Recently, I was watching old episodes of Scrubs on Netflix and thinking about how good that show actually was. One of the main things I loved about it is that it addressed issues of racism, sexism, and homophobia. That’s not to say that Scrubs was a perfect show. It certainly had problematic moments, but what I find especially interesting was how the show acknowledged microaggressions and showed many of their lead characters exhibiting these microaggressions.
In TV shows today, if a character is shown to be racist, sexist, or homophobic, they are usually utterly despicable, villainous characters. And while some real people are like that, on a daily basis, most people are more likely to encounter casual racism, sexism, or homophobia (aka microaggressions) from others, rather than undiluted hatred. What’s even worse is we can encounter these behaviors in people we admire and even respect. Furthermore, if we critique such behavior, people almost immediately become defensive because they will believe we are insinuating that they are some villainous KKK member or something.
Instead of having totally evil, racist, sexist, and homophobic characters, maybe it’s time we
portray more characters who exhibit casual racism, sexism, or homophobia, and show them being critiqued, learning from their mistakes, and changing their behavior.