This ‘Black-ish’ Scene Perfectly Captures Many Black Americans’ Reaction to the Election

By Sameer Rao Jan 12, 2017

Last night’s (January 11) episode of ABC’s "Black-ish" continues the sitcom’s tradition of offering cathartic testimonies to African Americans’ resilience in the face of structural racism.

As The Washington Post recounts, "Lemons" follows the Johnson family as it reacts to Donald Trump‘s victory on Election Night and the weeks after, working to reconcile disappointment with the pressure to be conciliatory toward White associates. Children "Zoey" (Yara Shahidi) and "Junior" (Marcus Scribner) make lemonade of the situation, re-enacting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech to relieve tension with White classmates. Mother "Rainbow" (Golden Globe-winning actress Tracee Ellis Ross) seeks comfort in effusive support for humanitarian causes, donning Habitat for Humanity and UNICEF apparel. 

But it’s father "Dre" (Anthony Anderson) who delivers the episode’s most emotionally resonant scene. Frustrated by his ad agency colleagues’ constant post-election bickering in the face of an important deadline, he snaps after a White one questions what he perceives to be Dre’s political apathy.

Dre’s remarks, transcribed below, are delivered over Nina Simone‘s "Strange Fruit" while images of Black America’s oppression under—and political resistance against—White supremacy flash on screen:

You don’t think I care about this country? I love this country even though, at times, it doesn’t love me back. For my whole life, my parents, my grandparents, me, for most Black people, this system has never worked for us.

But we still play ball, tried to do our best to live by the rules even though we knew they would never work out in our favor. Had to live in neighborhoods that you wouldn’t drive through. Send our kids to schools with books so beat up, you couldn’t read ’em. Work jobs that you wouldn’t consider in your nightmares.

Black people wake up every day believing that our lives are gonna change, even though everything around us says it’s not. Truth be told, you ask most Black people and they tell you that no matter who won this election, they didn’t expect the hood to get better. But they still voted because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

You think I’m not sad that Hillary didn’t win? That I’m not terrified about what Trump’s about to do? I’m used to things not going my way. I’m sorry that you’re not and it’s blowing your mind, so excuse me if I get a little offended because I didn’t see all of this outrage when everything was happening to all of my people since we were stuffed on boats in chains.

I love this country as much, if not more, than you do, and don’t you ever forget that.

Keeping with the episode’s theme of post-election unity, Dre later suggests that "maybe, instead of letting this destroy us, we take the feeling you guys felt the day after the election and say that morning, we all woke up knowing what it felt like to be Black."

Those with cable subscriptions can see the full episode on Watch the scene above and let us know what you think in the comments.