‘Black-ish’ Recap: Martin Luther Skiing Day

Teach the youth and they will lead the way. But not before their parents have a moment. And Dre had quite the moment in tonight’s episode when he turned the family’s annual Martin Luther King Day ski weekend into a racial history class.

At first Dre thought he had the best of both worlds: feeling smug that they could go skiing at a fancy lodge for the long weekend while secure in the knowledge that their kids knew everything they needed to about black history. (Let’s not talk about any charity work they could have done with the weekend like Zach’s family since they’re exempt by being Black all year round, right?) But that self satisfaction ended when Dre found out that Zach, Junior’s white buddy, knew more about black history than Junior did. When asked what happened at the March on Washington, Junior offered that it was a gamechanger. And there was a whole lot of marching. And that he spaces out whenever anyone talks about their dreams, so he’s not so sure what’s up with that I Have A Dream speech everyone’s talking about.

Sure that he and Bow were raising “a bad Black person,” that’s when Rev. Dr. Martin Luther Dad, as Zoe called him, arrived. Dre prepared a Black trivia education program for the long drive, which Bow, Zoe and the twins narrowly escaped being subjected to by tricking the boys into riding with Charlie — well, all but Jack because he’s too precious to his mama.

You know what would complete Dre’s lesson plan? A moment of racial hostility to provide that teachable moment Dre wanted to show Junior. But that was nowhere to be found. First they encountered a nice white cop who did not pull them over for DWB (Driving While Black) but for driving with expired tags, and then he let them off with just a warning because it’s an airquotes holiday weekend. (Charlie’s freakout and fear of going back to jail–wonder what was in that trunk–was hilarious. He sure did need a minute to recover after the cop left.) Next there was the nice hick store owner who gave them free candy, didn’t look at them suspiciously, and despite Dre’s provocation, only kicked them out when Charlie started eating the nacho cheese straight from the ladle. Gross.

With no obvious prejudice to rail against, Dre seized on the inconvenience of not getting the last available adjoining rooms at the hotel as a moment to protest an…injustice? Much to the mortificiation of his entire family, he sat on a luggage cart and started protesting. He even did the loose-limbed todder move on Bow. SMH

But Junior proved he’d taken all the lessons on intolerance to heart when he challenged the second-class status of snowboarders versus skiiers on the bus and gave his own speech. “I have a dream, that one day we will not be judged by size of our boards but by what we do on the pow pow (*fresh powdery snow–I had to look it up).”

Dre and Junior bonded for as long as it took for Junior to go full-nerd with a Lord of the Rings reference. But Junior did acknowledge that he knew he was “a black kid in a world where bad things could happen to anyone” but his father had to trust he was prepared to deal with that.

Random thoughts:

  • What’s up with the bad blood between Charlie and Diane? Who remembers if that started in another episode? I don’t understand the source of it but anthing that gives us more Diane time is alright with me. Right, Charles?
  • Charlie really needs to learn personal space rules, especially in the bathroom.


Favorite lines:

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–Charlie: “He’s a diabetic. I’mma give him some Now Or Laters to get his sugar back.”

–Junior: “Face it, Dad. The world is different from when you grew up. There’s no midday dance shows on, nobody irons their jeans, and some cops are okay.”

–Dre: “Don’t be fooled by his false friendliness. It’s an old Southern trick. They call it the Sweet Tea.
Junior: Really? All these things have names?”
Dre: “Yeah they do, son. From the Alabama Manslap to the Solange Knowles.”

–Junior: “That’s our father. Have you ever thought about that? Our father. He’s not going anywhere either.”
Zoe: “Nope. He’s one of the good ones. We’ll wake up every morning and he’ll still be there. Trying.”

–Jack: “I want a hot-stone massage. I’m a bundle of knots.”
Diane: “Me too. This unit on fractions has me stressed out.”
(For the record, now I can’t get this song out of my head. You’re welcome.)

–Dre, after Bow airquotes the Dr. in Dr. King: “Are you hatin’ on Dr. King?”
Bow: “No, he is a great man, Dre. He has a Nobel Peace Prize winner. I do not have one. But if you were to have a heart attack, he would give a great speech and I would keep you alive. I just don’t understand why we’re called the same thing.”