'Black-ish' Election Special Part 1: Junior learns real history of US democracy as he gets purged from voter rolls
The seventh season of 'Black-ish' is still a while away but since there is about a month left for election day, the ABC sitcom is airing a two-part election special. The first part focuses on Andre "Junior" Johnson Jr (Marcus Scribner) learning about the real history of democracy in the United States after he learns that he has been purged from the voter rolls just as the episode starts. Junior is pretty upset and seemingly takes the situation more seriously than his father Andre Johnson (Anthony Anderson) and he sets out to learn more about the situation.
Through the episode, Junior learns that America is perhaps not the greatest country because its "democracy" had been set up with many roadblocks for minorities. When the first President of the United States of America was elected, only six percent of the adult population was eligible to vote because women, Black people, and people who did not own properties could not vote.
Junior then proceeds to learn more and this brings on the segment of the electoral college -- which no doubt caused a lot of uproar during the 2016 Presidential elections when Donald Trump won the electoral college vote even though former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Junior learns that one person does not equal one vote and that different votes are weighted differently. For instance, states with smaller populations have more power in the electoral college (like Wyoming) than states with larger populations (like California). Why is the electoral college implemented? As Dre says, the answer is "almost always slavery."
Next, Junior learns more about the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which helped secure the right to vote for racial minorities throughout the country, especially in the South. Through the Voting Rights Act, unfair literacy tests were removed and observers were placed in problematic states. However, in 2013, the Supreme Court struck down the coverage formula as unconstitutional, reasoning that it was no longer responsive to current conditions, rendering Section 5 rendering the Voting Rights Act as powerless as states began to manipulate rules and draw new maps to disenfranchise minorities.
By now, Junior is completely demotivated and decides he is going to give up, pointing out that America is not what he was taught and true democracy had always been blocked. However, the episode ends on a positive note when Dre points out that the country always got better when people voted, pointing out the Civil Rights and Suffrage movements. The episode also pays a warm tribute to late Congressman and Civil Rights activist John Lewis and brings up former President Barack Obama's eulogy for Lewis, where he said that democracy is not automatic and has to be nurtured.
The episode was informative in a fun way using clever storytelling techniques to conveniently relay the democratic history of America as Junior strives to learn more about it. The tribute to Lewis was perhaps a great way to end the first part and hopefully encourages viewers to continue striving for their voting rights.
'Black-ish' election special aired on Sunday, October 4, at 10/9c on ABC.