Once again Black-ish has touched upon a relevant social issue. This time it’s mass incarceration. We learn that one fourth of the world’s prisoners are in the United States and that black people only make up 13% of the US’s population but 35% of the prisons’ population.
It’s revealed that Dre’s god-brother Omar has been in prison after Dre receives a phone call from him asking for money. Dre hangs up the phone and refuses to give him money and explains to Bow that it’s the third time that week. Bow insists on talking to Omar on the phone and has even sent him pictures in the past. She tells Dre she just wants to make his time in prison easier while Dre feels like they need to keep their distance.
One day Bow receives a call from Omar announcing that thanks to the Innocence Project he was found innocent and is being released. Bow and Dre and both elated but disagree when Dre wants Omar to stay with them. Although Bow wanted to help Omar while he was in prison, she doesn’t feel comfortable with him staying in there home. Dre and Bow basically switch stances.
Bow reveals that during her conversations with Omar she has learned what he has experienced in prison is afraid that they have changed him. She’s worried about exposing her children to someone she’s not sure about. Dre understands Bow’s fears but explains that he feels an obligation to make sure that Omar is okay. He reminds her of the prisoner who was released after being found innocent and he went through so much abuse in prison that when he was released he ended up committing suicide. Bow agrees that he will need support and she joins Dre at the diner as they anxiously await Omar’s return. The door to the diner opens with Dre and Bow both starting with wide eyes and the episode ends.
I’m not sure if we’ll ever meet Omar. Regardless, the episode was a great conversation starter. How much are we willing to risk to help others? If someone found innocent is released from prison, is there still a stigma?
Black-ish airs on Tuesdays at 9:00PM Eastern on ABC