My daughters and I watched much of the inauguration yesterday. Like many, we were deeply moved by Obama's speech, but were perhaps the most happy simply watching the Obama family hang out together. Between that moment and his affirming his belief in equal rights for gay Americans, we truly felt like our president and his family represent us not just in ideology but in the core way they aspire to live their lives.
Later in the evening we happened to turn on a Happy Days rerun. The episode featured an African American character named "Sticks" Downey. When he enters, Richie, who has never met him but only had him recommended as a drummer, has just been trying to fix him up on a date, though he doesn't know his race yet. As Sticks walks in, and his prospective date turns around to meet him, the audience gasps and oohs and ahhs and chuckles, in anticipation of the coming calamity. His prospective date turns around and sees him, horrified, unable to talk or breathe, holding out her hand with wide eyes, kind of frozen in panic as she is led from the diner and out of the episode. From here the episode continues to explore racial stereotypes -- the main characters are completely awkward, referring to fried chicken, watermelon, Sticks' natural rhythm, etc.
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