The Boondocks, an adult animated sitcom, is recognized for its commentary on racial issues in America. A lot of these issues touched upon in the show are also discussed in Baratunde Thurston’s How to be Black.
A theme that comes up consistently in How to be Black is the white perception that all African-Americans passionately support, are in love with and speak for President Barack Obama. This, of course, assumes that all black people love President Obama just because he, too, is black.
This idea is explored in an episode of The Boondocks where a paradigmatic white television reporter interviews Huey Freeman (start watching at 0:25), the revolutionary protagonist of the show, about Obama’s impending election. The interviewer asks, “now that it looks like Obama is going to win, as a black African-American Negro, are you merely excited? Or are you extremely excited that everything is going to change forever?” Surprised by Huey’s muted response to the question, the reporter felt “[his] sphincter clench, and [his] scrotum contract in shock.”
Of course, since Huey is a “black African-American Negro,” the least emotional he could possibly feel about a black president is excited. While this assumption may sound hyperbolic to many people, it somewhat echoes the declarations following Obama’s election that a post-racial society had been achieved. Additionally, I remember the (very few) black students in my seventh grade class becoming celebrities at school as a result of Obama’s election. All of the sudden, their life problems were solved! Right?
- Lee Owen