FOX’s Shots Fired: A Lesson In How You DON’T Talk About Race

#TeamBlaria! Guess who’s back?! No, not Backstreet Boys, but let’s be real, they never left because they need the work as they’re soooo not about that eating gov’ment cheese life. Fun fact (for my vajeen only, probably): I’m a Kevin girl. That’s right; while all my other classmates were fapping it to Brian Littell and Nick Carter, I was lusting after old ass looking Kevin Richardson. What can I say? I likes my mens like I likes my freshman year copy of Machiavelli’s The Prince: full of life experience and a little wear and tear. Basically, if a dude has to Tim Tebrow mid stroke and call on the big man upstairs to give him enough strenf to finish missionary sex, sign. me. UP! Moving on.

The point is that I’ve been away from Blaria for almost a year because life got in the way. Sorry about that, but in my defense, a lot of stuff happened, so here is a thorough, yet somehow incomplete list of all the things that have gone down for me since I last blogged: I broke up with my boyfriend, moved twice in one year, wore four different weaves in my head, sold and wrote my debut book You Can’t Touch My Hair And Other Things I Still Have to Explain, which is coming out in October (more about that in another Blaria post, but you can buy it here), launched the 2 Dope Queens podcast with work wife Jessica Williams, did some TV gigs, some freelance writing gigs, got harassed online by a supremely unwoke white dude, listened to the Hamilton soundtrack about 30,000 times, went to three U2 concerts and one Billy Joel concert, lost 20 lbs (five of which I have gained back, lol), spent quality time with the family, and been one of three black people a white friend’s wedding. Pretty jammed pack year, eh? Well, now I’m back and literally everything is ridic.

Yes, I’m talking about the biggies like Trump basically being the GOP nominees (DaFuq.com), North Carolina governor (I refuse to write his name) signed a bill blocking cities from allowing transgender individuals to use public bathrooms for the sex they identify as (DaFuq.edu), and my liking THREE Meghan Trainor songs (DaFuq.tumblr.com). In short, I’m pretty much like Puff Daddy at the end of “Victory” and going:

It is indeed all fucked up now, Puff Daddy/Diddy/Sean Combs/Puffy. That is a very astute observation and things are even more jacked up because FOX, home of great shows like The Simpsons, Empire, Bones (Lol. J/K Simmons) has released a trailer for their upcoming show, Shots Fired, that is going to premiere fall of 2016. No disrespect to all the man hours that went into making this one hour drama, but it is Boo-Boo ‘R Us:

Cut to me having the same reaction to this “we’re trying to do good, PC liberal” show as I do when a girl friend of mine has broken up with a fuckboi, deleted his number from her phone, but she still follow him on Instagram, so he DMs her to get back up in her 5 for $25 Victoria’s Secret:

FOX, you had onejob.com/about and that’s not to fuck up the story about police brutality and y’all fucking Lolo Jones’d this (Remember her?) from the jump and tripped over every gahtdamn hurdle.

HURDLE #1: This is show is basically “flipping the race roles” – white person is victim of police brutality so that, I guess, white audiences can empathize and learn that police brutality is a problem?? Die in a fire; I’ll bring the marshmallows. If the only way you can have empathy for a different race is to see a hypothetical world in which white people are the victims, so then your brain can comprehend what happens to people who don’t look like you, you are a garbage person. If you can’t shed tears over the loss of life unless it was a white person’s, please, as the great scholar of our time, Padma Lakshmi says, “Please pack your knife and go.”

Like, how fucking dare you? Like don’t y’all see how this story line is the crusty jizz left on the dirty sock of the #AllLivesMatter movement? Everyone knows that stats have shown that black people are significantly more likely to be the victims of police brutality, but y’all are like, “What about Connor? I would feel it more if this happened to a Connor.” OK, hire a black actor, name his character Connor, and tell the story then because I am not here to watch people shed some “Red Wedding” tears over a white dude being murdered in cold blood, yet when black people are murdered by corrupt cops and then those families cannot get justice because of a corrupt system, so many people are like:

Like couldn’t this show have been done to represent what happens far too often in real life? Why do we need to flip the races? To be clear, I’m not saying that white people are not the victims of prejudice (and have not been the victims of police brutality), they most certainly have been. However, using the benefactors of systematic and institutional racism (white people) and putting them in the position of the usual recipients of this racism (black people) so we can all learn a “widdle wesson” together is insulting, disrespectful, and down right Chris “Ludacris” Bridges.

HURDLE #2: FOX, y’all thinking can clean up this boo boo of a situation by having a black person at the end go, “After all these unarmed black men who are killed by the police, the government steps in when it’s a white person” is mindboggling. I don’t need to watch a TV show to hear that. I have black parents. A black brother. Old black ladies at the post office. Old black dudes at the barbershop. The OG Aunt Viv from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air who uploads videos of her reading people to filth, which she is straight up chilling in front of the backsplash behind her kitchen sink. These black people and literally all the rest of them have been saying this same doggone thing for years. YOU DON’T NEED A TV SHOW FOR THIS HYPOCRISY TO BE POINTED OUT. YOU JUST NEED A GAHTDAMN SPLASH OF VISINE TO CLEAR OUT YOUR DUSTY ASS EYEBALLS TO SEE WHAT IS GOING ON IN AMERICA.

HURDLE #3: This is usually the point where Lolo Jones gets it together aka the rap song y’all chose for the soundtrack of this trailer starts out promising. Just the piano keys pinging like on Kanye West’s “Runaway,” so I’m into and then the vocals kick in and it’s basically if Macklemore and Bubba Sparxx (Remember him?) had a baby that exclusively to Linkin Park and was like, “Oh! This is what hip-hop is!!!: FOX,

HURDLE #4: This is when Lolo Jones reverts back to failing: The Wire alum Tristan Wilds fine ass has been cast in a lead role in a TV show after having to be in terrible shows like the “90210” reboot in which his character is adopted by a wealthy white family BECAUSE APPARENTLY, THE ONLY WAY PEOPLE OF COLOR CAN BE RICH ON TV SHOWS IS IF A WHITE PERSON “ANNIE”S THEIR BEHIND. Knock knock, hello! The following black people are rich AF: Oprah, Michael Jordan, Beyonce, Robert L. Johnson, Magic Johnson, Jay Z, Shelia Johnson, Berry Gordy, Russell Simmons, Isabel Dos Santos, Bridgette Radebe. The list goes on and on and on. So let’s stop pretending the only kind of black people who exist fall under the “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That Lady” category. Moving on.

The point is that I was happy that Tristan working and then I see he’s cast as the uber racist black dude who is probably using his job to kill white folk. “Nope,” say I and my lady boner. In fact, it’s probably the biggest nope society has ever nope’d in history of nopes. I mean this nope is so big that even Mount Kilimanjaro, if it could talk, would be like, “Oh, shit. Pheebs is serious with all the noping it has going on right now.” Tristan and all the black people in this show deserve better than this crap.

HURDLE #5: This show wants to have us believe that the show operates in a world where there are tons of black victims of police brutality which the government does not care about and that loss of white life is devastating, yet when it’s insanely obvious that Tristan is racist and killed a white dude, he is still allowed to be out in these streets alive? LMAO. How dis show gonna last 19 minutes let alone a season’s worth of episodes? I mean, y’all. Y’all. Y’ALL. THIS IS WHAT WHITE PEOPLE DID WHEN LEBRON JAMES OPTED TO PLAY WITH THE MIAMI HEAT INSTEAD OF THE CLEVELAND CAVS BACK IN 2010:

White people burned jerseys, cursed on national TV, got drunk and started fighting in the streets all because LeBron chose to not play basketball in their city. White people turned this very non important situation into the end of Lean On Me and were marching in the gahtdamn streets. So FOX wants me to believe that when lots of evidence points to a white dude being murdered by a racist black cop, white people are just going to wait as patiently for some justice as I do when I’m line the Spanx fitting room line at Macy’s:

I. DON’T. THINK SO. What would have happened is that a bunch of white people would have showed up to the police station where Tristan works and been like:

Said, “I’ll be right back” and then come back like:

And shot up the entire station, killing everybody and that would be the end of the show.

Of course, I’m being over the top right now, but the point remains the same: I am sick and tired of manipulative bullshit being made in order to get white people to care about things they should care about in the first freakin’ place. I’m tired of it being acceptable that the well of compassion that people of color have for white people is as deep as the well Buffalo Bill used to keep his victims in yet when the tables are turned, people lose their everlovin’ minds if the victim is non-white and well of compassion is about as shallow as gravy boat at Thanksgiving dinner (Remember when Rue’s character died in the Hunger Games movies and the insane vitriol that happened because Rue is black?).

People of color care about white characters ALL. DA. TIME. When Kate Winslet’s inconsiderate ass did not move over on the floating part of the boat, so that Leonardo DiCaprio could stay alive at the end of Titanic, so many POCs were hella sad. When Demi Moore was essentially wearing a mushroom cap from the Super Mario Bros. video games as a haircut and did that single tear over Patrick Swayze, POCs were “Oprah ugly crying.” And when Katherine Heigl’s lonely ass couldn’t find a man and so she was single for each and every wedding, in which she was in the bridal party in 27 Dresses I was cry-sturbating right alongside her. I don’t have to see another black person in pain to recognize the hurt. No matter the race, I connect on a human level. I can put myself in another person’s shoes and imagine how I would feel. In fact, all non-straight and non-white people can. We have been conditioned to care about the souls of white folk. We have been groomed to be moved by the trials and tribulations of white people. We have been programmed to think that the ups and downs of white people are the only valid ones. That the stories about white people are the only ones that deserve to be be told. And as a result, we are the “Other,” the “exotic, the “this does not compute because it does not come in the form of white.” But we’re not the Other. We are just like everyone else and we don’t need to have our experiences, like a pot of spaghetti, strained out so all that is left is whiteness, so that’s it’s more palatable. So while Shots Fired is a Looney Tunes mess and its intentions are hella misguided, I shouldn’t be surprised.

If we can live in a world where a black boy can be killed for walking in the wrong neighborhood and a black woman ends up dead in a prison cell after a routine traffic stop and once the dust has settled and the cases have been tried, the world goes back to functioning like police violence towards black people isn’t a problem worth solving or even acknowledging (as was the case with a former high school classmate who sent me a message saying that I’m inciting race wars for merely pointing out that there is a race problem in this country), then it stands to reason that a show like Shots Fired exists. It makes sense that if the world, at large, cannot identify with black victims of racial violence, then why the hell would the world have the capacity to look at black that way in the form of a TV show for entertainment. Clearly, Shots Fired is not the problem, but a symptom of the problem. A problem in which the world does not give a damn about black people because we’re not seen as human. And unfortunately, this show, based on what has been shown so far, which is admittedly not much, is yet another example of that cold, hard, truth and it has me heartbroken. I really hope you can feel that.

Author: Blaria

According to Serial Optimist, NYC-based stand up-comedian and writer Phoebe Robinson “is brilliant and able to critique some really complex concepts in a sentence or two. Bask in it, people.” Which is precisely what The Huffington Post is trying to get people to do when it listed her as one of “18 Funny Women You Should Be Following On Twitter,” but with the way things are going, it seems the place to follow her is on TV. Phoebe is a writer for MTV’s Girl Code and most recently co-hosted an episode of the new series Raising McCain, wrote on the VH1 pilot Chateau Buteau, appeared on FX’s Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell and Comedy Central’s Broad City, was a panelist on VH1’s Big Morning Buzz, and has been featured on several talking head shows for Pivot TV, VH-1, and the TV Guide Channel such as 100 Shows to See Before You Die, 25 Biggest Reality Star Blunders, and 40 Greatest Hip Hop Songs. When not on television, Phoebe’s a writer for Glamour.com and contributes to The New York Times. Her blog Blaria (aka Black Daria) was picked up by The Huffington Post and has been featured on their website. She has also been published in Time Out NY, The NY Post, and The Smoking Jacket. Phoebe has also made her mark in the world of stand up. She was a finalist in NBC’s Stand Up for Diversity competition and was a part of their 2011-2012 USA college tour. Since the tour, she has performed in the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, the Eugene Mirman Festival, the New York Underground Comedy Festival, the All Jane No Dick Festival, SF Sketchfest, the Women in Comedy Festival, the Brooklyn Comedy Festival, and the New York Comedy Festival. Phoebe has also branched out into radio as she has been on Sirius XM’s Raw Dog Comedy, Canada’s CBC Radio, and bitch magazine’s podcast.

2 thoughts

  1. AGREED!!! I have shared this to The Every 28 Hours Plays community. It’s so vital that we deal with reality and not denial. We must fight for representation and this show is just a lie.

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