If you haven’t watched Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist, you are missing a very cute feel good show with lots of great singing, acting, and busting of moves. There is a common storyline, but it is told with characters breaking into song to express their inner feelings, but only Zoe can hear them. We’ve been binging on it off and on over the past few months.
This evening we watch a couple of episodes. The first was about Zoe letting loose a bit with a friend. It was a pretty good PDA about just saying no to drugs.
The second episode was most powerful. As we watched, the topic of the show kind of snuck up on us. There was a hint of things to come, then the topic was right in our faces, but not in a slap in the face kind of way.
Without giving too much away, there was a software glitch that was preventing one of the SPARQPoint products having a facial recognition issue for people of color. The company spokesman, a Black man, was told to call a press conference to say the issue was found and being addressed.
Needless to say, the press conference did not go as planned. Simon, the spokesman, laid it out how the software was like the company when it comes to people of color.
The rest of the show was about how white people, even when well meaning, have no clue of how to handle issues of racism in the workplace, and how Boards of Directors, usually made of older white men with a smattering of women, are ignorant of the issue, and when they become aware, go to the tried and true playbook of donating money to organizations of color or who help people of color, before looking inward to make changes.
It also showed how white people, as friends and supervisors, make mistakes, some out of ignorance, others out of naïveté, and others out of attempting to be color blind towards people of color.
Throughout the show, as a middle-aged white guy, I could see myself in many of the scenarios. Thankfully, I could also see what several characters were doing oh so wrong.
What was most interesting, and sad, about the episode is how accurate it was in how companies, and society as a whole, are doing so poorly when it comes to recognizing racism, and then in addressing it in an appropriate manner.
An example of this was when a character was called a slum dog (as in Slum Dog Millionaire). One of the main characters calls the person called the slum dog into her office to see how he is feeling, an appropriate check-in. However, she never calls the person who called him a slum dog into her office to say how inappropriate he acted, not to do it again, and how he might make amends.
In the end, the stand was rewarded with change, which sadly, is definitely more fiction than fact. All the characters of color also came together to celebrate the victory, even knowing it was but a drop in the bucket of what is needed.
After it ended, I began to think of the people of color in my office. Sadly there are very few in our department. I also thought a lot about one of my coworkers and staff member. I want to meet with them and ask about their experience in the office. Is it welcoming? Are they treated well and professionally? A check-in of sorts. After hearing what they have to say, trying to make any necessary changes based on what is discussed.
Although not as gut-level wrenching as Roots, Moonlight, or The Hate U Give, it is still an excellent episode to watch. After, it is also a good episode to reflect and ponder upon.
I hope you take a moment to find it streaming on Peacock. Let me know what your thoughts.