By Olivia Feliz
Art by Ella Benitone
Netflix’s new show “Ginny & Georgia”' is facing backlash for a scene in which two characters fight over the stereotypes they encounter as biracial teenagers. However as a biracial teenager, myself, I refuse to participate in this backlash.
The show follows the mother-daughter duo Georgia and Ginny as they move to a new small town. The series’ light-hearted comedic feel is slowly taken over by secrets, drama, and murder. Among the show’s many subplots is Ginny’s struggle with racial identity as a Black biracial 15-year-old.
In the eighth episode, there is an argument between Ginny and her boyfriend Hunter who is half white and half Taiwanese. The fight becomes a competition comparing which mixed race kid endures the most racism. The scene is hard to watch as it gets more cringy with every retort.
“You are closer to white than I’ll ever be,” Ginny says. “Together we make a whole white person,” Hunter replies. Ginny then says, “Your favorite food is cheeseburgers, and I know more Mandarin than you do, you’re barely even Asian.” Hunter responses, “Sorry I’m not Chinese enough for you. But I’ve never seen you pound back jerk chicken. Last time I checked Brody [a close friend] twerks better than you. And I liked your poem, but your bars could use a little more work, homie. So really, how black are you then?”
The writing is so terrible that the conversation feels like a joke. It makes the described experiences, which are relatable to many multiracial kids seem trivial. The argument gives people who know nothing about mixed race life an embarrassing and awful first impression.
The actress who plays Ginny, Antonia Gentry, said in an interview that the scene came from co-star Mason Temple (Hunter) and her own experiences as mixed-race people. But, these experiences are added onto larger character arcs with little explanation. Neither characters’ storyline has developed enough for this conversation to make any sense. The argument feels like a copout for the creators to use a little authenticity to cover up bad writing.
“Ginny & Georgia” is receiving more press about this scene than everything the show accurately represents about being biracial.
For example, as Ginny arrives at her new predominantly white high school, she is bombarded with the common parade of microaggressions. Her first day, students ask, “You’re so exotic …what are you?” and another says, “I’m going to marry a Black man so I can have adorable little mixed babies.” Every multiracial person has experienced similar comments, and just like Ginny, they brush them off with a smile. There are many similar scenes where Ginny tries her best to fit in but never feels accepted because of her ethnicity.
“Ginny & Georgia” is one of the few shows ever to have a biracial lead openly sharing what life is like as a mixed teenager in a series that is not just about race. It is refreshing and makes biracial teens feel represented in an honest way. Letting the “Ginny & Georgia” media presence be ruled by one bad scene is an unfair representation of the show and is keeping its actual takes on biracial life hidden.
When asked what it meant to play Ginny, Antonia Gentry said, “There wasn’t really a precedent set for the biracial experience... it’s not uncommon, but we never really have a platform to speak from, because it’s such a unique experience. To be given that platform was an amazing thing that I’ll always cherish [and] never take for granted.”
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