue combine to slyly convince you of its authenticity - that not only does 'Parenthood' belong to an age of realism and daring and diversity, but it's helping create it."

Joy Bryant and Dax Shephard in NBC's 'Parenthood.' (photo: National Broadcasting Company)
Joy Bryant and Dax Shephard in NBC's 'Parenthood.' (photo: National Broadcasting Company)

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+1 # stonecutter 2012-01-19 06:59
"As the teen flees, Harley says, “You’re making a bad choice, son.” The boy replies, “I ain’t your … son” — and shoots Harley in the face. In under a minute we’re confronted with the history of white American paternalism and its many consequences."

If I'm in a restaurant, and I call the waitress "sweetheart" as I'm wont to do, a harmless term of endearment and friendliness that is second nature as a lifetime New Yorker and a nice guy, I don't expect her to scream at me, "I'm not your sweetheart!" and pour scalding coffee over my head, or worse shoot me in the face! If feminist anger-monger Andrea Dworkin were still alive and accused me of overt sexism, I might say she has a (very weak) point, but still, would I deserve to be SHOT for it?

The writer of this flaccid, neatly contrived critique about insidious white "race-blindness " on TV has her own blindness. Without so much as a word of condemnation for the teenager's SAVAGE behavior in the above quoted scene, she puts the onus on the white guy's "paternalism". His concern for the boy thug, who's just mugged him, gets him SHOT IN THE FACE, but it's HIS fault? Of course the mugger's not his "son", but in the real world there's no rational equation to be made between that perhaps misplaced endearment and such a savage, violent response, other than irrational hatred and rage. Not only does the writer ignore this dynamic, she blames the helpless victim for three centuries of slavery. Get real.
+1 # Glen 2012-01-19 09:44
The paralysis of analysis. This article is constructed, in truth, to continue racial issues by over analyzing anything offered, and yes, as stonecutter wrote, to continue pushing white superiority as the only culprit.

The author conveniently forgets that all races have serious issues concerning behavior, or even serious psychoses. Those behaviors can be blamed on as many genetic and environmental influences as may be listed in a society such as we have in the U.S. Not just racism.

Yep, racism exists (Believe me, I have breathtakingly racist family members who I could quote here, but won't for fear of that being turned on me, as being racist. Such is the picture of confusion in the U.S.) and most probably will never exit the planet, but let's never forget the many other forces driving hatred and violence.
0 # Billy Bob 2012-01-19 11:32
Our consciousness of race informs almost every political opinion we have. Just like in politics, discussions about race are always disengenuous. We're all aware of a slippery-slope theory which prevents of from giving too much ground in the discussion.

On the right, they like to pretend white racism is in the past and, therefore, blacks bear complete responsibility for the cards they're dealt in life. ------- Secretly, they know this isn't the truth. Secretly, they themselves often harbor pretty racist opinions. Secretly, they worry that admitting that would destroy the ideal that we all need to be personally responsible and they worry that such an admission would only enable more violent crime by blacks.

On the left, we like to admit that white racism is still very real, but pretend we aren't part of it. We also like to pretend black people aren't equally racist. We also like to think people have no say whatsoever in the hand their dealt. -------- Secretly, we know ALL of us have some racist tendencies and that, in some circumstances we rely on them to protect us in certain dangerous situations. Secretly, we know black people who probably aren't taking responsibility for some aspects of their own lives and we realize that a disproportionat e amount of violent crime is committed by blacks. CONT.
0 # Billy Bob 2012-01-19 11:32
CONT. We fear that admitting these truths would undermine the very real and necessarry means to actually fix the situation, because we realize people like Gingrich have an axe to grind and want to stop paying to send black people to public schools. We realize that people do what they know and what they feel they must to survive. We also realize that a culture of violence only breeds future generations that are increasingly violent and people can't escape the lives they're forced to live.

If an honest discussion about race or politics were ever to begin, centuries old problems would actually be solved. An honest conversation will never happen, however. As a result, 100 years from now, Mexican Americans will be about as much "outsiders" as Italian American and Irish Americans are now. Blacks, however, will probably still be about where they are today, unless that honest discussion and an honest acceptance of MUTUAL responsibility for America's biggest societal problem actually takes place. The solution would, for a time, be almost as ugly as the disease it's trying to cure.
0 # stonecutter 2012-01-19 15:28
@ Glen and Billy Bob

In both your comments, the illumination of analysis...the other side of the coin. Some problems in this society seem insoluable, as if they're not meant to be eradicated, but understood and "overcome" by the best angels of our nature.
0 # Glen 2012-01-20 06:38
Stonecutter, in my experience, worldwide, racism exists. In some parts of the world, indigenous people are treated so badly it is breathtaking. To avoid a lot of that abuse, many declare themselves to be mestizos. Racism will never end. It is in the nature of the human beast to be territorial, clannish, and all else related to a primitive survival mode that is no longer necessary. We're all a bunch of monkeys. Sadly, we're a bunch of monkeys with deadly weapons.

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