American Koko is a Hilarious series that tackles “Race Problems” in a Post-racial America. A Review (Spoiler-Free)
Akosua Millard (Diarra Kilpatrick) is the lead detective at an agency that tackles “race problems” in a post-racial America. Appropriately named Everyone’s A Little Racist (E.A.R.), their cases vary from Asian moms dealing with black hair to casting a Latina as Harriet Tubman in a school play. As a woman who suffers from Type 1 Angry Black Woman Syndrome, we quickly see the toll that her work takes on her. To be the deciding factor on what is and isn’t racist has always been the burden of being a minority in America. However, this series shows what it would look like if the privileged majority actually listened when they ask “Wait, why is this racist?” Then to take it a step further and offer the world from a black woman’s perspective meant that absolutely nothing was to be sugar-coated. Because only groups that have historically held positions societal power can be racist, their agency’s name makes it clear they’ve thrown political correctness out of the window. Not in the way that douchebag Trump supporters justify they’re outdated views and morals, but in a way that strips down race issues to the core and eliminates the possibility of redemption without consequence.
The equation of uncomfortability by way of taking away political correctness that leads to honest and open dialogue, which then leads to understanding is the remedy that the oppressed have been trying to perfect since the beginning of prejudiced time. Leave it to a black woman to get it right in so many ways. In an imaginative approach, the show handles different aspects of the black woman’s experience. You have the white best friend, Sarah (McGhee Monteith), who wants her black friend to be happy and let go while also subtly belittling her hardships in the name of “You’re scaring my white friends.” You have the Angry Black Woman Support Group, which is really just a portrait of black sisterhood filled with brutally honest advice and unwavering support and encouragement. You have the familiar internalized racist black man that wants to correct black women’s behavior in an attempt to make her a more suitable lover. So much of what I saw on screen felt like pages out of my diary.
Then, the toughest case walks through E.A.R.’s door. A white man who killed an unarmed black kid wants to be certified nonracist. You read that right. This show really goes there. There will be times where you question the morale of the team and where their values lie, but their verdicts have yet to be anything but just and reasonable. This is what I respect about the show. I am a firm believer in having these uncomfortable dialogues to reach equality, as opposed to the favored route of blindly seeking payback. True, our ancestors went through some shit, but at the same time, we have a present and a future to consider.
The conversations and protests we bring about should draw us forward, instead of dragging us into a state of radical victimization. That is not to say that we should lie down taking it and sit around singing Kumbaya, but we need to realize that the oppressor will always oppress and no amount of pleading, bargaining, reasoning is gonna make them understand or empathize. The point of oppressing is to silence the disenfranchised, but instead of shouting about inequality and no justice, talk to someone else. We have the power to free ourselves, but we’re stuck on the idea that someone else has the key to our freedom.
The show started out as a web-series starring and created by Diarra Kilpatrick, her husband Milo Orion, Elaine Kao and Cedric Sanders. When picked up by ABC, the same cast remained and Diarra was able to continue with her creative freedom. The only critique I have is I wish the episodes were longer- they average 10-12 minutes. But that just goes to show impactful this show is to carry such powerful messages and still find room for dark humor with such a short running time. The series is executive produced by Queen Viola Davis the First and is available for streaming on ABC Go.