ABSTRACT

This article explores Obama-era whiteness by examining two television shows of the period: Comedy Central’s Key & Peele (2012–15) and ABC’s Black-ish (2014–22). Focusing my analysis on the sketch “Apologies” from Key & Peele and select scenes from two Black-ish episodes, I analyze the relationship between whiteness and postraciality as well as the consequences this relationship has on Black subjectivity today. I argue that in the postracial era, liberal white people have remained complicit in white supremacy through a fear of being labeled racist. Both shows suggest that overt racists and liberal whites alike partake in white supremacy, making it crucial to talk about how whiteness functions. By fostering conversations about race, both shows work against the US’s entwinement with white supremacy.

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