As America faces a long-overdue reckoning for its collective refusal to protect and value Black lives, it’s time for non-Black allies to look within and reflect on our role in creating and sustaining this unconscionable cycle of violence. It’s not going to be a comfortable conversation, but that’s actually a good thing; if it’s not uncomfortable, it’s probably not all that useful, either. All of which is to say, one thing to think about is how TV shows that, as Kathryn VanArendonk writes in Vulture, are told from a “police’s-eye perspective” subconsciously shape our attitudes towards cops and the communities they’re supposed to serve—yes, including The A.V. Club’s beloved Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
The warmest, fuzziest cop show on TV depicts its fictional police officers as “sweet, thoughtful people just trying their best,” as VanArendonk writes, a characterization that just doesn’t jive with footage of real-life cops pepper spraying protestors minutes after taking a knee in solidarity with them. Whether that means you stop watching the show is up to you, but thoughtful, non-defensive consideration of the idea (and honestly admitting that you, too, are vulnerable to cultural conditioning, no matter how smart and skeptical you consider yourself to be) seems like the bare minimum, no?
Another step is to follow the lead of Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Stephanie Beatriz, who donated $11,000 of her salary from the show to the National Bail Fund Network’s #FreeThemAll Emergency Response Fund:
Beatriz herself was following the lead of Griffin Newman, who donated the same amount earlier in the day for his two-episode arc on Blue Bloods back in 2011:
If you, too, would like to participate in what we encourage you to think of as the cultural equivalent of carbon offset credits, a link to the National Bail Fund Network’s #FreeThemAll Emergency Response Fund here.
Looking for even more ways to advocate for black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved