By Mick Dumdell
Racism is hard to find unless you are actively searching for it. This weekend I found it, in the new television show, Wayward Pines! I know some of you are going to say that I am just imagining things. Well, before you say that, just read the rest of this post, and then see how you feel about it. Let me start at the beginning:
This weekend I decided to catch up on some TV shows I had DVR’d and so I started binge-watching Wayward Pines. For those of you who are not familiar, Wayward Pines is an American television series based on the Wayward Pines novels by Blake Crouch. Developed for television by Chad Hodge, the pilot was directed by M. Night Shyamalan, with both as executive producers. The series premiered on FOX on May 14, 2015. See more here.
From the very beginning I was riveted in my seat. I don’t want to do spoilers, so if you haven’t see the show yet but plan to, don’t read beyond this point! Here is a recap of Episode 1 from the wikipedia link above, which will set the scene:
In 2014, U.S. Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke awakens from a car accident on the outskirts of Wayward Pines, Idaho. After entering town and collapsing in a coffee shop, he recalls driving with Agent Stallings, searching for Agents Kate Hewson and Bill Evans. Beverly, a bartender, gives him a note with an address where he finds the decaying corpse of Agent Evans, which he reports to an uninterested Sheriff Pope. When Ethan is subsequently hospitalized, psychiatrist Dr. Jenkins suggests surgery, but Beverly helps Ethan escape.
In Seattle, Dr. Jenkins meets with Ethan’s boss Hassler and tells him everything is going as planned. Ethan’s wife Theresa wonders if he has run off with Kate, his former mistress. Ethan finds Kate in Wayward Pines, but she is noticeably older than when he saw her five weeks earlier, and she claims to have been there for 12 years. He steals a car to leave town, only to discover that a high fence surrounds Wayward Pines. Sheriff Pope tells him that he can never leave.
So, now you have the basic plot. I noticed right away that Wayward Pines was the very epitome of the numerous suburbs which received all the white flight away from the cities. The houses are all neat, well painted and lovingly cared for, with the de rigeur fine trimmed lawns. Wayward Pines is also a gated community, perhaps the most gated community that ever existed, surrounded by mountains, high stone walls, and electrified fences.
The fictional town is located in Idaho, well known for its numerous Aryan militias, white supremacists, and the Christian Identity movement! It is said that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the entire state a White Hate Group. Therefore, it should be no surprise that the residents are 99% upper middle-class white people. The only notable exception is the Black Sheriff, Arnold Pope, played by Terrence Howard. Naturally, as a scary black man with a gun, he is feared by the entire community of whites.
But the scary Black man is on the same footing as the Star Trek’s famed Redshirts (an oblique smear on Native Americans), which refers to those characters who are expendable and frequently killed. Thus, Sheriff Pope, the angry Black man, is killed off in the third episode as he is about to kill Theresa and Ben Burke, the painfully white wife and son of Ethan Burke, the hero of the series. Talk about your racist stereotypes! I am surprised that Sheriff Pope wasn’t wearing a hoodie and eating Skittles.
Ethan Burke is played by Matt Dillon, whose names elicits white racial memories of Marshall Matt Dillon, the gun-toting Marshall of Dodge City, who began each episode by standing his ground, and gunning down some alleged criminal without even the appearance of due process! Didn’t we learn our lesson when poor Trayvon Martin was gunned down in a similar fashion?
Now some of you are probably thinking that this is just all some coincidence. But remember, this show airs on FOX! Need I say more? Well, let me add the piece de resistance! What do you think the high stone walls and electrified fences are there to protect all the innocent little white people from? Look at the picture above! That is what is on the outside of the walls! Savage, unintelligent, mindless, and violent BLACK, dark-skinned creatures called abbies, for abnormals! They are humans that have devolved.
Is this not the image that white America has of Black America? Is this not the image that is portrayed in news stories on Ferguson and Baltimore, wherein the newscasters focus on some random acts of self-help reparations committed by Black youth, instead of examining all the racism and white privilege that causes it? Is this not the vision of Black America that is portrayed on FOXNews 24 hours per day?
Wayward Pines is nothing but a re-write of the 1964 film Zulu, where a small band of miscreant, trespassing whites inside their safe, white enclave, fought and killed thousands of stereotyped savage Black spear-chucking natives for the vicarious thrills of all the white redneck southerners who were too drunk or too fat to go to Selma and other towns to beat up Black Civil Rights protesters. To hide the similarities, the Zulus have been transformed into devolved humans, but the message is the same! White people need to barricade themselves inside their suburbs and gated communities lest savage Blacks kill all of them!
I have proved my point. This is settled science. There can be no reasonable doubts. But what are we to do now? I enjoy the show immensely, while at the same time I am wracked with guilt for all the white privilege it exposes. I don’t plan to stop watching it. I have to know how it ends. Plus, M. Night Shyamalan is an Indian-American, and it would be very racist to not watch his show. Because his people were colonized by the British the same way that Obama’s forebears were.
I talked to several of my friends, some who post here, and we have decided that we should pay our own personal penance for watching the show. So, six of us are going to leave our gated communities in suburbia, pile into my Lincoln Navigator, and travel en masse to a poor Black neighborhood in our city, and hand out bottled artesian water, and healthy organic oatmeal-raisin cookie treats to Black youths at the numerous playgrounds and basketball courts. They are out for summer vacation, and this would be a good way for us to express our solidarity with them during their period of grief following the deaths of Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and the nine Blacks in Charleston.
I will take pictures and post them here. Ellie Mangle-Lero is going with me and I am sure that she will write some good poems about the experience. I hope that I have managed to make you more aware of all the racism and white privilege that surrounds us. The racism that none of us see unless we are actively searching for it.
Yours very truly,
Mick “Spin” Dumdell