American Son | A Tale of Surviving in America


The most talked-about film on Netflix is American Son which stars Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, and Jeremy Jordan. It is deemed as a well-intentioned adaptation of a Broadway play about race in America.

The film opens with a hysterical black mother (Kendra) - played by Kerry Washington in what looks like a posh mansion but as the dialogue goes on, it is revealed it is the waiting area of a Police Station in Florida. Kendra is agitated and frantic as her 18-year-old son Jamal Connor has gone "unaccounted for" for 8 hours just 40 hours shy of 48 hours which would make him considered missing. Kendra is being grilled by a white cop on duty (Larkin) who is new on the scene and continues to ask irrelevant questions that does nothing to help the case but place Jamal in the box of "just another black boy went missing". Larkin continues to ask even more questions and even suggests that it's possible he's probably out with some girls and his boys having fun as that is what he did at 18 years old. Kendra is adamant in convincing Larkin that there is no way a privileged Prep School educated young man with a bright future on his way to a prestigious career could just vanish out of thin air as it was out of his character.



Fast-forward to a few minutes when Larkin is greeted by another white male who assumes he is his superior and begins to express how difficult Kendra is being and she is just a hostile black woman. It is soon revealed that this man is her estranged husband Scott from whom she is separated who actually works for the FBI. They then get into a heated argument where they discuss race issues that they might have danced around which brings the play to its peak. Eventually, the real senior officer (Eugene Lee) arrives, interrupting the couple’s accusatory squabbling with more limited information. He then gets into a heated yet necessary with Kendra on how she's lost her way and is too far into being "woke" that she has lost sight of her son and that it is in fact about surviving in America as Black people than trying to deflect the issues with fancy Ph.D.'s. 

It was finally revealed that Jamal was shot in the head by a police officer on a traffic stop he died immediately. The couple both release piercing screams and were crying as the film ends.



A few interesting topics brought up in American Son

- Race issues in America are alive and well and probably won't be going anywhere soon
- If you are a bi-racial child and is a bit darker, you don't get to decide  if you are half black and half white as America has already decided that you are black
- Being educated, living in a nice neighborhood and speaking well will not give you any points or move you up the ladder of success. In America, you are still deemed as just a typical black person
-Sometimes being in an inter-racial relationship will not work. There are too many issues that are often swept under the rug by both parties that need to be discussed
- A child's name is everything! If you give your child what is deemed as a "Black name" it could have implications on their future. In the play, Kendra's husband's suggests that his son would have been better off with a name like "Aiden"
- How we carry ourselves as Black people can be our greatest downfall. Jamal was described as sporting a new cornrow hairstyle and sagging pants and rolling with other "boys" from the neighbor
- The American dream does not apply to Black people no matter how hard they work
- Teaching a young black boy to survive in America is better than giving him a college education and a nice car
- The message we sometimes convey as black people to the rest of the world can again have serious implications on how we are treated. Jamal was reported as having a bumper sticker on his Lexus that said "Kill 

We hope that you will watch this short film and decide. It's one of those films that you'll have to watch a few times to get all the underlying issues depicted.

*some scenes were intentionally not mentioned as we do not want to reveal everything*


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