Mad Men Mocks Identity Politics Through Awkward ‘Caring’ Racism
AMC’s “Mad Men,” known for pushing the bounds of decency, nevertheless successfully mocked the disturbing racism of the left. In last night’s episode, the show focused on the tragic assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
Nevertheless, when the office goes out of its way to cater to a black lady on the following day, this “concern” becomes both hilarious and sad. When Dawn Chambers (Teyonah Parris) comes in late, she immediately apologizes, asking, “would you like coffee?” The main character, Don Draper (Jon Hamm), replies, “I’m just glad you’re okay. I don’t think you should work today.”
Both Don and Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) dote over Dawn, expecting that – since she’s black – she must be heartbroken.
On the other hand, Dawn offers, “if you’re gonna stay, I’ll stay.” When Don says, “no, you go,” she insists – “I’d really rather be here today.”
Joan gives her a well-meaning, but very awkward and unreturned, hug. “We’re all so sorry.” Dawn looks at her blankly, clearly more interested in work.
While funny to watch, this patronizing concern – for a woman who clearly doesn’t need it – encapsulates the sad identity politics on today’s left. The assumption that the murder of King would mean more to Dawn than others, and that she may need to leave work over the death of a man she doesn’t personally know is condescending bigotry.