Last Updated on March 8, 2016 by Andre Loftis

[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text css_animation=””]I have been a fan of the Showtime show “Shameless” for the past few seasons enjoying the antics of the Gallagher family as they rail against the many societal conventions designed to work for the rich and against the poor… exploring topics that travel the gamut from health insurance to immigration to prostitution to the cost of education to homosexuality and gentrification.

So last season when Carl, one of the Gallagher sons, became obsessed with what can only be described as “ghetto blackness” I was intrigued to see how the Shameless writers would deal with this complex subject, my interest becoming even more heightened in light of the recent Oscar fiasco. Carl’s storyline began in typical appropriation style with him taking on stereotypical “ghetto black” mannerism, dialogue and dress, culminating with the quintessential symbol of “ghetto blackness” and the 21st century version of the blackening of the face – cornrows.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”4602″ alignment=”center” style=”” border_color=”grey” img_link_large=”” img_link_target=”_self” css_animation=”” img_size=”full”][vc_column_text css_animation=”” el_class=”small”]Photo: @SHO_Shameless[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]I watched Carl become progressively “blacker” until he was doing blackness better than the actual “black” characters that surrounded him. He sold drugs better than them, he gave beat downs better than them, he even went to jail better than them… voluntarily. Once in jail he naturally became the leader of the “blacks in jail” going as far as leading them in fighting against the Jail Nazis – the ultimate act of street/jail cred.

Once released Carl continued his journey in blackface becoming a gun dealer even selling to his own high school principal, who also happened to be black. He also had Nick, his semi-mute black brute black friend and fellow gangbanger move in with him and his family. Of course Carl couldn’t be fully black until he fulfilled that ultimate act of blackface conversion… conquering a black woman.

As Sounds of Blackness reminds us…

Everybody wanna sing my blues
Nobody wanna live my blues

Given the choice, no white person would truly trade that whiteness for blackness.

So true to the formula, once Carl learned his lesson of what it really means to be “black,” when his friend Nick is taken back to jail after killing another “black” with a hammer. This finally convinces Carl that it is better to be poor white trash than to be “ghetto black.”[/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYmxvY2txdW90ZSUyMGNsYXNzJTNEJTIydHdpdHRlci12aWRlbyUyMiUyMGRhdGEtbGFuZyUzRCUyMmVuJTIyJTNFJTNDcCUyMGxhbmclM0QlMjJlbiUyMiUyMGRpciUzRCUyMmx0ciUyMiUzRVNob3VsZCUyMENhcmwlMjBnZXQlMjBvdXQlMjBvZiUyMHRoZSUyMGdhbWUlM0YlMjBGcmFuayUyMGdpdmVzJTIwaGlzJTIwYWR2aWNlJTIwaW4lMjB0aGlzJTIwcHJldmlldyUyMG9mJTIwdG9tb3Jyb3clMjYlMjMzOSUzQnMlMjAlM0NhJTIwaHJlZiUzRCUyMmh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGdHdpdHRlci5jb20lMkZoYXNodGFnJTJGU2hhbWVsZXNzJTNGc3JjJTNEaGFzaCUyMiUzRSUyM1NoYW1lbGVzcyUzQyUyRmElM0UuJTNDYSUyMGhyZWYlM0QlMjJodHRwcyUzQSUyRiUyRnQuY28lMkZKdkdGNVpEd1V2JTIyJTNFaHR0cHMlM0ElMkYlMkZ0LmNvJTJGSnZHRjVaRHdVdiUzQyUyRmElM0UlM0MlMkZwJTNFJTI2bWRhc2glM0IlMjBTaGFtZWxlc3MlMjAlMjglNDBTSE9fU2hhbWVsZXNzJTI5JTIwJTNDYSUyMGhyZWYlM0QlMjJodHRwcyUzQSUyRiUyRnR3aXR0ZXIuY29tJTJGU0hPX1NoYW1lbGVzcyUyRnN0YXR1cyUyRjcwNjE5MjIyODc4MDEwNTcyOSUyMiUzRU1hcmNoJTIwNSUyQyUyMDIwMTYlM0MlMkZhJTNFJTNDJTJGYmxvY2txdW90ZSUzRSUyMCUzQ3NjcmlwdCUyMGFzeW5jJTIwc3JjJTNEJTIyJTJGJTJGcGxhdGZvcm0udHdpdHRlci5jb20lMkZ3aWRnZXRzLmpzJTIyJTIwY2hhcnNldCUzRCUyMnV0Zi04JTIyJTNFJTNDJTJGc2NyaXB0JTNF[/vc_raw_html][vc_column_text css_animation=””]So, lesson learned, Carl begins to strip away his blackface… leaving the gang, giving up his guns, and reconnecting with his family. And in the final, brilliantly shot, moment of blackface removal, we see a close up of Carl’s face in pain. The camera pulls back just enough to reveal the final remnants of his blackface journey – his cornrows – being removed by his big sister as he “suffers” through the pain of his final transformation back to whiteness.

Unfortunately for the “real” blacks, their drug dealing, gun selling, prison going, “ghetto black” lives will continue because they may be able to take their out their cornrows, but unlike Carl’s, their black face is permanent.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]