American Gods – Ummm, Actually…

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Hey Guys,

I have an “umm actually” regarding the deep dive for Season 2, Episode 2 of American Gods. Here it goes….

Regarding the sequence when Young Shadow Moon is naively prancing through the park listening to his walkman, introducing himself to strangers, and jamming with the bongo man….I have to object to Big D’s reaction to Gene’s explanation that Shadow was jumped due to him being a lighter skin color than the kids that beat him up.

Ummm, actually Big D…there is a very deep history of dark skinned black people being seen as inferior than lighter skinned black people. During slavery, the majority of plantation owners would rape their house slaves and it would sometimes end up with a light skinned black baby being conceived. This would go on to create a hierarchy of skin shade within the black community once slavery was abolished. The darker your skin, the more your culture, identity, and heritage weren’t seen as being tainted by the white man, and it was the opposite for light skinned black people. This led to lighter skinned black people being widely ostracized from the black community and having to do more to prove they were “down for the cause”. Lighter skinned black people are typically more easily welcomed into majority white communities or social arenas, and also may reap the benefits of having light colored skin (i.e. getting a job, being approved for a home loan, etc.) as opposed to their dark skinned counterparts. Yes, this really does happen.

Black is black, right….nope. As I watched that scene unfold, and those kids started following Young Shadow, I knew exactly what was about to happen, and more importantly, I knew why. It’s not something that’s depicted too often in movies or T.V., but it is something that certainly happens in real life. You could also see how the dark skinned kids used Shadow as an object to project this sense of being inferior when they asked Young Shadow if he thinks he’s better than them.

All in all, I think it was an interesting way to introduce Young Shadow to the idea that not everything is peachy keen in the real world. Oh, and Big D, I really don’t intend for this to be a rant against you or anything like that. I just wanted to give the scene it’s due credit for playing on an underlying intra-cultural conflict that is still very relevant today. Not sure if that changes your thoughts on the scene, but thought it was worth a shot.

Really enjoy the podcast and also applaud your ability to make this show interesting despite the sub-par acting and writing that plague most of the scenes/characters.

Thanks,

Daniel

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