The CW’s high school football drama All American picked up where it left off last week, dealing with the aftermath following the shooting death of an innocent, young, black woman, Tamika Pratt, by police. And if you thought the show couldn’t possibly have any more disdain for the police than they did before, you’d be very wrong, as they claimed the police system is “predicated on [black people’s] oppression since the beginning” and that people of color are “being hunted” by the police.
Monday’s episode, “Fight the Power,” opens with fallout from Olivia’s (Samantha Logan) decision to steal bodycam footage of the Pratt shooting from her mother Laura’s (Monet Mazur) computer and leak it to the public. Her mother, who is white, is the D.A. and Olivia mistakenly thought she was trying to cover up the footage to protect the police.
We then see Spencer (Daniel Ezra) flash back to white officers harassing him and his friend Jordan (Michael Evans Behling) just for being in a white neighborhood. The boys fear for their lives as the officers brutally shove them to the ground and handcuff them as they’re falsely accused of trying to resist arrest:
News anchor: …Obtained a copy of the leaked bodycam footage from the officer-involved shooting of Tamika Pratt. At this time, we have positively identified Ms. Pratt, along with the officers, Miller and Falls. We warn you, what you are about to see is graphic and disturbing in nature.
Officer: Wake up, ma’am. I said wake up!
Tamika: What? Officer: I need you to get out of the car.
Tamika: I just want to– I’m just trying to sleep.
Officer: Come on, I’m not gonna ask again! Let’s go!
Jordan: Oh, my God.
Officer: Come on!
Laura: How the hell did they get the bodycam footage?
Olivia: I gave it to them.
Kia: That footage should have been released 5 months ago, when it happened. I mean, at least now, there’s no way those cops don’t get indicted, right? I mean, that footage was clear as day.
Chris: She was only 21. I am too young to be feeling this tired.
Kia: Words I tell myself every day, but we can’t stop fighting. I mean, this is our lives we’re talking about.
Chris: Could you imagine?
Officers: What are you boys doing in this neighborhood?
Jordan: You serious right now?
Spencer: That ain’t even necessary.
Jordan: We’ve done nothing wrong, man.
Spencer: Hey, chill! Chill, man!
Jordan: Look, man! Oh!
Officer: Stop resisting.
Spencer: Just keep lookin’ at me, a’ight? Just keep lookin’ at me.
Kia: Spencer? Spencer?
Kia: You ok?
Spencer: Yeah, I’m good.
Of course, no one supports such racial profiling and brutality but in most cases that Black Lives Matter champions, the suspects were resisting arrest, if not outright fighting police, sometimes with weapons, which created dangerous circumstances that contributed to their deaths.
When Spencer feels guilty about being excited for an important football game that could send his team to state championships, his mom Grace (Karimah Westbrook) tells him it’s okay to be upset over Tamika and still have joy in life despite the police “wagin’ war” against them. “Otherwise, those bastards win,” she says.
Spencer decides to protest at the game and tries to persuade his coach and teammate Chris (Spence Moore II) to kneel during the National Anthem. Chris is hesitant because he’s concerned about possible fallout. Their coach Billy (Taye Diggs) warns them, “Schools can and have been known to suspend athletes who kneel.” Chris points out if they get suspended, they won’t be in the playoffs and there won’t be a championship game for them. It could also mean that the school’s football program, which is in danger of being cut, would be done away with. Billy says the decision must be unanimous for them to take that kind of risk, but Chris isn’t on board.
Laura meanwhile becomes overwhelmed by the emotions of dealing with the hate directed at her by the public because people falsely believe she was covering for the police. (Olivia wasn’t aware that her mother was actually fighting for justice behind the scenes.) She’s also afraid that her daughter might think she’s a racist who’s complicit in Tamika’s murder.
When she tells Grace she believes the system is still capable of change, Grace has a much dire view of “an entire system who keeps killing” black people, proving where this show stands – against all police, even the vast majority of good officers, as well as our entire justice system. The same system that recently held Derek Chauvin responsible for the killing of George Floyd and delivered justice in that case:
Laura: You’re raising two kids all by yourself. Do you ever second-guess the decisions you’ve made?
Grace: Oh, honey, I second-guess everything. The trick is just to not let anyone see it.
Laura: What do you do when you fail? I mean, my own daughter doesn’t trust that I cared enough to fight for Tamika. I mean, does Olivia really think that I’m some kind of a racist? Or, even worse… complicit?
Grace: I cannot speak on everything that Olivia is thinking, but I promise you that she loves you and she doesn’t think the worst of you. Her need to stand up for what’s right, that comes from you. She told me as much. Her passion and commitment to justice aren’t accidental.
Laura: I appreciate that. Everything’s so messed up right now with this case… At home, in the world.
Grace: I believe you want justice with Tamika, and I know you want laws to change for the sake of your own family. But did you really believe that your internal investigation would have made a difference?
Laura: I believe the system is capable of change.
Grace: Some systems, maybe, but not ones that are predicated on our oppression since the beginning.
Laura: You don’t think reform is possible by weeding out the bad apples?
Grace: Every time a cop kills a black person, even more boys in blue stay silent. That’s a whole lot of bad apples. Look, our justice system is fundamentally broken. That’s just the truth. That’s why Olivia took such extreme measures. She wasn’t doubting you. She was just fed up with an entire system who keeps killing people who look like her.
Just before the big game, Spencer stops his teammates in the hallway and proposes much more than just kneeling during the Anthem – he wants them to forfeit the entire game in protest of “being hunted” by the police:
Spencer: “Lay it all on the line.” There’s been a lot of that talk lately, right? Hey, man, we fought like hell this season, y’all, and not just for a chance at the playoffs, not just for a state title. Nah, we fought to save this football program that saved so many of us, but now there’s something bigger to fight for. Rome…is burnin’, and as much as we’d all like to bury our heads in the sand, we can’t, not when we’re being hunted. Our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters hunted, our future kids hunted. And if we do nothing’, if we don’t stand up for Tamika, for George, for Breonna, for Elijah, for ourselves, man, if we don’t do that, then when’s it gonna stop? The power lies within us now.
Chris: Hey, Yo, Spencer’s right. So we kneel during the Anthem in order to protest.
Spencer: No. That’s not gonna be enough no more. We go big or we go home.
Player: You’re askin’ us to forfeit the game.
Players: Nah, man. Come on.
Spencer: She was one of ours! Tamika can’t fight for herself no more, but we can. Look, I know this means endin’ our season. I understand the sacrifice I’m askin’ y’all to make. That’s why it’s gotta be a team decision. It’s either all of us or none of us, and whatever y’all decide, I’ll stand by it.
Billy: All right, gentlemen, show of hands. No judgment. All in favor?
In the end, not only does their team decide to forfeit, but so does the opposing team, as they all kneel in solidarity on the field, raising their fists in the black power symbol:
Stadium announcer: Ok, we’re just getting word. It appears the South Crenshaw Chargers have just forfeited the game in protest against police brutality and the shooting of Tamika Pratt. If this is true, this officially ends their run for the state championship. Their season’s over. They sacrificed everything.
Olivia: Does your offer to help me still stand?
Stadium announcer: Incredible. North View Park has forfeited, too. They had a real shot at the state championship title, as much as the Chargers. What a show of allyship. Remarkable!
It’s a moving scene, and yes, black lives matter. Yes, we should stand in solidarity in cases of obvious police brutality and racism. But there are men and women, black and white, who put their lives on the lines every day as police officers to serve and protect the public, who are facing extreme harassment in today’s anti-cop culture. Some have even been murdered by BLM supporters. Their lives matter, too.
Painting every officer as a “bad apple,” lying about the origins of the police system, claiming that police are out to “hunt” black people, and stating that there’s no way to fix situations of true racism and brutality because the whole system is broken, is just wrong.
The left is creating hate, division and fear and their “plan” has no good outcome for anyone. Not for black businesses that have been burned and looted by BLM protesters, not for the innocent black and white lives that have been taken during BLM protests and in the subsequent rise in crime, not for the innocent officers who continue risking their lives to protect us, not for race relations in this country, and not for black people themselves. Nothing and no one wins in their narrative except chaos, anarchy and hate.
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