Mad Men & Blackness: An anti-climax??


[edit: Kelley, I love your country self when it is Bee related but just saw the episode with blackface which is 3×03. It is cringe-inducing and anyone who thinks otherwise is CRAZY!]

[edit #2: AWWWW Betty & Don. But does anyone else think Roger & Jane need to break up??? ]

Black Girl Blogging is a Mad Men fan. I found out about this through Basket of Kisses, the pre-eminent Mad Men fan site online. Elle at BGB has written some pieces on the new episodes of series 3 of the critically acclaimed series. Through one feature I read on BGB, I learned today that Roger had on blackface. A big WTF moment surged through me.

I really do like Mad Men. It’s a clever, cerebral show, but the one place the show has failed is in how it has refused to tackle the race issue head on. There have only been glimmers and touches about race (as seen through Sheila, Hollis & Carla).

I think the way the writers are treating it is a bit of an anti-climax. Sheila & Paula’s relationship is barely developed at the end of series 2 yet Roger is marching around in blackface in series 3?? WTF?

Okay, I am going to need to see the episode before I judged granted, but I can’t help thinking this is slightly lazy on the part of the writers to an extent.

Any thoughts?

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6 thoughts on “Mad Men & Blackness: An anti-climax??

  1. Well, it’s set in the early 60s in New York and what Roger does with it was not unusual for someone from his background for those times. I don’t want to spoil it, but from the audiences perspective, it’s not about black people, it’s about white racism.

    • @Kelley, besides the blackface thing for me which made me cringe, the episode was really good. Betty looks amazing in that white lace get up at the party and dare I say that Don looks a little more in love with Betty?

      Can’t wait for the downfall of Jane Sterling. She’s such a cow.

  2. You’re riled up over nothing. Watch the episode first. You won’t come away offended but instead will feel embarrassed for Roger.

    I don’t have a problem with Mad Men not delving into race. It would be historically inaccurate for race to be a big deal with these characters. These are well to do Northerners living in one of the most diverse cities on the planet. If this was set in Atlanta or Dallas or Charlotte in the early 60s, I would agree with you completely. But the fact is, people like the ones on the show, they were not feeling the deep effects of the violence and sinister nature of discrimination in the early 60s. The race riots of northern cities didn’t erupt until the late 60’s. There’s no reason for Don and his ilk to be caught up in race. It’s not a part of his life and it would be inauthentic for the show to delve into it more than they already have. I’d rather the show be authentic than have token black characters thrown on to appease those who want to see more color on show. The character of Sheila is a perfect example of this. She was totally a token and that was a waste of a storyline, all to tell us her boyfriend used to date Joan.

    But again, it would be totally inaccurate for these particular white characters to be thinking about race or discussing race any more than they have thus far.

    • @Kelley, as always your comment is appreciated, but just like the Queen Bee, we are at opposite sides of the fence!

      Like I said in my post, MM is not in the UK yet so I have not seen the episode, so no way am I judging how it is acted etc, but just disappointed with the writers using the idea of blackface, accuracy be damned.

      Blackface does nothing for me loins, honestly.

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