If you follow me on Twitter, then you probably saw my shock and awe at seeing Roger Sterling in Blackface on last night’s episode of Mad Men. Wat? Blackface? In the 60s? I was in disbelief. In my last post I talked about my frustrations with the lack of race commentary on the show. Wasn’t sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing but I now think that we will see more commentary on race and white privilege in this season than we ever have before on the show.
From Basket of Kisses:
Matt Weiner has been criticized often enough for not quite getting there about race. We have, on this site, discussed “Magical Negroes” in Mad Men, and the Sheila storyline ended up fizzling in an unsatisfying way.
So now that he’s decided to address it, it’s not just a scene or an incident, no, it’s Matt, so it’s a holistic embrace of everything privilege; the privilege of race, of gender, of age, of money, of social class, and of how all of those things intersect.
Surely the most privileged person on the show is Roger Sterling; even more so than YodaBert, because Roger was born with his silver spoon. Roger is so incredibly privileged that he can parade an embarrassingly young wife and make a lot of powerful people treat her politely, and do it, nauseatingly, in blackface to boot. Blackface! (And don’t even try to say “sign of the times;” privileged people still do this). Roger can make people swallow any kind of bad behavior, because he’s got the money, class privilege, and power.
I certainly think Roger in blackface was a symbol of his level of privilege. On another note, I loved seeing the tension between Betty’s father and Carla–of course he accused Carla of taking the money without actually saying, “that n*gger stole my money.” And then when he got her name wrong? “We don’t all know each other, you know”…..a woman after my own heart as I’ve retorted with that in my travels.
Damn…the Black blogosphere might go nuts over this one.
So…what did you all think about Roger in Blackface? Did we like it? Was it a sign of the times? Do we hate him more?
And isn’t Joan’s husband just a complete loser (and a rapist)?