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The FX Network’s critically acclaimed show Atlanta is a juggernaut of raw emotion.

Tuesday’s episode took on a pivotal message in reference to racial inequality in America today. The scene details the hypocrisy in valuing the sanctity of animals over human life.

When Darius, arguably the most riveting character in the series, appears halfway into the episode, he’s seen carrying around a poster encased in a cardboard tube. He arrives at a shooting range, casually unravels the poster, attaches it to the target post, and begins practice.

The camera pans to reveal a dog outline as the target instead of the default human image found at most shooting ranges. It’s also important to note he’s the only Black person at the shooting range.

This is what Darius does–he lives in this world, but on his own terms. Darius is free.

“What do you think you’re doing?” another man asks in a thick southern drawl, clearly outraged.

Darius responds that where he’s from, the dogs are “crazy.”

“You can’t shoot a dog!” the man laments.

But it’s Darius’ response that tore me to pieces: “Well, why would I shoot at a human target?”

Many compare Atlanta to Twin-Peaks, but it lives in its own lane–forcing us to laugh, definitely ponder, and sometimes well over with emotion at the sobering nuances of life for millions of young Black Americans.

For 30 minutes, the audience rides the wave of show-runner Donald Glover’s comedic wit. It’s amazing what the show accomplishes in a short period, capturing the doubts, fears, small victories, and defeats of life lived in a Black body.

On Wednesday, we woke up to another police shooting, claiming the life of another Black man named Alfred Olango. The story is convoluted with different eyewitness accounts, along with a separate narrative by the police. Was he unarmed? Was he compliant? There are reports that Olango was disabled and in distress at the time of the shooting.

What remains irreversible is that Olango is dead. Another family in grief, another community ravaged. And sadly, even after police release the footage, “justice” will be difficult to measure.

There’s a fictional scene in the movie Fruitvale Station detailing the last days of Oscar Grant. Grant’s character finds a stray dog gasping for breath after a hit and run accident. In the scene, Grant and the dog become one–both will later die on the pavement. Will anyone help? Does anyone care? The scene begs the question.

Today, an animal’s life is valued over human life. There’s fierce advocacy for animal equality, but silence when it comes to the countless police shootings involving Black men and women in this country. Shootings where there are bodies left sprawled out for examination and visual consumption–like a dead dog lying in the street.



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‘Atlanta’ Takes On The Value Of Human Life In Stirring Shooting Scene  was originally published on