Observe the television shows that you watch today and pick at the themes that usually arise. You will find that these themes may resemble parts of our current social and political state. For example, television shows are becoming more diverse in the terms of including more interracial relationships on tv just like how there are more interracial couples coming to be. If you watch certain shows you will see more people of color getting attacked by the police similarly to how the rates of police violence have been steadily climbing for years. It’s not that hard to see that art imitates life, however, if we can examine our lives through means of entertainment, then hopefully we can learn some valuable lessons. Here are three tv shows that depict social issues as well as political issues and what we can learn from them.
- Dear White People.
This show provides insight into black culture and the struggles that black people face in America. Specifically in the fifth episode, one of the main characters named Reggie is at a party and gets into an argument over the usage of the N word by a white student. This argument sparks a commotion within the party and the police soon arrive. After the police enter the party, an officer asks for Reggies I.D. Reggie, feeling as though he doesn’t need to, doesn’t co-operate and the officer escalates the situation by training a loaded gun on Reggie and only taking the gun off of him once the I.D is shown. This is a real problem that black people face everyday in America. It seems as though every week someone gets attacked by the police or shot for little things. This episode truthfully depicts that as well as the trauma that is brought onto Reggie because of this incident. From that episode, one can learn the struggles of a person of color, specifically a black person, in modern day America as well as the effects that are brought upon them after traumatic experiences concerning the law.
2.) The Confession Tapes
This is a seven episode show that is on Netflix and subtly touches on the tactics that police use to manipulate “suspects” into confessing a crime that they themselves did not commit. On episode 4 titled trial by fire, you can really observe the psychological state that these victims are in and how easy it is for the police to manipulate them. In this episode, a woman had recently lost a daughter in a fire that had occured at the families home. While distraught and traumatized, the police had the lady take a polygraph test, which is usually coined as a “lie detector test” (instead this test measures supposedly “lying giveaways” such as blood pressure, breathing and so on), while asking the woman several questions related to the fire. After the police administer the test and look over the results, they inform the woman that she had failed the test. They then proceed to subtly feed her information that would make the woman think that she had started the fire in the home purposefully killing her own daughter. This later led to the women falsely confessing to setting the house on fire. Mind you, this is a real case that has happened. What you can learn from this show are some of the deceitful tactics that law enforcement officers use on unsuspecting victims and with that information, you would be able to protect yourself if you are in a similar situation.
3.) House of Cards
House of cards is a show on Netflix that is based on the BBC show of the same name. This show is about a man named Frank Underwood who doesn’t get his political dream job so instead, he plans a malicious and evil plan to obtain power and exact vengeance. There are multiple episodes that are used to gradually advance the plot so watching a season will be able to give you a deeper insight and feel into the show. From this show, one can learn just how dirty politics can get and that not everything is how it seems from the outside.
Art imitates life, as shown by these shows, but a great thing about this is that we can learn from the art that serves as entertainment.