This is Us and Why We Should Celebrate Black History Month

My family watches every episode of This is Us as soon as it’s available. We love how complex the storylines are and how the writers tackle the most complex situations Americans face. As a transracial-adoptive family we watched how young Randall faced racism within his own family (Rebecca talking to her mom after the basketball scene) and appreciated scenes that showed how important it is for white adoptive parents to educate themselves about the specific needs of their Black children (pool scene).

While I do want you to watch the clips I’ve shared to get an idea of how a TV drama can educate the American public on microagressions (the grandmother) and ignorance (Rebecca, Randall’s mother) today’s main resource is an article written by the actor who plays young Randall in those scenes. Please read the whole article.

Lonnie Chavis

I can recall a time on set when I started crying listening to an actor portray a racist grandmother toward my character. The director and writers told me that they didn’t need me to cry for the scene. However, it was hard for me not to cry as I witnessed what I had just learned was my reality. I wasn’t acting, I was crying for me. Can you imagine having to explain to a room full of white people why I couldn’t hold back my real tears while experiencing the pain of racism? I can.

Lonnie Chavis recalling his experiences preparing for the scene with the basketball (“Rebecca talking to her mom” in Resources below)

Go read the article and then come back to this.

(Did you read it?) Okay, now how does that tie in to Black History Month?

We are still dealing with so many visible and hidden instances of racism and the only way we will move into a more accurate view of our nation’s history is to learn. Setting aside a month to focus on the trials Black Americans overcome and to highlight past and present Black contributors is critical to that education. As evidenced by the other episodes in this series, there are a lot of topics to consider when approaching the topic of Black History and what needs to take place in the minds and attitudes of white Americans. We could easily dedicate a few more months out of each year and still it would take quite some time to catch up to where we need to be.

Consider reading these articles about why Black History Month is important for our country:
* 5 Reasons You Should Celebrate Black History Month BY Jemar Tisby
* The importance of black history and why it should be celebrated beyond February by Karma Allen
* This Is Why We Still Need Black History Month by Bene Viera
* Want more? Google “Why Black History Month” and read away.

Resources:
* Article – This Is Us Star Lonnie Chavis, 12, Shares His Experiences with Racism: ‘America Needs to Change’ – Lonnie Chavis – People.com – June 17, 2020
* This is Us – pool scene part 1 and part 2 **watch both parts***
* This is Us – Rebecca talking to her mom
* This is Us – More info about the basketball scene. The entire family loves football. No one is interested in basketball, but because Randall is black the grandmother bought him a basketball. The grandmother also expressed surprise that he was the one to be accepted into a private school, but stopped short of saying, “because he’s black.”
* 5 Reasons You Should Celebrate Black History Month BY Jemar Tisby
* The importance of black history and why it should be celebrated beyond February by Karma Allen
* This Is Why We Still Need Black History Month by Bene Viera




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Previous posts in this series:
Intro: #OnceYouSeeRacism
1. Build your “talking about racism” muscles. – {general racism}
2. The Dangers of the Colorblind Mentality – (color blind mentality}
3. Be Color Brave, Not Color Blind {color blind mentality}
4. See and Honor Color {color blind mentality; “the talk”}
5. What is an Ally? {allyship}
6. Allyship – digging deeper {allyship}
7. What Privilege? {white privilege}
8. Nobody is mad at you for being white. Nobody. {white privilege}
9. What “White Privilege” is and is not. {white privilege}
10. Juneteenth… {freedom, history}
11. Erasing History… {freedom, history}
12. Jim Crow Laws {freedom, history}
13. Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man – Emmanuel Acho
14. Systemic Racism and Bob the Tomato {systemic racism; education; lending}
15. Mortality and Black Skin {systemic racism; health care}
16. Redlining {systemic racism; housing}
17. Bootstraps and the GI Bill {systemic racism; military benefits}
18. You are here {microaggressions, Black History Month}

About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
This entry was posted in #OnceYouSeeRacism, Racism/Race Issues. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to This is Us and Why We Should Celebrate Black History Month

  1. Pingback: Microaggressions | thehamricks

  2. Pingback: Grace, Justice, & Mercy | thehamricks

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