There are times in my life I find myself having to reread headlines because sometimes they may be seem so ridiculous I wonder if I’m really reading The Onion. So imagine my surprise when I read about people attacking AMC for killing off an African-American character during Black History Month on their popular show “The Walking Dead.”
This actually is happening.
Let me first state that I am a big fan of the post-apocalyptic drama. I am also a huge fan of the now deceased character Tyreese, because he was such a kind and gentle human being who Chad Coleman portrayed extremely well. As much as any other fan, I was furious when the character met his tragic demise.
The criticism on basis of race is ridiculous, however. First, these shows are filmed months in advance. Creator Robert Kirkman, showrunner Scott Gimple, and Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd didn’t wake up one morning and decide to off an African-American character during a month honoring black history. They’re busy enough without coordinating such an elaborate setup.
The depth of the show’s writing presents moral questions all the time. In a world of total lawlessness, the lines between sin and survival are blurred. This leaves a human being completely dependent on their own moral compass.
Some people, such as main character Rick Grimes, have had a dark transformation due to constant wear of survival. Tyreese is that rare, unique character who maintained his humanity when the world was lost.
Let me clear, racism is still very alive and unfortunately well in our world. It’s unfortunate that the color of a person’s skin can still be considered as a legitimate basis for judgement by some. Unfortunately, in a world of imperfect beings, we are all subject to our own moral compass. But not everything is racist just because it involves a minority.
This is the difference between an actual racist named Merle, who died earlier in the show, and individuals like Tyreese who maintain themselves when facing hell.
While Tyreese may have died during Black History Month, he was a strong character with an incredible actor behind it. The writers did well in creating a fascinating portrait of a human being who has lost his family and friends, being left to scavenge with total strangers, and still maintaining a sense of humanity.
There is real racism in America and I sincerely hope someday we can learn as a society to move past it. But The Walking Dead and AMC didn’t do anything wrong here.
Lets maintain a level of perspective here.