Monday, May 30, 2022

What I’m Watching: Atlanta

Atlanta: Season 3, Episode 9 “Rich Wigga, Poor Wigga” (B)

I want to be able to form my own interpretations of these episodes without having to look up and read up on anything that I may have missed, but I do feel that there’s added meaning for those with understanding of something I may not know. This felt to me a lot like the reparations episode from earlier this season, portraying the fears of white people that anything resembling justice for Black people automatically means that they will suffer as a result. Having a wealthy Black man named Robert S. Lee address the graduating class of Stonewall Jackson High School and announce that he was changing its name to his own, who was also a Confederate general, was deeply ironic, but the more potent part of it was the way that he offered to pay every senior’s college tuition, adding after that “only if they’re Black.” The tribunal interrogating the candidates and calling Aaron Clarence Thomas felt extremely dramatic and, again, like a visualization of what white fragility conjures up when it imagines some form of true equality. Having two teenagers, one Black and one white, show up to torch the school led to two very different results, and apparently getting shot was the Blackest thing he could have done, resulting in a reversal of the tribunal’s ruling. Aaron getting out of jail and embracing his Blackness was played for comedy at the end, presenting an unsettling and off-putting commentary on the nature of identity and when we choose to embrace it.

No comments: