30 Rock's Rejection of White Guilt

Like half the people in my small world, I'm a little sad to see 30 Rock go, but also a little glad that they didn't overstay their welcome. (This has been a pretty good season actually.) One thing that I don't think 30 Rock gets enough credit for is how it handles race. I don't know how many black writers they've had on the show—Donald Glover and Hannibal Burris are the ones I know. But I'm really having a hard time thinking of a mainstream show (one that wasn't a "black show") that better handled race. 


I think they did that by not actually handling race or black characters so much as interrogating whiteness. Some of the best scenes on the show come from the portraits of whiteness and a kind of white maleness ("I like Tracy Jordan. Dude's a baller. I like that you've got a slut on the show, even if she is a little boned out.")

And they did this without apologizing for being white, without giving a diversity lecture, but by just being the thing. I'm going to miss that.

Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Video

The Case for Napping at Work

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. More and more employers are trying to help address that.

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

Video

Stunning GoPro Footage of a Wildfire

In the field with America’s elite Native American firefighting crew

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In