For my analytical essay I will be focusing on the Netflix show “Grand Army” and the issues with performative activism and the consequences of it in a heightened racial culture. In the Netflix original, “Grand Army”, performative allyship and real activism are represented in two protagonists, Joey and Dom, as audiences dive into a sea of internalized racism and sexism. In my essay, I hope to use the context of BLM and ALM to differentiate the difference between these two characters and their intentions behind their actions. Intention clues us into the true meaning of a person’s beliefs. For example, the performative allyship Joey represents is only used for issues that she can gain attention from and ultimately benefit her for “being a part of the moment” compared to when Dom doesn’t seek validation of her actions when she speaks on problems that affect her everyday life. Dom’s actions are authentic and don’t always give her the response she wanted because she is fighting for something bigger than herself. I initially watched this show out of pure interest. I heard that it was supposed to be a cross between Degrassi and Euphoria, similar shows that use teenagers in high school to display social issues, but compared to those shows Grand Army is racially focused and reflects how racial tensions and confusions are translated into a high school environment.
I came up with the thesis by referencing Tik Toks made by young adults in reaction. One girl was giving her opinion on the show on how Joey was her least favorite character because people were distracted by her actions and opinions to not realize that they were all ingenuine. This analysis made me reflect on how I viewed Joey in the show and if her actions truly deserved any praise. Most people who view her character see her as attractive, powerful, and outspoken at first glance. However, it can be easy to ignore the smaller microaggressions by disguising them with “activism”and it is important to teach viewers how to remove the illusion Joey presents. Dom acts as an opposition because her character is inherently selfless. Her every action is done with the idea of someone benefiting in the long run including her family, friends, and community. She is the image of a “strong black woman”. I plan to explore my statement by rewatching scenes of both Joey and Dom and how they respond to social issues and tying into their character.