You would think that perhaps, just perhaps, the folks in Hollywood could resist lying about Republican presidents, especially if they are not alive to defend themselves, but as ABC’s “Black-ish” demonstrated on Tuesday, such is not the case.
As Newsbusters reports, the Tuesday episode of the show featured dialogue claiming that when Ronald Reagan was governor of California, he never saw a black man he didn’t want to break in half.
Here’s the background: Andre “Dre” Johnson (Anthony Anderson), his son Junior (Marcus Scribner), mother Ruby (Jenifer Lewis), and friend Smokey (Cedric the Entertainer) are planning a 65th birthday party for Dre’s father, Pops (Laurence Fishburne), and as Dre and Ruby commiserate about Pops’ past life as a hustler, Junior gets upset, deciding he doesn’t want to celebrate his grandfather’s birthday.
The dialogue below is courtesy of Newsbusters:
Junior: I feel like I don’t even know this guy. He stole mattresses, gambled, forged passports, roundhoused. Is his name even “Pops”?
Ruby: Hey. Settle down, Cool Breeze.
Junior: Yeah, I-I-I’m cool. I’m — I’m just out. I’m not celebrating this guy.
Smokey: Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey. Hold on, man.
Dre: So, you’re saying you’re not on Pops? Are you not hearing the same stories that I’m hearing? Put yourself in his shoes. Think about it. Pops tried to escape the racism of the Deep South and fell into the racism of Deep South Central. Sam Yorty was mayor, Ronald Reagan was governor, and they ain’t never seen a black man they didn’t want to break in half. Pops’ generation was the last hired and first fired. And remember, he didn’t make a lot of money, so he had to stretch it as far as he could for his family — especially around the holidays. That’s why he had his side hustles — To turn 1 dollar into 2. Look, Pops wasn’t perfect, but he was more than most. I remember once, I had a friend over, and he asked who that man in the hallway was. I said, “That’s my dad.” He had never seen a dad before. I was one of only a couple of friends who even knew their dad. Yeah, it’s easy to judge Pops now because he survived long enough to be judged. But the truth is, if I was in his place, I don’t think I’d have done anything different. Your grandfather made it to 65 despite everything working against him. We need to celebrate that.
Junior: Guess I didn’t think of it like that.
Dre: Yeah, I guess I hadn’t, either.
Ironically, Yorty was a Democrat until 1980, and as Karen Townsend of Newsbusters notes, “his staff in Los Angeles’ City Hall was fully integrated.”
As far as Reagan being a racist, the very concept is laughable; addressing the NAACP in 1981, Reagan attacked racism, saying:
A few isolated groups in the back order of American life still hold perverted notions of what America is all about. Recently in some places in the nation, there’s been a disturbing reoccurrence of bigotry and violence. To those individuals who persist in such hateful behavior … you are the ones who are out of step with our society, you are the ones who willfully violate the meaning of the dream that is America, and this country because it does what it stands for will not stand for your conduct.
Reagan appointed future Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; appointed Colin Powell as his National Security Advisor, signed legislation making Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday, and signed an extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act for another 25 years.
But ABC feels free to smear him as a racist.