How Doom Patrol Discusses Black Issues While The Umbrella Academy Aimlessly Highlights Them

by Shaye Wyllie
Doom Patrol Vs The Umbrella Academy

This morning I had two people I thought were mentors call me a “lazy critic” because they assumed I didn’t watch the entire second season of The Umbrella Academy after I posted my review of Season 2 this morning.

Even though my review mentions I watched the entire thing. *pauses for dramatic effect*

Maybe it’s the fact that my post was titled, “If You Don’t Say ‘Season 2 Of The Umbrella Academy Was Great, Minus The Racism’ I’m Judging You” and they felt some type of way. *shrugs in confuzzlement*

At this very moment, I’m not sure because I’m still too mad to read the rest of their comments or private Facebook messages that were sent a few moments ago.

Because I’ll be honest, if there’s a private apology in those messages and that same apology wasn’t posted on this damn Facebook thread, where they openly called me a lazy critic, it’s going to send me down another hellish rabbit hole that I’m just not interested in revisiting right now.

I just took a cold shower in an attempt to calm down, because after struggling all weekend to keep it together for personal reasons, this shit really pissed me off.

These are women who supposedly took me under their wing last year, spoke highly of my writing abilities, and told me how they couldn’t wait for me to blow up because I was amazing.

When I wrote about how trash Playing With Fire was, they both laughed and agreed. But as soon as my opinion differed from what they’re probably used to, I became a “lazy critic”.

So before I get into my Doom Patrol vs The Umbrella Academy post (which you’re more than welcomed to skip this part and just jump to that comparison below if you’re not interested in my backstory) …

Please note that I’ve NEVER called myself a critic. I have no technical knowledge of films, which I hate and honestly, it’s something that bothers me every now and then. I wrote about this a while back. (Although I can’t seem to find the fudging post. Whatever!)

But growing up I wasn’t allowed to watch certain movies or tv shows. I wasn’t allowed to read certain books, or dance, or sing. (All things that I now realize are things I absolutely love.) So eventually I let it all go and stopped trying. I got tired of being screamed at for liking what I liked or being made fun of when I sang, so I let them all go!

Now I’m spending my 20’s struggling to find myself. I mean … I watched my pops give props to my daughter’s father when he mentioned he was trying to enter the music career, while vividly remembering how he wouldn’t even let me listen to music myself.

So there’s a lot that needs to be undone.

However, with knowing this, I’m still actively trying to learn. When I watch movies and tv shows, I try to pay attention to what really sticks out to me and why. I still can’t really voice my why yet, which I think is partly because of my lack of technical knowledge, so I’m on the search for a few books that will help.

With that said … because of all of the above, I always thought that what I did didn’t fit the “critic” bill. So I’ve never called myself that. 

It’s actually taken a LOT of encouragement from my coaches Brandi and Amiyrah, and friend Tanay for me to even consider myself as an Entertainment Writer.

Sometimes “blogger” seems to fit my writing style better, but Buzzfeed and Refinery29 writers aren’t called bloggers! And them folks make fun quizzes for a living!

So yeah … I don’t pretend to be this know it all critic. I write what I feel and that’s simply it.

But that long ass story brings me to why you’re really here …

How Doom Patrol Discusses Black Issues While The Umbrella Academy Aimlessly Highlights Them

On Facebook, I mentioned that I think Doom Patrol does a way better job than The Umbrella Academy when it comes to discussing Black issues.

The excuse this morning was that The Umbrella Academy DID discuss and combat racism, but honestly they didn’t. All they really did was highlight a few situations that we already knew happened.

They highlighted, not discussed.

You see The Umbrella Academy showed us what it was like to be Black in the ’60s. Which is great … if you’re white. But seeing as how things were still segregated then, reminding us that Black folks weren’t allowed in some restaurants, or allowed to try on clothes while shopping, isn’t really something to be proud of.

There weren’t any scenes of white folks standing up for their fellow neighbors, or speaking up for what they thought was wrong.

Which of course, at that time, maybe there weren’t too many white folks who did think it was wrong. However, watching racism isn’t something I enjoy doing in my past time, and without a scene to combat the actual issue, and remind us that racism IS wrong, all we’re left with is a series that highlighted racism.

And that’s okay!

If Season 2 doesn’t sicken you and make you cringe, then that’s okay. I don’t watch horror movies, and I barely watch thrillers, so clearly it’s just me and my weak stomach that isn’t able to watch certain topics playout before me.

But where The Umbrella Academy just highlights our issues, Black issues, and uses them as apart of their storyline, without so much as an afterthought of the audience that may have to endure it.

Doom Patrol discusses Black issues and really dives in to make sure it’s audience fully understands why certain things aren’t okay.

For instance, in Season 2 Episode 2, there’s a scene where Cyborg and a lady are out on a date, and at the end of their date, they go their separate ways. However, right before Cyborg fully leaves the street they’re on, some kid snatches his dates purse! Being the war vet that she is, she’s able to take down the thief herself, but being the “superhero” Cyborg is, he immediately runs over and tries to help.

He also does what he normally does when there’s a crime, and calls for the cops. But his date then challenges him to see the situation differently and asks him to let the kid go.

She then goes into quite the speech about how calling the cops on this kid could potentially ruin the rest of his life.

See the kid that snatched her purse was Black, and as she mentions to Cyborg, Black kids are punished more harshly for small crimes than White kids. She had no intentions of pressing charges but knew that if the cops came, things could go sideways quickly.

And the entire time the kid is just looking at them going back and forth, while he waits to find out if he can leave.

Cyborg’s date then mentions that pardoning this kid today could eventually set him on the right path. And she’s not wrong.

I’ve seen lots of kids come into my office with an attitude and leave with a different perspective because they weren’t punished but actually talked to instead.

Kids who often get in trouble eventually stop caring and continue to do what’s wrong.

But kids who are given a chance, as many chances as that may take sometimes, are eventually set on the right path.

They eventually let the kid go before the cops come, and my heart fills with glee.

You see, while Doom Patrol doesn’t talk about racism, it does talk about other issues that affect the Black community since there’s a Black character amongst the crew.

And to me, they do a much better job discussing these issues. Just because Allison was “apart of the movement” doesn’t mean The Umbrella Academy discussed racism.

All they really did was highlight what it was like to be Black during that time. They never once stopped to really dive into the issues or why it wasn’t okay.

But Doom Patrol my friends, not only highlighted a Black issue they also took the time to gracefully explain to us why it wasn’t okay! They basically paused their entire show and sat us down and had a one on one conversation with us about how Black kids aren’t treated fairly and have their entire lives ruined from small mistakes.

That scene didn’t have to be in there, but it WAS! And that made me love this show even more. So if you haven’t watched Season 2 of Doom Patrol yet, or even Season 1, please go check it out on HBO Max.

Oh and if you don’t think a kid snatching a purse, is small, or a mistake, then you’re also part of the problem. Because white kids make these mistakes all the time, and that’s exactly what they’re referred to as … mistakes.

Also, kids don’t snatch purses for fun, maybe adults that are sadistic do, but kids usually end up down that path due to hardship, or they were taught to act this way. So yeah, kids can learn from these mistakes without having to spend the next 20 years in jail!

Point is, Doom Patrol does a much better job discussing Black issues than The Umbrella Academy does! And I’m seriously disappointed in the new Season of The Umbrella Academy.

If you haven’t read my review of The Umbrella Academy yet, click here.

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