We are now on Episode 5 and if you have gotten this far, there is really little chance you will give up on the show. It’s a great show and here are some of my observations.
Episode 5: From Sun Up To Sun Down
In this Episode we find Ashley hesitantly getting to know another person of color at her daughter’s predominantly white school. Focus on 6:53 when she is introduced to the black mother of a cute black boy. The white teacher Aid at the school assumes they will “get along” because they are both…well, black. Intent Vs. Impact, Right?
Ashley meets the woman and her son and the woman immediately notices that Hailey is ashy. The little boy’s mother says “oh honey you need your lotion” and Ashley, embarrassed, says “ah yes, we…we know. We were running late today.” Focus on Ashley’s face as she is clearly embarrassed at a fact that she knows she SHOULD know and be aware of but because of living in white isolation, she forgets often. It’s possible that because her white family does not notice, she does not notice. Watch carefully as you see Ashley’s face. Just 1 more instance where she does not feel black enough. I can relate to this very much as my A-family was very careless. Due to our skin color they also thought we could not burn in the sun so they NEVER applied lotion to our bodies and yes, we did burn. You could not see it as much but you could definitely feel it.
There is a scene where Ramon and his father are in the car (after the lotion scene). His father Greg tells him that he should not focus on the past or the future but to live in the Here and Now. What he does not understand is that for adoptees, the future is uncertain without us knowing a bit about our past. Focus on how Ramon says “I know dad. I read your book.” This is a poignant scene because it shows that Greg can pack his life into a book whereas Ramon seems to struggle with his foggy and confusing past which causes him to struggle with living in the present. For many of us, our adoptions was a lie. The father wants to fix Ramon’s problems but it is clear as the show progresses that it is becoming more and more complicated.
In the restaurant scene, you will notice Ashley meeting with her dad and she brings A-LOT of lotion. She is clearly embarrassed at not being prepared and is also trying to tell her father something…something he will never understand. I feel like she brings the lotion with her to tell him that he should have taught her to be prepared. At the restaurant, money seems to buy the father’s love.
Focus on 15:38 when Ashley says that she is thankful for growing up around white privilege but she does not think it was “good” in the end. The father defends himself and the family as he says “we tried out best…we introduced you to Liberian culture…” Keep a close eye on Ashley’s response to this. It is so home-hitting for international adoptees being raised by people who do not look like them or match their race. The conversation sorta ends with Ashley laughing after the white dad tells her she has to report the cop for feeling her up. She says “that right there is the difference between you and the world you live in and the world I live in.”
At around 30:43 Malcom invites the black family over for a “barbecue”. The black father does the barbecuing and Malcom is talking to Ashley over the phone. Focus on her facial expressions as he tells her that they should come over (they are already over) and how uncomfortable she looks. She has already been embarrassed once by the mother/wife, she is reluctant to seeing them again.
A few minutes later, both sets of parents are sitting down and having a chat. The black family asks Ashley what she does and the white husband thinks it is his place to share what she does. At some point, the black parents give a brief history of Portland. Focus on how clueless Ashley is about the state she lives in and how Malcom seems to know about its history. Ashley tells the couple how she wanted to be a History teacher and how from her classes she realized how fashion is changing….instead of the issues with History, Ashley focused on fashion. Keep your ears open for when Malcom drops the big bombshell. The one that is used as an excuse as to why Ashley is so ignorant (44:03-45:20).
Can I relate to every scene in this episode? Yes…..on a massive scale. How many times did I try to talk to my APs about what I was going through as a black little girl…how many times was “pray for them” the answer…not…”how did that make you feel?” Things my white siblings could do and get away with were just not things I could ever even try to do. I could list the things they did but I would be here all night and I want to move on to Episode 6.