Okay but can we talk for a moment about the layers of complexity regarding race that are unfolding in this scene right here?
- Two black women discussing very real issues of privilege and passing regarding dark and light skin tones in society.
- In which topics of identity and feelings of belonging and kinship are discussed and dissected explicitly, because one is the bi-racial child of the other, at one point actually pointing out how she didn’t feel like she didn’t belong to either group.
- Which is further complicated by the fact that Lena is a lesbian, so her comments about belonging (or rather not belonging) to the minority or majority take on another layer of unspoken but very present and implied exclusion/inclusion.
- All of which is sparked from Lena’s mom calling Lena out on the fact that throwing a kickass Quinceanera (without really fully understanding the ins and outs and nuances of the culture) is not the same as making sure Mariana is part of her Latina culture, and actually in fact very finely skirts the line of cultural appropriation if it’s all about you projecting your feelings of cultural isolation.
This is what happens when you make women, women of color, and lesbians the main characters of your show. We can have conversations like this on TV, and regardless on whose side of the discussion you fall on, the fact that we’re even SEEING this conversation is, in itself, revolutionary. It has been a long time since I have seen a scene like this tackle the topics of race so head on, and on a family show at that.
Major props to everyone involved in bringing this scene to life, because the writing and the acting make it so neither woman is fully in the wrong, and I am so happy to see this bring brought up, because scene like this spark dialogue about topics that are rarely addressed so openly in our own lives.