Tag Archives: African-Americans

Home Sweet Home Review

The best way to learn about someone who is different from us is to spend a day in their shoes. Though the outcome is not 100% guaranteed, the hope is that we see that person behind the stereotypes and the labels.

NBC‘s new reality show, Home Sweet Home premiered last Friday. Created by writer/producer Ava Duvernay, it is a sort of gentler version of Wife Swap. Each episode follows two families who switch lives and homes for four days. While in the other’s house, they live as that family does and meet their loved ones. At the the end of that period, they meet for a meal and get to know those who they have temporarily shared their lives with.

The participants in the first episode are a heteronormative Caucasian Greek Orthodox couple and an African-American LGBTQ couple.

Though the show could border on schmaltzy or the typical overly dramatic reality television formula, it doesn’t. It has a nice balance of tension and the predictable narrative that the audience has come to expect for the genre. What I found appealing was that it spoke to the humanity in all of us. The connection between the two families was the thing that drew me in. Despite their differences, they not only got along, but they became friends. The hook that will keep me watching was a statement by the father. He realized that it is possible to raise children that are happy and successful without forcing the traditional cis gender two parent structure down our throats.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Home Sweet Home airs on NBC on Friday night at 8PM.

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The Wonder Years Review

The Wonder Years is one of the most beloved television series of the modern era. The story of growing up from the perspective of Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) speaks to the 12 year old in all of us.

The reboot of the series premiered on Tuesday on ABC. As in the original program, the story is set in 1968, but in Montgomery, Alabama. Our protagonist is 12 year old Dean Williams (Elisha Williams). Narrating the story from decades in the future as the adult Dean is Don Cheadle. As Dean starts on his journey from childhood to adulthood, the Civil Right movement plays on in the background affecting everything and everyone around him.

The Wonder Years is one of the best new series of the fall. It has the charm and nostalgia of its predecessor, while feeling relevant with the issues that African-Americans and other people of color are still dealing with. It hits both the heart and the head, making the viewer think while reminding us of the joys and perils of being on the precipice of our teenage years.

Do I recommend it? Yes

The Wonder Years airs on ABC on Tuesday at 8:30 PM.

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Filed under History, Politics, Television, TV Review

The Gilded Years: A Novel Book Review

Education is the one thing that should make us all equal in terms of future opportunities. But for that to happen, the type of schooling one receives should not be dependent on skin color or zip code.

In 2016, The Gilded Years: A Novel, by Karin Tanabe, hit bookshelves. In 1897, Anita Hemmings was a senior at Vassar College. She is popular, well liked, and on an academic track to do well post graduation. But Anita has a secret. She is African-American. Though she is light skinned enough to pass as Caucasian, there is the ever present danger of being outed for who she really is.

Her new roommate is Louise “Lottie” Taylor, the daughter of a wealthy and prominent New York family. The mask that Anita has been wearing for the last three years begins to crack as the girls become friends. Trouble, as it often does, comes in the form of romance and the opposite sex. Lottie starts crushing on Anita’s younger brother Frederick, who is as light skinned as his sister. In addition, Anita is spending her free time with a handsome and well to do white Harvard student.

With the end of the school year and her degree in sight, Anita’s secret is too close to be revealed. If it is, her entire future is possibly ruined before it has even started.

The narrative, based on a true story, is an interesting cross between School Ties (1992) and Imitation of Life (1959). It takes place in an era in which the idea of women being educated was only starting to become normalized. Add in race and you have a heady mix of social issues and the question of who is worthy of receiving an education. The book is like a powder keg, waiting to explode. It is only a question of when and what the damage will be.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History

Books That Speak to the African-American Experience

It has been said that we can never know how another person sees the world until we walk a mile in their shoes. But books have a way to providing that perspective.

As our country and our culture once more grapples with racial tension and the troubled history of our mutual past, books may be one of the keys to bringing us together.

The Yellow House by Sarah Broom

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Proud: My Fight For an Unlikely American Dream by Ibtihaj Muhammad

Joshua: A Brooklyn Tale by Andrew Kane

It may be simplistic to say that reading the books listed above or any book will help to solve our issues. However, I believe that by at least beginning to understand another’s perspective, the doors to communication, understanding, and diversity may truly start to open.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, History, Jane Austen, National News, New York City, Politics, Pride and Prejudice

The Flag Of South Carolina

Sometimes, it takes a an extraordinary event to force change.

Last week’s murder of nine African-Americans in Charleston proved once more that even with the great strides we have made toward transparent and real racial equality, we have a long way to go.

Since the news of the murders, many have called for South Carolina to change the state flag.

Many in the region might say that history and tradition  are the reason that the Confederate flag remains the state flag despite the history that the flag represents.

But there are others that see the flag as representative of an era when African-Americans were forced into slavery and prevented from receiving their full rights as human beings and citizens.

We cannot go back to the past and change what has already happened. But we can move forward and learn from the past. That includes changes the images that represent the past that we do not want to repeat.

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