Why 'Mad Men' Doesn't Care About Black People

Sure, it's the 1960s—but the AMC hit gives the tough debates of the civil rights era the short end of the stick.

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When Don replies: "I don't hate you," Rachel fires back, "No, individuals are wonderful."

Don’s wife, Betty, deepens our understanding of the anti-Semitism of the period when she tells Don about her first kiss with a Jewish boy named David Rosenberg. Classmates treated her differently once they found out about this kiss, she says, and then mentions how the Jewish girls in her class dyed their hair blonde when they got older.

In Season 2, the carefully constructed façades start to crack. Betty kicks Don out of the house, and then sleeps with a stranger she meets in a bar. Her friends have affairs, get divorced. Joan, the office sexpot, gets raped by her “perfect” fiancé. Peggy gets her own office. Salvatore, the closeted gay man, has his first gay encounter. The white patriarchy is breaking apart, the rush of the ’60s are upon us. But the black characters are still trapped in a romantic haze of noble, silent suffering.

 

Latoya Peterson is a hip-hop feminist and the editrix of Racialicious.com.

Latoya Peterson is a hip-hop feminist and the editrix of Racialicious.com.

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