Atlanta and Black Renaissance Phase2

Hi Jim & Aaron,
This is my first time writing but I've listened to you guys for a couple years.

Just a quick comment. On your recent LWJ&A 9/9/2016, Jim had expressed concern as to watching the new show, Atlanta, because he felt he may not "get it" as a white man?? For some reason this disturbed me.

As a Black person in my early 40's, I've spent most of my childhood and adulthood finding common ground and entertainment in shows that were predominantly white. I just thought, that was how it was supposed to be.

There were the occasional shows like Sanford and Sons or What's Happening or Good Times, that showed lower middle class to poor blacks just getting by. I loved these shows but the shows I really had attachment to, were with mostly white cast members.

My point, Jim's comment implies that he would not be able to set his or Donald Glover's skin color aside to find common ground our relatable feelings.

I consider you two to be pretty "woke" white guys who enjoy quality TV, hence my surprise. I'm not here to bully Jim into watching Atlanta, I'm only here to say don't let race limit you from experience.

I love your podcasts and even if you don't read this on air, I hope you both read it. Thanks for all you do.

Best Regards
Allegra
Takaghm3DeeAshleyMichaelVCassidyElisaNathanAmbitiousBukky

Comments

  • I'm not trying to put words in Jim's mouth or anything, but I think what he meant was he has doubt that he may be able to relate to the show enough to fully appreciate it, not that skin color alone prevents the ability to find common ground. 

    An example I would offer is the scene in the parking lot at the radio station. Intellectually I can understand the absurdity and offensiveness of the white Audi-driving Starbucks sipping douchebag pretending like it's okay to drop the n-word and fit right in with Donald Glover's character, even though he knows damn well that in reality he can't and that's inappropriate. 

    But I'd never be able to truly appreciate or relate to Donald Glover's character in that scene, and I figure chances are almost all black people know or have met some white person like this, and will immediately relate to Glover's character in a unique way that non-black people never could. 

    I really like the show and find Donald Glover's character to be very relatable even without much common ground, but I do understand the initial superficial apprehension of potentially not 'getting' a show if you think it may consist more of scenes like above and less tree-measuring and arm-sized turd talk. 
  • MelonuskMelonusk Ireland
    edited September 2016
    I see your concern Allegra but I agree with ghm. I think Jim's comment doesn't have anything to do with the skin color, but rather the culture of the community that is being portrayed in this series. I haven't heard much about that show (other than it was awesome), so not certain what it is about but according to Wikipedia it portrays the Atlanta rap scene - maybe it's not as easy to relate with, if you come from a completely different background/culture? I know it would be for me, at least at first; once you get engrossed in the story that shouldn't be a problem. I mean 8 Mile was great.

    Last year's The Leftovers had a majority of black characters, and as you've probably seen from their various comments it was no problem for J&A to get in that season and enjoy the new characters being portrayed. Hell, Regina King won a Baldie award.
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    I don't know what Jim meant when he said what he said.  He can clarify if he wants, I don't think anyone is attacking him for being a crypto-racist or whatever.  But I do think it's interesting thought experiment going on where, as Allegra alludes to, that 90%+ of entertainment to this day features white characters living quintessential white experiences, and if minorities decided that they'd only watch entertainment that spoke to them they'd not have a lot of stuff to watch.  

    There's a lot going on here that touches on previous topics we've mentioned such as diversity on GoT, and why it's important.  I think there are a lot of universal topics to Atlanta already; being a father, living up to parental expectations, mistakes that young people make, dealing with money or the lack there of and success.  It's unfair to say it would only appear to black folks, and selling the series short.

    I think about it a lot, what would it be like growing up if Superman, Han Solo, Indiana Jones, Flash Gordan, Batman, MacGyver, essentially, all the heroes I grew up with pretending to be them on their adventures didn't pretty much look like me.  Glover himself has spoke a lot and created a lot of art about what it's like to be a black man with stereotypical nerd proclivities, and it's all pretty fascinating. 

    I for one, would love to hear you talk more about it!
    KingKobraMichaelVCassidyAshleyElisaLiz
  • AshleyAshley Atlanta, GA

    I didn't hear what Jim said, so I can't really comment on it, but the idea that someone would be hesitant to engage in a story because they're unfamiliar with the culture is so foreign to me. Like Allegra, I've been doing that my whole life, lol. Mad Men is my favorite show of all time, and as a 30-year-old Black woman, I assure you, I didn't start it thinking I'd find common ground with Don Draper. In fact, I doubt many people figured that in when they started Game of Thrones or The Sopranos, or whatever you love that doesn't necessarily align with your life experience. A great story is a great story. 

    On the bright side, maybe as these more diverse stories become more common, that sort of hesitance will go away. People with this mindset, especially the ones that don't push past that reluctance, are missing out on some good shit.

    LizAmbitiousBukky
  • People of all sorts watched The Wire, Treme, Scandal, Empire, and other "black" shows who are not white and connected deeply.

    You can relate to the story and characters no matter the race. The question is is how DEEPLY you feel/experience the characters' experiences.

    I'm a black person. LOL...
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  • edited September 2016
    What if you interpret it the opposite way? Like, as a white guy from the suburbans, Jim knows sooo much about the Atlanta rap scene.  He knows more about it than the people who actually lived there.  He doesn't feel like the show is in his wheelhouse because he already knows everything about it and Donald can't show him anything new.

    All kidding aside, if somebody wrote an encyclopedia on Atlanta rap, there's a good chance it would come from some suburban dude!
  • Wahl-eWahl-e Seattle
    edited September 2016
    For the record, this is what Jim said:

    "I don't know, it's not really a story that's in my wheelhouse being a white guy from the suburbs from rural Indiana, but I might check it out." 

    It's at 1:14:32 in the most recent Bald Lunch if you'd like to hear it yourself. It was also during a "lightning round" where they were trying to answer questions in 30 seconds or less to get though them, so there wasn't much time to flesh out ideas. 

    There seems to be a bit of conjecture here.

    Also for the record, I watched the Atlanta pilot and loved it.
    A_Ron_HubbardMelonusk
  • Hey @mariano0454,  I just wanted to jump in here and say thanks for the criticism.  You're absolutely right that I shouldn't limit what I watch based on the color of the cast's skin or because it's a culture I'm not very familiar with.  That's not exactly what I intended to express but your point is taken.  

    I've definitely watched shows that are outside of my cultural experience (The Wire is one of my favorites), enjoyed them and identified with the characters.  I just meant to express that it's a hard sell because my viewing time is very limited and it doesn't have immediately obvious things that hook me the way that something sci-fi, computer, or cult-based would.  I tried to word that in an extreme way (white vs black, suburbs vs city, midwest vs south) and I failed.

    But I've thought about what you said and, as a podcaster and someone who is concerned about equality, I probably have a responsibility to look at a more diverse range of shows since I know that our fans sometimes allow the shows we talk about to influence what they choose to watch.  So thanks for the criticism.  It wasn't wasted on me.
    Wahl-eKingKobraElisaLizAmbitiousBukky
  • DeeDee Adelaide
    I recently started watching The Get Down and I couldn't get into it, and my daughter was like "Mum, are you turning into one of those old racist ladies?" I admit, that worried me, but then I realised I was just didn't get into the style - Baz Lurhmann is very hit and miss for me. And I quite liked Atlanta, so it's not just "oh, black people and music is not for me".
    Elisa
  • I'm glad we were able to talk about this without delving into some bulllllshit, like on Twitter or something.

    I totally understand where Jim is coming from. It wasn't an immediate "Oh yeah, I want to check that out," because, just on the surface, he felt it might not be up his alley. We all make snap/quick judgements. I wasn't going to watch Atlanta either. and I'm black, because I thought it would be a bunch of stereotypical hip-hop rap stuff which I do not care for.
    But after seeing some reviews, and a lot of buzz, I think I will check it out.

    We learn stuff every day.

    ETA: We have a lot of Black Baldies here. lol
    ElisaAmbitiousBukky
  • AshleyAshley Atlanta, GA
    Yeah, I don't think there's anything wrong with not being interested in something. I'd say the reasoning given at the start of the thread that was more debatable. But "I'm not into this subject" (or genre or actor, etc.) is a perfectly valid reason to not watch something.
    Elisa
  • Hollyoak said:

    I'm glad we were able to talk about this without delving into some bulllllshit, like on Twitter or something.

    I totally understand where Jim is coming from. It wasn't an immediate "Oh yeah, I want to check that out," because, just on the surface, he felt it might not be up his alley. We all make snap/quick judgements. I wasn't going to watch Atlanta either. and I'm black, because I thought it would be a bunch of stereotypical hip-hop rap stuff which I do not care for.
    But after seeing some reviews, and a lot of buzz, I think I will check it out.

    We learn stuff every day.

    ETA: We have a lot of Black Baldies here. lol

    Heh, yeah check it out, the rap stuff is more background IMO. It may delve deeper later on, but they've handled it well. For sure not the stereotypical type things, although they do pop up, I think it's more on commentary or comedy. As far as "a lot" maybe a few, but I think still a great minority ;)
  • A_Ron_HubbardA_Ron_Hubbard Cincinnati, OH
    As a 40 year old white guy, I hope they get way into the rap scene.  I love hip hop, and the Gambino is fully capable of spitting fire.
    Elisa
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  • @akritenbrink  Agreed.  These are the kinds of discussions that are actually beneficial.  They get people thinking about their words and actions as opposed to shutting down the conversation by just calling someone a racist / sexist / bigot, as so often happens.
    HollyoakElisaLizKingKobraAmbitiousBukky
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