Carole and Tuesday's mishandling of anti-blackness and police brutality
Carole and Tuesday had an interesting build up regarding societal issues faced by certain groups not just in the show, but in real life today. From issues to immigration, police brutality and racism, Carole and Tuesday introduced those topics in the show.
Frankly, this doesn’t actually seem to be a bad thing. Discussions of sensitive topics need to be normalized, and one way to do that is through popular media. The issue however is when handling something of a sensitive subject, it requires an in depth look; not just from an outside perspective but from those who face those certain issues as well.
Carole and Tuesday is a short and sweet series, and there were many plot holes and areas left unexplored in the initial anime. But the fact of the matter is, when dealing with topics like racism and police brutality, it isn’t enough to just brush up on them. if you are going to introduce such topics in your work—even if it is work of fiction—then it is important to give the viewers a solid view of what you are trying to convey and I think that Carole and Tuesday missed that.
This wouldn’t be that bad of course if, these issues were not faced in real life and the two people we saw directly affected by the dangerous rhetoric of Tuesday Simmons mother, Valerie Simmons, weren’t black men and refugees. And to top that off, the narrative of police brutality and oppression they faced was completely brushed over.
The over all message of oppression at the end was completely brushed over when it went from “let’s talk about the injustices being done by upper class, white society” to “a seven minute song with millionaire celebrities is suddenly going to change everything that happened.” And don’t get me wrong Mother was a good song but it was severely lacking in the point.
The issue, in my personal opinion is that, the second season of Carole and Tuesday introduced these topics of oppression, but only as a way to draw in an audience or, remain politically correct without truly delving into the issues at hand.
Like mentioned before, some things seen in the show mirrored real life. Rich white politicians blaming people of color, and refugees of color for the poor state of the nation—that is believable, but where did that come from? This was not mentioned in the first season at all, nor was it really delved into in the second season. More so, most of the refugees were people of color—specifically black, meaning there was clearly a racial classification that fit specific refugees, also was not highlighted.
We have no information on how Mother, the song we heard during the finale, helped any of the black male refugees and musicians deported and abused by the police. We have no idea how Mother played its part at all to help immigrants and people of color.
The plight faced by black immigrants, refugees and people of color in general is completely swept under the rug. The whole situation as mentioned before, was downplayed to seem as if musicians rights for free speech were threatened, verses actual marginalized people.
So that said, what could have been done to make the issue of police brutality and racism far more visible and solid in the second season?
This would have been a perfect time to see the narrative of Carole, an actual refugee and immigrant from Earth. The narrative undeniable favored Tuesday more—which I will discuss in a later article—which inevitably did Carole and her background a disservice. The small bits and pieces of her life on Earth and her childhood, and even leading up to the discovery of her family were intriguing, but like the over all plot itself, we don’t get enough.
If the narrative paid attention to Carole, then perhaps we could have seen how she was affected just as her friend Amer was, by the anti-immigrant and anti-black rhetoric created by Valerie, Tuesday’s mother.
Unfortunately we didn’t get that, and were left to wonder just how being an immigrant and refugee actually affected Carole since at the end of the day, we didn’t actually see her facing the same issues of racism like Amer or Skip. Even as a black musician, woman and immigrant—she was somewhat unscathed by the racist rhetoric that others like her faced.
And again, the huge climax to this racial injustice was a song, that barely highlighted the struggle that people like Carole and with Carole’s background went through. We still don’t know what happened to
Skip and Amer, the narrative essentially let Valerie Simmons—the woman responsible—off the hook and redeemed her.
In short, I personally believe that it was unique to add these social justice issues in the second season, however, they were severely lacking in depth. When dealing with sensitive topics like immigration, refugees, anti-blackness, and so forth, you cannot downplay these issues or undermine their importance. Real people are affected by this, and to brush it all off or act like it can be fixed in a song just doesn’t sit right with me.