Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
It is perfectly natural for retailers to pitch products to the season or occasion. We should especially expect on-line retailers to pitch rain gear in April. So, the presence on Amazon’s homepage of two boxes, “Men’s weatherproof styles” and “Women’s rain-ready styles,” is unremarkable. We have also come to expect the leftist virtue signaling, in the form of the latest approved intersectional hashtag and special emphasis on Black Lives, showing that they Matter to Amazon. Yet, what are we to make of the visual presentation of how Amazon thinks a black man should look?
The top right image is a Amazon screen capture from the evening of 11 April 2021. There is a web page wide top banner advertisement that rotates. The advertisement you see is for an Amazon Prime original series, Them, with each season intended to tell a tale focused on African Americans, and apparently on white people as racists.
Them‘s first season is grounded in the historical reality of the second Great Migration (1940-1970). This was the second wave of the Great Migration (1910-1970). American blacks moved from rural areas to inner cities and from the old South to the North and West. Walter Mosley set his Easy Rawlins private eye series in Los Angeles, with the series starting in 1948. If you have not read any of the series, you likely at least recognize the Denzel Washington movie based on the first novel, Devil in a Blue Dress. So, Los Angeles is a good setting for a series set in the 1950s, as well as convenient for the video/movie industry.
Naturally, the none-too-subtle subtext is that America continues to be fundamentally racist. The Emory family, an African American man with his wife and two daughters, move from North Carolina to Los Angeles for a better life in a solidly middle-class neighborhood. The white neighbors engaging in outrageous acts of violence and vandalism to try driving out the black family. Just in case we are not getting the point, the fifth episode reportedly has a flashback to explain why the Emorys left North Carolina, and that flashback involves rape and a baby boy being bashed to death in a sack-like “a cat in a bag.”
The actors in Them, are right on cue in interviews, assuring us that the on-screen violence in Them feels just like their own lived experience in the 21st century. We are expected to agree that what is going on today is like what was going on in the 1950s.
In the interview above both Little Marvin and Deborah Ayorinde discuss how the fears and anxieties they’ve personally gone through are represented in this story set in the 1950s. The showrunner and actors Pill and Kwanten also talk about how the series addresses the practice of “redlining” and the long-term damage that it could do to black communities.
No sooner was this Lena Waithe produced season released than it was attacked from the left as “Black trauma porn.” A leftist white New York woman writer, Andrea Towers, missed the memo in her piece for The Wrap:
But the real horror here is racism. And we’re not just talking metaphorical racism — we’re talking uncomfortable things like people starting fires on their lawn that spell out slurs, a family’s son peeing on the Emory’s newly cleaned sheets left out to dry, pointed racist songs designed to make the Emorys feel both uncomfortable and unwelcome. It is also designed to make us feel uncomfortable and unwelcome because we know how Blacks in America are often treated.
With that context of Amazon’s corporate view, what are we to make of Amazon’s depiction of a young black man? Much of the fashion industry is focused on male androgyny, gender blurring if not reversing. So, perhaps the editorial judgment at Amazon is just marching with the fashion industry.
At the same time, Black Lives Matter has pushed the intersectional angle hard, seeking to dictate to the Black community that transexuals who present as male are to be celebrated, supported, and made at least equal victims alongside the black men in whose name cities are smashed and burned. So, a properly progressive company will surely tip their hat to correct thinking.
Skinny wine red jeans, pink top, fabulous mane of hair, and maybe just the right facial products to set off that traditional hooded rain jacket. What do you think?