ABC’s "The Wonder Years" reboot has been surprisingly fair for a Hollywood show, and thus enjoyable to watch - until it wasn’t. Wednesday’s episode, “Black Teacher,” took on the sensitive topic of race and racism and did a good job of it until the very end when they took a dig at “concerned white parents” who fight to make sure what their children are learning is “fair and balanced.” And although the show is set in the ‘70s, the dig seemed to be partially aimed at white parents today who are protesting Critical Race Theory (CRT) curriculums and mask mandates in public schools across the country.
"The Wonder Years" centers around the life of elementary student Dean Williams (Elisha Williams). In Wednesday’s episode, Dean is worried about having a new black teacher, Mr. Brady (Gaius Charles), because he doesn’t want his white friends to think he’s being shown any favoritism as a black student. He also wants them to like Mr. Brady.
His friends end up being enthralled by Mr. Brady’s unique way of using parts of African culture - such as drumming and storytelling - to help them learn English, and he treats every student equally. In the end, he helps Dean learn from a mistake he made, warning that, “wanting to be liked is a dangerous thing” and that a great leader makes his own decisions “even if people won’t like him.”
As Dean walks down the school hallway feeling good about the lesson he learned, he overhears a meeting between parents, the principal, and Mr. Brady. Specifically white parents who the show made into hateful, racist, white caricatures:
Woman: The team was already set. He kicked my son off the Knowledge Bowl team, and I can't help but feel like that, what, there's a little bit of favoritism going on?
Principal Cartwright: I'm sure that's not something that Mr. Brady was doing purposefully.
Mr. Brady: No, I was only rewarding the students who performed the best.
Man: What about that drum he brought into class? What does tribal drumming have to do with English?
Adult Dean (voiceover): Concerned white parents have always been at the forefront of the battle to ensure that what we teach in schools is fair and balanced. Seemed like Jefferson Davis Junior High wasn't quite ready for its first black teacher. Or maybe Mr. Brady wasn't quite ready for us.
Dean: Did they fire you? Was it the drum?
Mr. Brady: No. I wasn't fired. But Principal Cartwright and I both agreed that Jefferson Davis isn't the best fit for me, so I'm still on the search for the school that is.
Adult Dean: It's ironic that a teacher that once was an embarrassment to me is now the person I'll miss the most.
Mr. Brady: Well, I hope your next black teacher is so much blacker than me that Kim gets worried.
Adult Dean: Oddly enough, the blackest teacher I had after that was my white African American Studies professor in college.
We all know racism was far more prominent in the ‘70s and thankfully our culture has improved vastly since then. Thus, such racist caricatures may be appropriate for a storyline set in the ‘70s, but for the modern-day, adult Dean to sarcastically express disdain towards all white parents in general, including today’s, is shamefully racist itself. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but sadly, openly hating on white people has become the norm in our culture. And if white people speak out about it, it’s shut down by woke crowds as “white fragility” instead of truth.
It's also obvious the criticism was an underhanded remark aimed at parents who have shown up in droves lately at protests and school board meetings across the country to push back on CRT agendas and mask mandates. However, many of those parents, especially the ones who have gone viral, are people of color, so the criticism is completely unwarranted. But when has Hollywood ever let truth get in the way of pushing their agenda?
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