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The thing is this: TNT is making a TV show for a country in which 50% of white people think that not only are they not the beneficiaries of immense privilege, they are the MOST OPPRESSED demographic in America. They have 7x the wealth of African-Americans, are infinitely less likely to be shot by cops or arrested, dominate representation across all media — etc etc — but as Michael Kimmel said, if you’re used to privilege, equality feels like oppression. Basically, Trump was elected by people who think that the fact that people now call them out for saying the n-word in public is as bad as mass incarceration based on racial profiling, and who consider the breaking of some shop windows a worse injustice than children getting murdered by police officers: remember, as a wise man once said, in a capitalist society, a “looter” is the worst thing to be, since it’s the antithesis of “consumer”.

So you have to start somewhere, and that starting off point tends to be, alas, the surface level. Sure, you could have Cornel West and Angela Davis and Henry Louis Gates dropping truth bombs on people, but a) we already have “The 13th” for that, and b) the kind of people who don’t listen to Angela Davis and Henry Louis Gates already would tune out in an instant.

So, are the discussions being had on the show superficial? Sure. But it has SOME merit, I reckon, since the vast majority of its potential audience is even more clueless than Sir Charles is. You have to start somewhere, and while “there is a problem” is indeed not much of an analysis, it is also a step ahead from “everything is fine”, which is the assumption under which most of White America (tm) operates.

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