“Don’t tell me free speech is a BUZZWORD because it’s everything when you don’t have it”
– Ana Torres, Grown-ish
Grown-ish Season 1 Episode 11 covered a very political theme and illustrates some of the political conversations held by college students. After watching this episode, I realised that politics is a very passionate topic and often ends in some type of altercation because everyone is listening to respond and not to understand. The new show focuses on issues that are extremely relatable to those in university or college. The diverse group of characters all have strong beliefs, and while the main character Zoey Johnson is often caught in between her friend’s altercations, the character tends to lack any political stance. When asked, Yara Shahidi said, “The entire point of her position is to explore what happens when socio-political conversations are taken out of the theoretical (from her socio-economic comfort) to a real life experience.”
Whilst some found some political representations distasteful, the episode embraced how the Z-generation are taking an interest in politics and actually having an opinion on it. There are more than 2 basic political beliefs on a university campus. In my opinion, you have Liberals who are more neutral and you have liberals that are far left. You have Conservatives who are more neutral and then you have your alt-rights. In this generation I have noticed that you have a different type of political spectrum too: The “woke”, the filter changers, the empty barrels that make the most noise and those who don’t have a view. None of these groups are necessarily bad; your environment shapes what you believe in and some people may not understand why you think a certain way but your opinion brings something new to the table, a new insight on a different way of life. Everyone wants to be heard, but not everyone is willing to both listen and understand. Politics has a way of making some people hypersensitive, and like Luca (Luka Sabbat) said in Grown-ish, “Your generation is softer than Drake.”
This episode shows that politics is thriving right now and the engagement has no age limit. There are videos of little children speaking on what they believe is right or wrong. However, the episode also highlighted the issue of hypersensitivity – this simply means being excessively sensitive both psychologically and physically. As an individual I feel censored; what I could once laugh about I no longer can without someone writing a thread why I shouldn’t find something funny. I don’t even like certain tweets because I know the potentially damage it could cause. I personally believe if the movie White Chicks came out in 2018 it would not be half as popular as it was when it came out. This however has its benefits because people who are affected by certain issues can educate others on their reality which as a whole could change societies behaviour towards certain issues. Being sensitive to certain harms doesn’t mean that we should stop engaging in open discussions, educating one and other to create change is the goal. Whilst some comments may be radical and shouldn’t be said, some people agree with them. Everyone is different and no one is going to think like you. The world is a big place and unfortunately a utopia can never exist because everyone’s idea of a utopia would differ. Just because you don’t like what someone said doesn’t mean you have the right to shut them up. “Unless everyone has a voice, none of us have a voice” Zoey Johnson, Grown-ish.
The episode not only illustrated a variety of political beliefs, it also showed a parallel view of life and how some of the younger generation are acting on their activism by protesting in what they believe in. Students in this generation have been protesting against police brutality #BlackLivesMatter Movement and Gun Control, #NeverAgain.
The main characters voicing their opinions on this episode of Grown-ish were Ana Torres, played by Francia Raisa and Aaron Jackson, played by Trevor Jackson. Ana was depicted as a Conservative, Latina woman and Aaron a Liberal African-American male. Although both characters were on two different ends of the spectrum the climatic point of the episode was conveying how people fail to listen to each other when it comes to politics. Once you state what end of the spectrum you’re on your judged instantly.
With politics and current issues reaching its peak amongst society everyone needs to remember change doesn’t come from being closed minded to alternative beliefs. Everyone has a voice and everyone has an opinion. Just because someone doesn’t agree with yours, doesn’t make them inferior to you. Learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable because the world isn’t peaches and cream. If you believe in something don’t silence others: act on it, march with likeminded people, sign that petition. Take activism to the streets and not just social media. “Stay woke, not as a catchphrase but as a lifestyle”, Dick Gregory.
Written by Tolu Martins