Roseanne: If Only We Had Known | HumorOutcasts

Roseanne: If Only We Had Known

May 30, 2018

Considering the cancellation of the Roseanne reboot, I’ve been thinking about one little girl. She’s 8-year-old Jayden Ray, a child of color, who played the daughter of Conner son, D.J.

Can you imagine the conversations that went on in her home yesterday with her parents?

Of course, conversations like this happen every day as people of color deal with the overt and tiny bias so prevalent in our country. A former African-American co-worker of mine told her fourteen-year-old son, “You have to be home by midnight, because nothing good happens to a black boy after midnight.”

Days later, her son and his friends were stopped for Hanging Around the Ice Cream Place While Black, an egregious crime.

What do we tell Jayden Ray and all the other children of color who face the consequences of racism every day?  I have no clue, because I’m white with pasty, old skin.  When I sped to work daily in my sporty red car near the hospital, I never was stopped by the police.  My co-worker, a person of color, who drove a non-descript SUV was stopped four times in eight months.  Four times for the crime of Driving While Black in a White Neighborhood.

When Roseanne Barr’s show came back to TV, I was delighted. The original show, which ran for nine years in a world far away and long ago, was pithy, hilarious, and took us on a working family’s struggles with poverty, child-rearing, aging parents, racism, homosexuality and a host of other issues. What I liked about the show was the writing, which was the best kind of writing, funny but with a point.

But the reboot was different from the original.  What I failed to know about Barr’s history bit me in the hind quarters when Barr tweeted something repugnant yesterday. I had no idea that since her show went off the air in 1997, Roseanne has been up to her eyebrows in conspiracy theories and right-wing politics. I seriously had no clue. And I’m ashamed. I need to listen to the more late-night radio. Her show was canceled by ABC and Viacom dropped the reruns.

Barr is a racist and a ninny.

If only, somehow, we had known.

I remember when a younger Roseanne sang a disrespectful and botched “Star-Spangled Banner” at a baseball game in the 1990s. Everybody gave her a pass. It’s a hard song to sing, they said.

Roseanne’s Twitter feed has been filled with garbage about Susan Rice and the Parkland kids.

She dressed up as Hitler for a magazine article called “That Oven Feeling.”

Her repugnant tweet added to our ongoing national conversation about racism. ABC did the right thing when they immediately canceled the show. The cynic in me also notes it was likely a business decision for a company that brought us “Black Panther” and has 2 sequels in the wings.

I agree that ABC should not have gotten in bed with Barr again. That was also a decision made with business interests, hoping to engage half the population who supports POTUS.

Barr was up early again today, tweeting that her message yesterday was caused by Ambien, a popular sleeping medication. (Did I mention because of my drug-store melatonin, I buried my husband alive in the backyard this morning when he spoke to me before I had my coffee?) Pharma company Sanofi released a statement that I’m paraphrasing, “All pharmaceutical products have side effects, but none cause racism.”

Some pundits decried the whole episode as a good thing for America, that a large business stood up to racism. It’s a tiny grain of sand on a horrible wide beach. All of us, especially those of us with white privilege, need to ask ourselves if we are complicit. Because if we do nothing, say nothing, and allow racist behavior to continue in our corner of the world, we are just as bad as Barr.

Amy Abbott

Abbott is syndicated on Senior Wire News Service and writes for newspapers and magazines. She's the author of multiple books, and is currently featured in "Laugh Out Loud," the first anthology of the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop.

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6 Responses to Roseanne: If Only We Had Known

  1. rfreed
    June 1, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    She can’t be too right wing- she herself is Jewish.

  2. rfreed
    June 1, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    She can’t be too right wing- she herself is Jewish.

  3. Gabby Abby Jax
    June 1, 2018 at 1:25 am

    Shared – so smart

  4. May 30, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    I used to be a big fan of Roseanne. Not anymore.

    • May 31, 2018 at 2:22 pm

      Me, too. Lots of the exteriors were filmed in my town because the original producer Matt Williams went to college here, so I followed the original and watched the reruns. I’m over it. She’s deplorable. Kathy, thanks for reading.

  5. May 30, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    I am not as ticked at ABC for bringing back Roseanne as I am at NBC for giving trump his own show. That was the start of this mess.

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