Tag Archives: Chris Colfer

When will Glee stop ignoring race?

By Guest Contributor Tami Winfrey Harris, cross-posted from What Tami Said

I’m not quite a Gleek, but I do regularly record and watch Glee. It can be treacly and inconsistent, but I live for the moment when Chris Colfer busts out a Broadway classic like last night’s “As if we Never Said Goodbye.” The song occurred in the middle of the show’s much-hyped “Born This Way” episode, centered around the Lady Gaga song. The episode, which found the choir kids battling their insecurities, led to a denouement where they sang the Gaga anthem while wearing tees emblazoned with the natural traits they wrestled with most.

Rachel’s shirt read “Nose.” She had earlier decided against getting rhinoplasty that might erase one marker of her ethnic heritage. Kurt’s top read “I like boys.” And, in this episode, we saw the close of a storyline where he is bullied at school because of his homosexuality. Britney’s read “I’m with stoopid”–a nod to the running gag that is her questionable intellect. Mercedes, the sole regular black character on the show, wore a shirt that said “No weave.” I’m not sure exactly what her insecurity is. Does she hate that she wears a weave? Does she not wear a weave, but thinks she should? In this (customary) ignoring of Mercedes’ character development, Glee missed a chance to provide a window into what it’s like to be one of a very  few students of color (particularly a black girl) at a majority white school.

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