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American Crime, Season 2
After racy pictures of a high school boy surface on social media, he is suspended for breach of school conduct. His mother, enraged that her son would behave so irresponsibly at a party and post pictures of the event, pushes her son to tell her why he would behave the way he did. Her son spills an unexpected, and shameful secret. The high school boy, Taylor Blaine, was drugged, and sexually assaulted. He doesn't remember what happened. His mother informs his school as soon as possible, but the headmaster is little help, looking down her nose at his mother.
I thought the tension between Taylor's mother and the headmaster was the most intriguing part of the episode. "WT," we learn, means "White Trash." And, the school's denial of bullying in regards to economic disparity infuriates me as a viewer. I'm left hoping that Taylor's mom and Taylor find someone who will take their claims seriously. I'll be tuning in for episode 2.
I'm so glad that TV is covering a topic not too often talked about. We hardly ever hear about male victims of rape. Seeing 'main character' go through the rape physical shows us an alternative image to the one we all think of when we hear the word "rape."
Hyper masculinity is a theme in this show, and our basketball players' language and attitude supports this. Expectations from parents, girlfriends, and coaches of these players also revolve around the pressures of being a young man. All of this, juxtaposed against the expectation we have of a victim of rape being female.
I also love seeing upper class characters of color on TV. The stereotype so often used on TV does not show the lives and expectations of Black people from an upper middle class to upper class background. It's refreshing to see representation of Black people, instead of a representation of the Black stereotype.
There's also still a clear juxtaposition between classes in this episode. Class, will play a major role in the plot, conflict, and outcome of this season's American Crime.
"If I was a girl..." We open with question about gender and how we handle rape allegations for young men.
"The Black Card:" I love how American Crime is showing that there are class divisions in Black America as well as White America. You hardly ever see this on TV or in Film. In this episode, a Black female supervisor fires a Black employee. Later at a diner, the supervisor shows frustration as she pokes fun at the Black employee who she said, "played the race card" while pleading for her job. In scripted Film and TV we don't usually see the opinions of Black people who don't side with a Black majority opinion. So encouraged to see this Black complexity on TV. It's a step in the right direction as far as breaking stereotypes in dramatic roles. Minorities are not symbols to be used in a White White world. Minorities are people, with complexed thoughts and opinions, and there is so much room for developing dramatic storylines by using conflicts that are real within Black America. That's my opinion.
Another stand-out conversation is the one between a Hispanic woman and a Black teacher. They're eating at a restaurant as they discuss "blindspots" that people have. In this conversation, the question about whether Black people can or cannot be racist comes up, and when the Black man speaks to her in spanish, she comes back with a phrase in Japanese and tells him that "that doesn't make her Japanese." Where else on television can you find a conversation so real, and so non-stereotypical? This show is awesome. It's real-life, not TV-life. I love it.
"Boys don't rape other boys..." We end with the same idea as our opener. But, it is proven that our protagonist was raped.
Powerful. Unlike last week's episode, when I wanted to comment during the whole thing, this week I want to sit back and watch, listen, and digest. I'm silent.
Well written in this way because our characters are silent, too. The ones who are guilty, or were wrong at first, are now silenced by last week's game changer: they are calling the crime "rape," and they have proof that it happened. Suddenly, something that folks thought would get overlooked... is real.
This episode is all about what isn't said.
And... there's another twist. Not spoiling during this post. Watch to find out.
American Crime, Season 1
You don't need to see to understand Season 2. In fact, Season 2 is a completely different story with new characters, setting, plot, etc. If you follow American Crime, Season 1 you know that actors return each season to play another role in another plot. Same deal. But, if you want to rewind to last season, I recommend it! American Horror Story