Regardless of which network or publication you first received the news from, you likely never once heard or read the word racist.
Following the 2016 election, ABC Entertainment reevaluated its strategy in hopes of connecting with a demographic the network believes it left behind: the (white) working class. In pursuit of winning over working-class Americans, ABC rebooted “Roseanne”.
18.2 million viewers tuned in to watch the debut of the reboot back in March. Three days after the show’s premiere, ABC renewed the show for 13 more episodes. Critics raved about “Roseanne”, writing that working class families finally have media representation. No, seriously.
The “Roseanne” high was short-lived. Last week, ABC Entertainment president, Channing Dungey released a statement announcing that the show had been cancelled and Barr was fired.
The reason for the highly anticipated reboot’s cancellation depends on where you first heard the news. If you first heard it from The Hill, you probably read that a “racially charged ‘bad joke’ about Valerie Jarrett” led to the show’s cancellation. If you came across the announcement while tuning into E! News, the show’s cancellation came after a “racially charged tweet [sparked] outrage”. If you regularly read The Guardian, ABC Entertainment cancelled “Roseanne” after some “‘abhorrent’ tweets”. If Barr broke the news to you herself, an Ambien-induced rant at
2 AM led to the show’s cancellation and her firing.
Regardless of which network or publication you first received the news from, you likely never once heard or read the word racist. Each time a headline with one of, or a combination of phrases such as “racially charged”, “culturally insensitive remark” or “controversial joke”, appears on my Twitter timeline, I’m reminded that I am expected to report blatant and violent racism as “racially charged jokes” or “culturally insensitive comments”. I’m reminded that I am only valuable in a newsroom if I can remove my Blackness from my perspective so that I can pretend that white supremacy isn’t life-threatening on a daily basis.
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