Monday, August 25, 2014

Being "Black-ish": Column

Being "Black-ish": Column: Do you ever feel as if you are swimming upstream in a river? How about the feeling that you are running into the wind, uphill? Perhaps you could provide some other cliché that implies that one is working harder than one might and against the prevailing opinion of the crowd.

I often feel that way. I do so because I continue to teach African American history at the university level when there are so many cultural clues that many don't feel it is important. I was reminded of my predicament when I learned of a television show, "Black-ish" starring Anthony Anderson, which will air for the first time in Fall 2014 on ABC.

The Hollywood Reporter described the show as an "upper-middle class black man who struggles to raise his children with a sense of cultural identity despite constant contradictions and obstacles coming from his liberal wife, old-school father and his own assimilated, color-blind kids." Anderson plays a successful executive with all the trappings; an enviable address, an expensive automobile, and, perhaps most importantly, a closet reserved solely for his shoes. Yet he wonders what elements of African-American cultural his children must give up in order to "fit in."