'Black-ish' tackles voter suppression: 'Everything I've been taught about the promise of this country is a lie'

Kylie Mar
·Host & Producer, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 mins read

On Sunday night, Black-ish aired a one-hour, two-part, "Election Special," during which Junior (Marcus Scribner), who is finally old enough to vote in his first presidential election, quickly learns that the voting system is not quite set up in his favor.

"Everything I've been taught about the promise of this country is a lie. From the founding, to the way that the electoral college disenfranchises people, to the way that even when we got the right to vote we had to pass all these crazy tests. Every time we have earned the right to vote, they have figured out some way to claw it back from us," Junior tells his father Dre, played by Anthony Anderson.

Following his revelation, Junior goes on an internet search for answers, which basically turns into an informative history lesson for Black-ish viewers, as he watches several episodes on the topic of voting, the highlights of which included "Democracy in Jeopardy," a game show hosted by Anderson, and Tracee Ellis Ross portraying the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as a talk show guest throughout history.

"It's been a nightmare since the Supreme Court gutted me. For almost 50 years, I kept problem states from discouraging black and minority voters and then the court turned around and ripped out my section five," Ross says in VRA character.

Black-ish viewers were busy on social media Sunday night during the episode, as they took to Twitter to praise the sitcom's "informative history lesson" on voting.

Ultimately, Junior admits to his father that he is ready to give up on voting, which prompts Dre to explain to his son that that's exactly what the system was designed to do, and the best way to stop voter suppression is to simply get out and vote.

"The machine was built to keep us out, but the only time that things changed in this country was when people did whatever it takes to make their voices count," Dre tells Junior. He later adds, "You have to vote, son. I know it may sound hopeless but that's what they want you to believe to keep you from participating. But the ballot is the best weapon we have."

"There are people out there who are working their asses off to keep us from voting. Now, they're only doing that because they are afraid of our power," states Dre.

The Black-ish election special aired October 4th on ABC.

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