“Truth or Dare”- Pan Am on ABC

I am getting caught up on my DVR and watching last week’s episode of Pan Am. A little background on the show. It follows a fictional group of crew who work on a plane for Pan Am during the golden age of air travel in the 1960’s. It focuses mainly on the stewardess’. This episode follows a group of sailors on a pro bono flight returning home after a tour of duty on a submarine. One of the sailors name is Joe, he is African American. During the flight Joe and one of the stewardess’, Laura, get close and become friends. Laura is a sheltered young woman who ran out on her wedding, and has an overbearing mother. There was a party in her apartment, she is staying with one of the more progressive co workers, look up the term beatnik. Anyway, Joe is staying overnight and the superintendent comes up in the morning to complain about the party, when Joe walks behind Laura. The super demands that Laura tosses him out and instead insists they go out for the day. Joe is to continue on to his home in Mississippi by train later that day. While walking thru the train station a man stares in a very hateful manner at Joe and Laura. I realize I have failed to mention that Laura is the epitome of our discussion last week. She is a flawless blonde haired beauty. When Joe leaves Laura for a moment, the man comes to Laura, hits on her and is rejected. When Joe returns the rejected man makes his dislike for Joe is obvious. Laura takes Joe’s hand and the man and his friends beat up Joe. While there was a cut away in the scene, I think this is probably the closest description to what happened during the 60’s that most of today’s generation would have been exposed to. Most of the good movies about racism were produced in the 80’s and 90’s. It’s hard to put what we read in textbooks into a frame of mind when you can’t visualize. Movies and shows like this that still show that society struggles with racism and gives a canvas to show that yes, we still struggle with this and this was what our parents and grandparents lived thru.

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2 Responses to “Truth or Dare”- Pan Am on ABC

  1. ryharris says:

    This post is clearly on point. I absolutely love Pan Am! It is incredibly realistic, and the show manages to capture past racial tensions without putting off people. Although, Laura was afraid of Joe, initially, which is why she locked her door during the night because Joe was sleeping on the couch. After the fight in the train station, she reveals this to Joe. The biggest difference between Laura, and the other men is that Laura herself realized her prejudicial thinking was wrong. The men fought with Joe did not recognize their hate as being wrong. They allowed their hate to consume them. The man who was rejected by Laura was further insulted when Laura reached for Joe’s hand in a moment of fear. Laura and Joe end up having relations near the end of the episode. Though, the extent of their relations is not full known because the scene was cut soon after they started kissing. The fact that they had sex bothered me a little, for obvious racial reasons. I do not, generally, consider myself to be racist but interracial sex troubles me deeply at for the same reason that it probably troubles whites.

  2. ryharris says:

    I have been thinking deeply about my earlier response to this post. Although no one called me on it, but my view of interracial relations could definitely be considered backward in relation to the period in which we live. I do not believe myself to be a racist, but I do understand where hate resides within me. It resides somewhere lowly and dark. It resides in a place that has no known locus, yet it is still present somehow. This response has made me realize that their is a difference between people who are truly racist and people who are simply ignorant. People who are wholeheartedly racist believe that other racial groups are inferior. Whereas, people who are ignorant simply have not lived nor experienced enough of life to understand other individuals; therefore, they make assumptions based on cursory observations. So, the ignorant person is only ignorant because they have not thought deeply enough. I admit that in many aspects of life I’m ignorant. I’m ignorant in that I do not trust certain peoples because I have not ever interacted with them.I am ignorant in that I view the product of interracial relationships as tiny cute little abominations.
    The product of interracial relationships is an offspring that transcends racial lines. Lines which historically were created to enforce the dominance of one group. Yet, these same lines also protected the subordinate groups from any association with the dominate oppressive group. I understand that our future should not be based completely on the past. However, when the past is characterized by slavery, racism, disenfranchisement, and genocide, it definitely affects the future, and it places the smallest seeds on contempt in the hearts of most progressive of people. So, that no one forgets that the past actions of this group denied opportunities to so many other groups. In fact, the world is steal healing from all of the hate. I am an ignorant individual, but I understand where my ignorance lie; therefore, I am not a racist, and I will be able shed my cloak of ignorance as knowledge abounds. Education is essential in tearing down the barriers created by ignorance.

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