Dr. Rainbow Johnson
Blackish Episode “Johnson & Johnson”
Rainbow Johnson is an African American female doctor, feminist, mother of 4 children, and a wife to a man named Dre Johnson. Rainbow’s maiden name is Johnson, and Dre’s last name is also Johnson, so Rainbow never needed to change her last name when they got married. Tension grows between Rainbow and Dre when Rainbow admits that she would have kept her maiden name if their last names weren’t the same. In the TV show Blackish, Rainbow Johnson tears down racial and gender barriers by sticking up for herself and other women and showing that women are powerful people.
Rainbow starts to show her grit when she begins to resist her husband’s traditional beliefs when she would not take his last name. Dre was immediately offended when Rainbow said that she wouldn’t take his last name when Dre says, “So, after all this time, for 17 years of marriage, I thought you were Rainbow Johnson, but in reality, all along, you’re Rainbow Johnson? You’ve made a fool of me.” Dre was embarrassed and thought that he did something wrong to make his wife not want to take his last name. Dre seems to add humor to all of his arguments when he is embarrassed or frustrated. In reality, Rainbow just thought that her maiden name was just part of her identity. Rainbow reinforces the fact that she will always keep her maiden name when she grimaces back, “I was born a Rainbow Johnson.” Rainbow doesn’t believe that you need a man’s last name to define who you are or to prove that you are married. A woman’s strength does not have to come from her husband’s last name but from herself. If keeping Rainbow’s last name makes her feel empowered, then she should be able to keep her maiden name. Dre is very persistent and won’t back down from the argument; however, Rainbow demonstrates a cultural transmission with her strength and power by not backing down. In most marriages, the wife would typically give into the husband, regardless of her feelings. Dre finally backs down when he says, “And I don’t need a name change to know that you really believe in me anymore.” The couple eventually decided that a last name should not define their love. Rainbow not only sets a positive example for viewers, but she also sets a positive example for viewers. Her daughters do not have to take their future spouse’s last name if they don’t want to switch last names.
Rainbow continues to abolish both racial and gender stereotypes because she is an African-American female doctor. Rainbow mentions, “Women like Alice Paul, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinman, these are the women that paved the way for me to be the doctor that I am today.” Many girls and women, including myself, would be inspired by Rainbow’s courage to end the enforcement of the norm of women staying at home and not having the opportunity to work; therefore, she culturally transmits the idea that women should be able to pursue their professional dreams.
Rainbow later empowers other women when she encourages Sharon to keep her maiden name. When Dre convinced Rhonda to ask Sharon to take her last name, Sharon said yes but eventually reconsidered because Rainbow demonstrated that a woman does not need a man’s last name to love him. Rhonda realizes, “And the only name that I insist on calling you ‘wife’.” The most important message is that a last name should not define any couple’s love for eachother. Rainbow’s ability to not only to empower herself but to empower other women shows her true strength.
Overall, Blackish will make a positive impact on viewers because they are going to see Rainbow sticking up for herself in her marriage, and they will immediately realize that women should be able to make their own decisions, even if their husbands do not always agree. Girls and women are going to realize that they can follow their passion, whether it be in medicine, art, music, business, etc. We may be seeing more female doctors in the future! Men and boys will see the strength and power inside of women. Rainbow shows that men do not always have to be the dominant force and breadwinners in the house. As shown by Rainbow, being a woman should not stop women from chasing their dreams.