We have difficulty talking about race in this country. It’s a conversation that’s always been avoided, going back to the Constitutional Convention and the Three-Fifths Compromise. It’s clear that it’s a conversation we need to have. One Hundred and Fifty years after the end of the Civil War we still have people flying the Confederate flag, referring to the war as the War of Northern Aggression, hanging a noose around the statue of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi, shooting unarmed black teenage boys and calling it self-defense.
I wrote those words several years ago as part of a review. Since then, there’s been no movement toward having the needed conversation. Instead, since the Ferguson shooting, matters have gotten worse. Creator Mike Gerbino and star Che Holloway present that conversation in their show Dark Justice.
Amir Johnson is the first black police officer in a small town police department. It’s a town where 63% of the people are black, yet they are invisible to the white folk. Amir’s introduction into the force does not go smoothly. In fact, he gets shot by his partner. The shooting was a mistake, but it was a mistake that happened only because Amir is black (and his partner is really stupid). The reaction, or more correctly the lack of reaction, to his shooting leads Amir to seek changes in the police department.
Discussions about race can be like walking a tightrope. If it’s too serious, people can get turned off. Gerbino, Holloway and crew present Dark Justice as a satire, ignoring the tightrope by skewering all sides. They avoid preachiness. Dark Justice doesn’t bash you over the head with the issue of race and racism. Instead, Gerbino presents things with humor, demonstrating the sheer stupidity and ludicrousness underlying modern day racism in America. The humor never dismisses the seriousness of the issue. Instead, it is used to probe and mock our national inability to have a serious conversation about race relations.
The full first season of Dark Justice can be seen at StreamNowtv.com
By Jeff Siniawsky