Designated Survivor: A Hypersensitive Culture?

I sit down every Wednesday to watch a new show called Designated Survivor. The show revolves around the idea of the designated survivor: the person the government picks to stay home when holding the State of the Union address at the capitol. The reasoning behind the idea of having a designated survivor is in case something were to happen to all three cabinets of the government during the address, there is someone to take over as President.

The opening episode of the series is just this, an attack on the capitol building where a designated survivor now has to take over as president. After a few days after the attack, a Muslim man comes forward as being the leader of the attack. From then on, as the government is all over the place trying to find new members to fill positions and figure out what had happened, one Governor in Michigan decided that since a Muslim man came forward as the perpetrator, than all Muslims in Michigan were to be questioned and arrested whenever. Not only was the Governor of Michigan beginning to do this but the police in Washington, DC even stopped a man who happened to work for the President in the White House just because he was Muslim. This idea of hypersensitivity surrounds all those of color. It is as if they cannot escape this terrible reality or rather culture for some.

However, this example in a TV show I support and love to watch is exactly how our society runs. We live in a world where people are constantly hypersensitive to those of color or any other race. You see as a black man walks by a white women and she clutches her bag close to her body or a mother who pulls her child far away from someone wearing a headdress especially at an airport. Yes, we have seen some terrible acts of rage in our country that have frightened our society but just because one person did something, does not mean that it is representative of the entire race or religion. Designated Survivor was just another example of real situations we see in our world. Situations that we as students in this course need to help advocate and educate others so that something such as hypersensitivity does not continue.

Entertainment plays a large role in the picture of race. Another prime example that does the opposite and address the issues is the show Black-ish where a family of color lead by their father’s ideals take on these concerns revolving around race, culture and religion. We need more shows that can help break down the silence and break the conversation open. Yet, where do we go from here? How can we take situations from our reality, change them so that they no longer occur thus removing them from entertainment and removing the hypersensitivity culture?

1 thought on “Designated Survivor: A Hypersensitive Culture?

  1. I think the idea of the way race is handled and represented in entertainment, especially television, is super interesting. People of color have long been underrepresented in entertainment. And often, when they are represented in tv shows, they’re playing out a stereotypical role that only further misrepresents different cultures and perspectives. I think we’ve been slowly progressing in a positive direction with this representation, especially in television. The show you outlined seems to give a sort of commentary on the way our nation is operating as of late (assuming I understood the premise correctly), which is a really interesting idea. I think these commentaries serve as counter narratives in a way, and get us to think critically about the society we live in. While I’m all for shows like Blackish and Fresh Off the Boat that are centered around the experiences of non-white families, I think it’s also super important that we have more shows that are about non-white families that don’t /necessarily/ only have plots that are derived from the family’s non-whiteness.

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