Personally, I thought that I had misheard something on TV. Then I rewound it and sure enough, I had heard correctly.
Jack and Rebecca Pearson‘s fight to legally adopt their African-American son, Randall, led to a tense moment in Tuesday’s episode of This Is Us. Randall’s adoption once again touched on race. More precisely, on cross racial adoption and the archaic views had around the time.
“The Most Disappointed Man” explored the emotional power of the judicial system circa 1981 as Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore‘s characters attempt to make their family of choice, official.
The couple’s court proceeding turned tense when the judge, played by the superb actor Delroy Lindo wasn’t so convinced that two white parents should be raising an African-American child, even using the n-word without censorship.
“I don’t believe that child belongs in your home. That child belongs with a black family Mr. and Mrs. Pearson,” Judge Bradley said. “How else will he see himself? Understand who he is?”
Later explaining to Jack and Rebecca, “I never understood what my blackness meant until a white man called me a n—–.”
So this brought up a couple of things for me. First the power of words. I know the pen is mightier than the sword, hence why it is my weapon of choice. But this was somewhat of an aural axe to the head. Was it needed, was it there for realism, is it acceptable coming from an African-American judge?
I think i get it. I think it was there to underline the attitude held by many people that multi-racial families are/were not a good thing, for the potential for loss of cultural identity. As to whether I agree with that, I'd say no. It was certainly a plot twist and a ratings boost for the show itself.
Eventually the Pearsons’ adoption was ruled into law by a different judge. Thus making The Big Three for the show.
The final words are for Rebecca Pearson, in a letter to Judge Bradley that was attached to a photo of their newly legal family.
“Randall is my son, whether you approve or not or sign a paper or not. And yes, some things are harder for us. The thing you need to know about us is the Pearson's keep at, we don’t stop. So I suggest you put us up on your wall. Maybe it will help you get you used to our faces because we will keep coming until you do your job, Sincerely, Rebecca, Randall’s mother.”
What do you think of all aspects of this story line? This is a topic that should be discussed, instead of being the elephant in the room. Please share this with any friends who either love the show, or need to discuss this.
Thanks for reading.