BETTER OFF TED “Racial Sensitivity”: Getting Your Own Free White Guy

betteroffted

Astonishingly, it turns out Better Off Ted is the flip side of an old, successful coin: once upon a time, All in the Family used an all-too-realistic portrayal of the bigot next door to make society laugh at its own unflattering reflection. Better Off Ted is super-stylized–no one on this show lives next door to you–and it’s not going to last as long as All in the Family‘s theme song. But no show today is as adroit at holding a mirror up to society’s foibles.

This week’s entry finds Veridian Dynamics forced to hire white people to follow their black employees around because a newly installed security system simply doesn’t register black people (Legal insists that this is indifference, not racism). While the episode tosses around giggles like Lem’s collective bargaining crew getting stuck on the elevator because the sensor is…indifferent to them and Veronica dismissing Lem’s concerns by trying to make him think he’s won by getting a sensor-free drinking fountain dedicated to black employees, the show doesn’t shy away from the assumptions created by the American Dream. In describing the ludicrous “hand out white guys” solution VD has come up with, Lem bitterly notes that his personal white guy has a new job because he “was born with the God-given talent to trigger a light sensor.” That’s the kind of human capital that’s gotten the melanin-challenged ahead for decades, and isn’t that the American Dream? If you just work hard enough and better yourself by learning the skills necessary to trigger a light sensor, you deserve all the good things that come to you. Thanks, Veridian Dynamics–I’ve been railing against racism for years, but you’ve made it so clear that I’m wrong! As your commercial points out, just the thought of that makes me smile:

Diversity. Just the thought of it makes these white people smile. We believe everyone works best when they work together. Even if they’re just standing around. Just like we enjoy varieties of foods, we enjoy varieties of people. Even though we can’t eat them. At Veridian Dynamics, we’re committed to a multiethnic workplace. You can shake on it. Veridian Dynamics. Diversity. Good for us!

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