Black-ish‘s Take on LGBTQIA Discrimination Leads Conservative Pundit to Miss Point Entirely
ABC’s Black-ish has never been shy about social commentary. In this week’s episode, they took on LGBTQIA discrimination, and conservative pundits seem to be missing the point.
Specifically, Bow and Dre took on discrimination doled out by bakeries who refuse service to gay couples when they go into a bakery looking for a gender-reveal cake for Bow’s upcoming baby shower. You can watch the scene above, but here’s the important bit:
Dre: Come on, Bow. Get to the point, all right? We need a sex cake.
Cashier 1: What?
Bow: Uh, no, no, no, no. We’re not perverts. We are just having a party to reveal the gender of our baby.
Cashier 1: Oh! You need a “Gender reveal cake.”
Bow: Oh, my God. That’s so much fun. Great. So, you can do this? [ Laughing ]
Cashier 1: Yes. Oh, yeah, we can bake any kind of cake you want. Oh! Just as long as it’s not for a gay wedding.
The Johnsons promptly leave the establishment and take their business elsewhere…to a bakery that only discriminates against French Canadians, which they find much more palatable.
Obviously, that’s a joke. Prejudice is never cool, kids. But the joke highlights the ridiculousness of the entire notion of not serving customers because the cake happens to be for a gay wedding. I mean, if I owned a bakery, I likely wouldn’t agree to cater a KKK event, but that’s because the KKK…actively hurts people. Baking a cake for a party where two people are celebrating their love for each other? Even if you don’t believe gay people should get married (*sigh*), it’s not a big deal, by comparison, and a strange place to draw one’s moral line in the sand when it comes to their business.
In any case, one conservative pundit—NewsBusters‘ Lindsay Kornick—seems to have not only missed the point, but also not realized who the show is for.
At first, she wrote, “Hmmm, so apparently it’s ok to discriminate against people for who they are (French-Canadian) but not what they choose to do (go against the biblical form of marriage).” Well, um, no. But I’ve covered that already. Let’s move on.
“At least the episode took the radical position that private business owners can serve or not serve whomever they like,” she says. “With customers free to simply take their business elsewhere. Hey, maybe people CAN learn something from this show after all.”
Hmmm. So she apparently didn’t think the show had anything to teach in, say, this clip (on our rigged law enforcement system and police brutality):
Or this one (on use of the n-word and the word “colored”):
Be that as it may, she is also trying to get us to buy that anyone could look at that bakery scene and end up on the side of…the discriminatory bakery? I’m sorry, but that’s not how storytelling works. Generally, in any story, you’re supposed to be on the protagonists’ side. If they make a choice, it’s probably the choice the show is advocating. If the protagonist makes a mistake, they usually learn from that mistake, or get some sort of comeuppance to signal to the audience that their choice was wrong.
That’s not what happened here. The Johnsons heard the bakery discriminated against gay couples, they dismissed the cashier, left the bakery, got their cake elsewhere. The end. No comeuppance, or “lesson learned” for them anywhere to be found. Black-ish is on the side of walking out of a place that discriminates, not on the side of a business’ “right” to discriminate. So no, Ms. Kornick cannot re-purpose this episode to make her own point.
Her piece then asks, “I wonder if it surprises some liberals to know that rogue Christian bakers aren’t just lurking around dark alleys to not sell cakes to gay couples (the horror!), they just want to make a living without the government forcing them to violate their religious beliefs under penalty of lengthy and expensive lawsuits or hefty fines.”
I will buy that as an argument when these businesses that are so concerned about their “religious beliefs” do background checks on every person they serve to ensure that their customers aren’t murderers, child molesters, rapists, or any other kind of actual, you know, criminal. When businesses stop being hypocritical, singling out particular types of people that offend their religious sensibilities (gay weddings—the horror!), we might be able to take those sensibilities a little more seriously. Until then, it’s still discrimination. And discrimination is against the law, a law designed to protect not only religious beliefs, but also freedom from the imposition of religious beliefs (Fundamentalists always seem to miss that part).
Rather than trying to impose her own message onto the show, I wish she would listen to what Black-ish is really trying to say. She might actually learn something.
(via LGBTQ Nation, featured image via screencap)
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