Little Fires Everywhere: The Intersectionality of Race, Class, and Motherhood

by: Alishia McCullough

Mia and Elena: The Dynamics Between Black and White Women

The first fire began on day one in the dynamic between Elena and Mia. Elena did what most cis hetero “well-intentioned” white women do when they feel lead to protect their whiteness- she called the cops. Yes, the very first time that Elena and Mia appear in the same scene is when she is driving through her neighborhood and sees a black woman sleeping in a car that she does not recognize. Instead of her going about her day she automatically internalizes Mia’s existence in a white neighborhood as a threat to her safety and decides to call the police. Elena did not think about the impact of this behavior because white supremacy culture often supports the notion of “Act first, Ask questions later”. Mia could have been arrested or worse killed by the police, but Elena’s privilege has allowed her to have positive associations with law enforcement. We see this play out later on in the show when Elena takes an impromptu trip to New York and falls asleep in her car, not only did the officer check in on her, but he also warned her about her “lack of safety” in the black neighborhood where her car is parked. In contrast to Elena, Mia had to prepare herself and Pearl for their interaction with the officer, she calmly tells Pearl “hands visible, honey, okay?”. White women are often the instigators while white men are typically the executioners in the oppression of black women and women of color. White women also tend to insert themselves into things that have nothing to do with them under the guise of “doing the right thing”. Elena and Mia physically meet each other when Mia and Pearl go and check out the apartment that happens to be owned by Elena and Bill. In this scene, we see how taken aback Elena is when Mia is not impressed with the apartment as she expects her to be, she downplays and insults Mia’s artistic career while trying to get Mia to open up to her about her personal life. Mia decides that the apartment is not going to work for her because she cannot rent month to month, and just as she is leaving Elena realizes that Mia is the person that she reported to the cops earlier. Instead of Elena either taking accountability for her actions, or letting Mia and Pearl go, she did what most people plagued with white guilt attempt to do. She decided that she would fix the problem by making it go away. She did not once sit with herself and question, “Why did I feel the need to displace someone in the first place”? Instead she tried to quickly cover it up and rented out an apartment to someone that she barely knew in an effort to make herself feel better and to align with the narrative that she “saved a single black mom and her daughter from experiencing homelessness”. She thinks that fake sincerity and “playing nice” is the antidote to erase the initial damage that she created in the first place.

The next time that Elena inserts herself into Mia’s life is when she comes across Mia in town, while Mia is loading things into her car. Elena comments on Mia’s night shifts and says that Mia’s work life does not allow her to spend time with her daughter. Elena is dripping with entitlement and has the audacity to comment on Mia’s quality time with Pearl. We all know that Elena is notorious for projecting her problems onto other people, which is something we see in the dynamics between black and white women as well. White women are often able to point out the “ailments” in everything that black women do, and most times those are projections of their own insecurities and areas that they feel a lack of control in their lives. Elena then assumes that Mia needs more money and asks her to be her maid. Hold up! Yes, did I mention the audacity of white women already? In this scene we can see how Mia wants to really read Elena and she does- in a nice way. Mia could have gone off on Elena and Elena would have very well deserved it, but she held back and gave her a pass. Elena’s assumption that Mia would gladly be her maid reinforces the idea that white women only see value in black women if we are doing something for them. Whether it is adding to their “diverse” reputation, taking care of them, or engaging in emotional labor as they navigate being oppressed by white men. Historically white women have internalized beliefs about black women being the caretaker dating all the way back to the “Mammy Role” during slavery. Elena is stunned that she cannot win Mia over with her money and begins to intentionally label Mia as “unpleasant” and “rude” because she cannot control the way Mia shows up for her. We see this play out in dynamics between white and black women after a black woman challenges something that the white woman does that is offensive. This typically results in an upset on the white woman’s part as she struggles to come to terms with the fact that black women are not designed for them to pick apart and choose what parts they want access to. Elena decides to vent to her husband about the dynamic and is not held accountable, instead her husband coddles her and affirms that she is a “good (white) person”.

Later, Mia decides that she will work for Elena but on her own terms, and of course Elena has a problem with that because she cannot take advantage of Mia in the way that she wants to. She expects for Mia to sing her praises for offering her a job and was not expecting Mia to deny washing her own dirty dishes. Historically it has been ingrained in white women that black women do the dirty work. We clean their houses, wash their dishes, cook their meals, and take care of their children. Elena cannot understand why Mia is not ecstatic to do all the things that her white ancestors exploited black women to do for them. Elena is upset because Mia set a boundary with her and essentially told her “No”, we can see her disappointment and disgust as she ends up washing the dishes in a later scene. This scene really speaks to the dynamics between black and white women, as white women will often want black women to do the dirty work and make them feel comfortable throughout the process. White women want black women to explain racism in a nice tone, to address white privilege but not hold them accountable, to hold them as they cry about their hardships, and soothe them as they address their predecessors’ part in our oppression. Ultimately, they want us to clean up their dirty dishes.

White women often thrive off pushing black women and other women of color into the margins. We see this occur at the book club for Vagina Monologues, Mia is not acknowledged as a person until she speaks up for Elena. Prior to her speaking up to save Elena, the room of women only saw Mia as “the help”. As “the help”, she is expected to cater to their needs and remain silent and unseen, because they do not consider her to be anyone worth recognizing. Even when Mia is speaking up and has been formally introduced by Elena, many of the women are still sitting with their backs turned towards her. Their body language is communicating that they do not want to hear what the black woman is saying, even when what she is saying is important. It reminds me of the quote that says, ““Black women will always be too loud for a world that never intended on listening to us”.

White Women and Motherhood

Cis hetero white women have a notion that the epitome of being a woman means to be a mother. We see this throughout the series and in the conversation around vagina monologues. Elena and her other cis hetero white clan criticized the vagina monologue piece prior to even reading it. The women in the book club continued to ostracize her friend Elizabeth (a now revitalized white feminist working at planned parenthood). Elena expressed extreme discomfort with even saying the word vagina. This whole scene really showed how disconnected these women truly are from their own bodies, and how they are strangers to their own anatomy. This concept of disconnection serves the patriarchy that tells women that their bodies are only designed to be desired by men. That their bodies exist to please their husbands and produce children. That women are not allowed to feel pleasure or truly have autonomy over their bodies. Throughout the conversation there was a clear message that being a woman equates with being a mother, which speaks more to their white privilege as they assume that everyone wants to be a mother, or that everyone is capable of having children that come from their bodies, and if they cannot they are shamed and deemed as a failure. It is this protected and shared mentality that cis hetero white women begin to equate the ability to biologically reproduce life to their worthiness and womaness. We see this play out with Linda McCullough as she is in constant distress about her motherhood. We have no context to who she is outside of this role of either becoming a mother or protecting her motherhood. She constantly compares herself to Elena, and both idolizes and resents Elena, meanwhile Elena’s privilege does not allow her to see the ways in which her desire to relate to Linda is doing more harm to their dynamic. Once Elena realizes that she cannot relate to Linda, she decides to use her power to control and swoop in to save Linda’s motherhood while intentionally tearing down Bebe in the process. White women will often align with each other in tearing down women of color, this helps to strengthen their white solidarity and aligns with their white feminism.

Elena also abused her white privilege when she attempted to pay off Bebe for her child. Elena had the nerve to find Bebe’s residence and thought that she would manipulate her into taking the $10,000 and disappearing. This act of paying for a human body speaks to the racism surrounding the adoption case. White America has been claiming ownership and putting a price tag on human bodies since the beginning of time. Elena did what most white women do and tried to patronize Bebe by using one of her biggest vulnerabilities against her. She was dismayed when Bebe asked her what price she would be willing to put on her own children. It is evident that Elena has distinguished herself and put herself on a pedestal and that she views Bebe as less of a person than herself. The audacity to even think that Bebe would accept the offer of commodifying her child, speaks to how disconnected Elena is from anyone but herself. Elena then moved into full defense mode and threatened Bebe prior to leaving and tearing down her character. Later, in the series she is talking to her husband Bill and begging that he hold Mia and Bebe accountable, her husband says, “People like Bebe Chow do not win”. His comment speaks to his pride in how he benefits from the system that oppresses and silences people of color.

Microaggressions

Throughout the series we see the ways in which microaggressions are the little fires that tend to add up to the big fire. Whether it is Elena asking Mia to be her housekeeper, or Elena’s participation in the fortune cookie decor for May Lings party. It is very evident that white women do not think about the impact of their “well-meaning intentions”. Mia consistently code switches to protect herself when she is around Elena. Mia is personally dealing with a lot whether it’s the trauma around losing her family and the love of her life, the fear of losing Pearl, navigating blackness in a world of white supremacy, and keeping a secret about Pearl for years. Mia has been expected to show up for everyone, but herself. She has existed on autopilot and has been doing what she needs to do to survive.

Her ability to code switch is evident in her saving Elena during the vagina monologue conversation after she found out that Elena attempted to conduct a background check on her without her consent. White women have an underlying mistrust for black women, and instead of being direct with Mia about what she was doing and why. She decided to engage in sneaky passive-aggressive behavior to get what she wanted out of Mia through other sources. Elena paid off a cop with some cookies in exchange for what she hoped would be the evidence to incriminate Mia. Elena’s ignorance around the impact of her microaggressions and her oblivion to Mia’s code switching has only added fuel to the fire. Instead of looking inward at her own behavior, Elena is determined to justify her treatment of Mia by building a case against her.

Mia holds back a lot, as most black women do because we know what happens if we respond in the ways that white women deserve. We see her having to placate Elena in order to avoid being fired, or continually targeted. When confronted with adversity white women typically double down on their abuse of power and will victimize themselves until they get what they want. We see this in the dynamic between Bebe Chow and Linda McCullough. White women often make it their duty take as much as they can from black women and women of color. This entitlement typically starts at a young age, as Mia pointed out in her conversation with Lexi post abortion “You want to know what I think? I think that my daughter skipped school to help you and you thanked her by using her name and then demanding that she take care of you. I spent two months cooking your dinners, working in your house, and you never so much as uttered a thank you, and now you want more.” Lexi proceeds to try to apologize and claims that she did not have anywhere else to go. Mia replies, “You had plenty of places to go and plenty of people who care, you have no concept of what it is like to not have anyone, don’t insult your own intelligence by pretending otherwise. When you’re done wash out your own mug — for once.”

White Fragility and White Privilege

Linda McCullough is the definition of white fragility and often uses her white tears to amplify the wholesome and naive “good white woman “persona. Her tears are her greatest weapon to take down Bebe. Linda, much like Elena is very entitled and has claimed ownership over May Ling without ever finalizing the adoption. In most scenes we see her portrayed as someone in distress and on the brink of melting down. Linda’s favorite line was, “How can someone just come in and take my child away”? I am sure we all cringed as we reflected on the many ways that the white supremacy system has taken black and brown children away from their parents. We see it embedded in American culture dating back to slavery where children were literally snatched from their mother’s wombs and sold into slavery. Linda proclaims this statement as if it is really something so improbable because she has not personally experienced this before.

She also has this “I don’t see color” standpoint when addressing race issues. We don’t have to look far to see the Linda’s in our lives, they are the type of people who adopt a child of another race but supports the child in internalizing racism. They are the people who feel as if their children are “too young” to understand their culture and they may often praise the child for wanting to identify with whiteness. Linda’s are unable to sit with their feelings of discomfort and do not want their children to identify with their culture because it means that the Linda’s do not get to control the experience.

Linda’s sense of entitlement makes her think that she has a right to determine who makes a “good” mother. She is so wrapped up in the idea of motherhood related to monetary things, and we never hear her talk in depth about her relationship with May Ling or anything about the bond that she has developed with May Ling. Throughout the show we see all of the mothers experience moments where they get frustrated, question their ability as mother’s, and overall make human mistakes. We see that Elena and Linda are often humanized in their experiences of not being perfect. However, women of color like Bebe and Mia are held to a different standard and are punished harshly for the same humanness. We see this in the scene where Bebe is desperate to feed May Ling and decides to stop in the store to pick up formula. She is 70 cent short of what she needs to purchase the formula but is not given the benefit of the doubt. In fact, she is disrespected and literally left out in the cold to starve. Later, in the show we see that Izzy is also short 70 cent for a bus ride but is given a pass without doubt or question. This dynamic is something that occurs to women of color all the time. Although in a white male dominated patriarchal society, being a women often exposes you to discrimination and sexism, it does not even begin to hit on the intersections of being both black and a woman, or being both black, queer, and a woman. This concept of intersectionality is something that white women tend to struggle with.

Perfectionism, Power, and Social Capital

White power has always been maintained by the perfectionism, power, and social capital. We can see this as Elena easily buys into every system built on white supremacy, she engages in patriarchy as we see her trying to control her thinness which we know is connected to the white beauty ideal and rooted in fatphobia and racism. We see that her value of thinness has also influenced her high school daughter as she runs through the house asking her mother to replenish the slim fast diet shakes. We see these perfectionisms around Elena’s rigidness regarding sex because everything must be planned, and she has no sense of spontaneity except when she is running off to gain information about Mia. Everything in her life must be orderly and aligned with her colored coded and labeled schedule. She has passed this value on to her children and has created a culture of “be perfect or be ostracized”. The most chilling portrayal of this is during the season finale when Lexi tells Elena about her abortion and attempts to explain how hard it is to be perfect all the time. Lexi screams, “I am not perfect”, and Elena screams back “Yes, you are’’ and slams the door in her face. Elena’s anxiety and personal issues have caused her to create this perfect persona, and when this persona is challenged, she becomes dysregulated and acts out in ways that usually hurt other people.

She is willing to step over everyone to get to the top no matter what the impact may be. This pattern has been passed down to her daughter as Lexi uses Pearls name for the abortion and uses Pearls essay to make it seem like she has experienced a hardship. Elena supports the notion of cutting corners and stepping on people to get what she wants. She even gets defensive that her daughter must write an essay describing hardship because she believes that her daughter is perfect and should be afforded opportunities without having to work for them.

Elena and her family also maximize on the few times that they supported minorities whether its having the white washed appearing Asian women at the book club to represent her commitment for diversity, having a mother that contributed to planned parenthood, or the MLK story she tells Lexi’s boyfriend every time that he comes over. These are the things that help women like Elena feel as if they are “edgy” or “down” and allows them to feel that they are exempt from racism because after all, they do not see color. Elena even attempts to explain race by saying “they are called African Americans now, not Black” in order to appear politically correct and sound racially aware. Elena and her family specialize in collecting black bodies to tokenize and escape accountability. Lexi much like her mother struggles to see Brian for anything outside of stereotypes, and arm candy. She sees Brian for what he can give her until she goes off to college and can find another Brian to fill his place. We all know a Lexi that dates black men to increase her status and give her a pass around racism. The Lexi’s that want black men to align with them in their anti-blackness towards black people and more specifically black women. Lexi wanted Brian to be okay with her using Pearl, she wanted Brian to chime in with her as she disrespected the black girl at the drive thru window. We constantly see this pattern of white women wanting people of color to engage in self-hate while valuing and uplifting whiteness. This occurs when Lexi suggests that Pearl must be mixed with white for her to be pretty. It shows up in the adoption process when the McCullough rename May Ling to Maribelle and makes assumptions about her culture by using fortune cookie decor at her birthday party. It shows up after the hearing, when Linda McCullough shares that her goal is to protect May Ling- from what though? When challenged around these topics people like Elena, Lexi, and Linda always want to focus on their intentions versus the actual impact that they are having in the lives where they are perpetuating harm.

White Savior Complex and Anti-Blackness

The white savior complex is very evident at the beginning as Elena tries to save Mia from her nightshift by offering her a job as a housekeeper. She extends this reach more when she decides to groom Pearl. We know that Elena views Pearl as a poor girl who has a mom that is absent in her life, and she feels the need to save Pearl from her life because she views Pearl as “different” from other black people.

Elena has not once sat down to understand anything about Pearl nor Elena. Elena likes Pearl because she is whitewashed and naive, and she does what most white women tend to do- she creates division amongst white washed Pearl and racially conscious Mia who she views as a threat because she cannot control her. A subtle way that she tries to affect their dynamic is undermining Mia’s boundaries by continuing to ask Pearl to call her by her first name. Most black people have heard, “I am not one of your little friends, you need to address me with respect when referring to adults”. Mia is trying to make it very clear that Elena is not Pearl’s friend, and not someone that Pearl should be getting comfortable with. Elena glosses over this correction because she is unaware of the trauma related to respectability politics and safety for black people. Another instance in which she undermines Mia is when Pearl is brought home by the police, and Mia goes into panic mode as she is concerned about the safety of Pearl. Elena and Moody think that Mia is just being overly dramatic because they have not had to live in a world where they have to identify the bodies of their children due to police brutality, instead their children are allowed to be children and are delicately delivered back home safely by the police. Elena also oversteps in Pearl’s life by volunteering to talk to the school counselor without consulting with Mia, knowing that her privilege would not be questioned in the same way that Mia’s would. Elena and her family have not had to deal with the inequity and neglect of the education system, so this favor is a charity for Elena. After engaging in these acts, Elena felt that by the end of the season that it was her place to sit down with Pearl and reveal the truth about her identity, and once again she got to spin it from her limited narrative and be the hero for Pearl. Her white savior complex and entitlement has also been passed down to her son Moody, because he thinks that he has ownership over Pearl’s romantic and sexual attraction.

Pearl is dealing with both anti-blackness and feelings of instability and loneliness. On one hand Elena and her family are a representation of stability and security, they make her feel seen and heard. On the other hand, Pearl has tried to distance herself from her identity as a black girl. Pearl, like most black girls, was taught to advocate for herself because nobody else will. We see her face discrimination from her school counselor, and how assumptions are made about her because of who she is. In a lot of ways Pearl is overworking to prove that she is not these things and distancing herself from her racial identity. Pearl takes on the role of an emotional punching bag for Lexi, and an emotional container for Elena. She is always looking to coddle and protect white emotions, often at the detriment of her own wellbeing. When Pearl first met Lexi’s boyfriend Brian, she pretended that she did not know what he was talking about and dismissed him when he tried to align with her. She is in denial about her relationship with whiteness and the pattern that white people have around viewing black experiences as a monolith.

She engaged in the same clueless behavior at the dance when Brian exposed that Lexi had stolen her essay. Brian had to say, “you know that’s not okay, right”? Instead of Pearl confronting Lexi, she begged for Lexi to stay so that she could reassure her that she was not upset. Pearl seeks comfort in whiteness because she does not realize that she is in an abusive cycle with it. Even when Lexi asked Pearl what she was mixed with, instead of her addressing the comment and saying, “I am black.” A part of her sits with the idea that she could be white which would put her closer to being like the Richardson’s and the McCullough’s. Pearl associate’s whiteness with status, power, and money. Pearl is also the model minority that white women like because she gets to make them look woke, they treat her like a pet, and they get to be comfortable because they are never challenged around this. The model minority gives them a pass to engage in microaggressions and use cultural sayings without reference to where they are getting them from in order to feel cool. We all know a Pearl in our life, their complacency and alignment with whiteness is usually the tool that silences other black people and the tool that white people use to dismantle black solidarity.

White Indebtment

Most black people and people of color know that when a white person does something for you, they usually have an ulterior motive. Whether that motive is driven by white guilt, one thing is for sure, they will always use the favor or good deed as leverage to your indebtment with them. We see this when Lexi decides to get close with Pearl after stealing her essay to use in her college application to Harvard. She decides that she wants to take Pearl out shopping, but we all know that this is an attempt to console her own guilt about appropriating Pearl’s lived experience. Oftentimes white women and girls will attempt to get close with women of color and offer some type of “charity” as an unspoken peace treaty for something they have already done or plan to do. In this case Lexi knew that Pearl did not have a lot of money and decided that she would buy her a prom dress to make amends. Buying the dress came at no value for Lexi because money is disposable for her but giving up her lived experience cost Pearl her own voice. When Pearl returns home, Mia tries to explain to her that she needs to return the dress and proceed with more caution around Lexi. Unfortunately, at the time, Pearl was too caught up in thinking that her mother was trying to punish her that she was not able to take in what she was saying and decided to keep the dress anyway.

Another piece of white indebtment shows up between Elena and Elizabeth at Planned Parenthood. Elena makes it clear that because she helped Elizabeth get the job at Planned Parenthood that she deserves to gain access to Bebe’s personal health record. Once again Elena abuses the system in order to gain information about someone without their consent. Instead of helping to lift women up, her goal is to lift white women up while tearing down and demonizing women like Bebe Chow for the choices that they make with their bodies. She feels that she has ownership over this information, to the point where she violates ethical boundaries and attempts to get the information behind Elizabeth’s back. Once again, we see the lengths that white women will go to in order to find information to incriminate women of color. In this scene, Elena comes across Lexi, I mean Pearl’s abortion paperwork. Instead of minding her business, she decides that the best thing to do is jump to conclusions and blast a teenager’s choice about what to do with her body to everyone that she encounters, without lawful consent.

Abusive White Women

The biggest takeaway in this show is how far white women will go to tear down black women and other women of color once they deem them as a threat to their power. Mia was NOT an actual threat to Elena, she could have kicked Mia out of the shaker community long ago and went about her life, but Elena made it her business to keep her hand in Mia’s life. This began when she asked Mia to be her housekeeper, friend, therapist, etc. etc. When she discovered that Mia had no interest in being any of those things for her it challenged her identity as a “good and perfect” white woman and her sense of power and control. To hold onto those identities, she decided to tear Mia down in order to lift herself up; however, she only dug herself further into the shadow side of who she really is and her own insecurities. We see the amount of insecurity and lack of control that motivated Elena to drive all the way to New York and use her ex-boyfriend just to get information on Mia. Speaking of her ex-boyfriend, he was one only man in this show that did not pacify Elena and exposed her for who she really was. He was the only person to put a name to her narcissistic patterns, self-loathing, and unhappy lifestyle. We are also presented with the fact that outside of her career and her identity as a mother, there is not much more going on for Elena, except for a life of regret. Elena is willing to play dirty to the point where she threatens to expose Mia’s personal information in court knowing that her move could be the end of Mia’s relationship with own her daughter, and when that did not work she personally made it her duty to destroy Mia and Pearl’s relationship, by telling Pearl about Mia’s earlier life decisions. Not once did Mia tell Elena about what was going on in her own household because she respects boundaries and the autonomy of other women although she might not like or agree with them. A powerful moment was when Mia addressed Elena’s judgement of Bebe’s ability to be a mother and said “you didn’t MAKE good choices, you HAD good choices! Options that being rich and white and entitled gave you.” Elena gaslights Mia and responds, “that’s the difference between you and me I would never make it about race.” Mia responds, Elena you made this about race when you stood in the street and begged me to be your maid”. Elena attempts to get sympathy from Mia by saying that she thought they were friends. Mia hit the nail on the head when she said, “white women always want to be friends with their maid, I was not your maid Elena, and I was never your friend!”. A lot of us had to pause and rewind the scene when she read Elena. As she explained, White women try to paint themselves out as being trustworthy, but do not want to engage in the work to build the trust necessary for a genuine relationship with black women and women of color. They do not want to take accountability and repair the damage they cause, instead they want to quickly get close to black women and women of color to demand that we deal with their emotional labor around white fragility, while dodging their microaggressions and being exposed to more racial trauma.

Izzy and White Privilege: Having a Marginalized Identity does not Excuse You from Racism

Little Fires Everywhere does a good job of covering the intersection of being both white and holding another marginalized identity. We see this with Izzy and can certainly acknowledge that she has a hard life existing in a family that does not accept her and actively participates in disappearance. We know that it is hard for Izzy to exist in this cis hetero white woman household, while also experiencing isolation from her family for addressing their toxicity. It is also very evident that she fears for her safely at school, and cannot count on anyone to support her, not even her father who is very complacent in her experience of oppression. Izzy is the white ally, and this show explores the nuance of what it means to be an ally. Izzy is not perfect and did not arrive at anti-racism anywhere within this show. We see her learning and constantly unlearning. We see her challenging whiteness and then being challenged by Mia. This shows up in the conversation that Mia has with Izzy after Izzy uses dolls to represent the value that the McCullough’s and other white people put on the bodies of children of color versus white children. Mia holds her accountable and says, “The Blackface was problematic, you are a white girl dressing white dolls in blackface”. Izzy says it was not about that and explains that her intention was to call out white supremacy. Mia responds, “but you are a part of Shaker, this place made you and you are not an exception because you want to be”. We see Izzy immediately shut down and begin to express her white fragility, Mia uses that moment to explain that while she has experienced discrimination and mistreatment, and does not identify with the white people around her, that it does not excuse her from her privilege as someone with white skin. Again, Izzy will get a pass for being short 70 cent based on her outward appearance because the world will see her skin before they see anything else about her, but for May Ling and Mia their skin is the first thing that people see before they know anything about them.

Closing Thoughts

Little Fires Everywhere has brought up a lot of conversation from all sides of the spectrum. I think that it gained much popularity because while it was set in the 90s, a lot of the racial dynamics are very present today. Especially in conversations about dynamics of power and privilege between black women with a sense of racial consciousness and liberal/progressive white women. Race plays a key role in these dynamics while class and motherhood are often the other intersections that are simultaneously playing out in these dynamics as well. I think that this show exemplifies the many layers that exist in the human experience, along with the many intersections that make that experience unique to every person and community. I am sure that we can see parts of ourselves in the characters or relate to certain themes in the show. It is my hope that we can truly look at those uncanny parts of ourselves and be more honest about how we show up in relation to each other, so that we are developing more genuine relationships with each other, even if it means coming to terms with parts of ourselves that we are uncomfortable with, or feel shame around.

Hello, my name is Alishia McCullough (she, her, hers) and I am a millennial Licensed Clinical Mental Health Therapist and National Certified Counselor