From the production of Dhar Mann Studios, we learn of an example of systemic racism towards African Americans with Caucasian children. The story begins with a scene of a young boy and his father swinging on a swing set talking about getting ice cream after their trip to the park. Subsequently, a visually disturbed woman approaches the two on the swings asking how the adult man knows the young boy. The reason for the interrogation stems from her concerns about an African American man socializing with a young Caucasian boy at the park. The man kindly replies that this boy happens to be his son. Out of disbelief, the worried woman does not trust his claim. She walks towards the young boy and asks whether the child is okay and whether he knows where his “actual” parents are. The young boy explains that he is alright with the father interrupting to explain again that he just told her that he was his father and had adopted him. She angrily questions whether the man has paperwork to prove the son’s adoption. As many could envision the frustration of being constantly questioned about this unique relationship between father and son, the father suggests that the woman should never judge someone until you get to know them. The lady scurries off worried as ever and the scene ends with the father and soon leaving for their ice cream venture.
As the two are about to take off for ice cream, the lady reemerges with another character, a police officer. The lady explains to the officer how the father is going to “kidnap” the young boy and the officer demands the man step away from the child. The man pleas to the office that in fact, the child is his son and would like to show the adoption papers that are located inside the vehicle. With caution, the officer allows the request made by the man. As the officer thoroughly reviews the documents, he agrees that in fact, the child is the man’s son, and he is free to go. Out of curiosity, the woman asks the father whether he had the choice to pick another race for the child. The scene turns into the African American father explaining that the child had an abusive father after the loss of his mother. When the soon-to-be father came to the adoption center, the child was overjoyed to know that he was being taken home to his adopted father’s loving home.
I think this story teaches the consequences of the “single-story” narrative we learned from the very beginning of this course. Given the woman’s racist assumptions against the father’s race, she immediately assumed that the boy was in danger simply because of her single-story optics of an African American stereotype. Sadly, more often than not, we see systemic racism towards minorities because of racial assumptions that have been created from prejudiced biases towards African Americans and driven narratives from prejudiced individuals.