Zeroth has come through with one of his most powerful analyses of a Supernatural episode to date. See, this is why I don’t mind the bad ones: he makes something good out of them!
Yeah, this is Racist Ghost Truck. Not one of our favorites, although it has its good points (even some great moments!). Zeroth shows us where it really falls down.
Content note for racism and white supremacy.
To me, there are three levels of power wielded in white supremacy.
- Overt. Death or injury.
- Exclusion or limiting access.
This episode presents the first level of power – physical injury and death. There’s a burned down church. There’s regular lynch mobs.
But what this episode does not represent, and what I feel compromised the quality of the story is the way power is exercised through process. Everyone, including a joe-schmo fisherman, knew what was going on and who did it. The sheriff and the deputies all had to participate in covering this up so the murderer was never held accountable for his crimes. The mayor had to support the sheriff’s department in this. At least part of the city council had to be complicit as well.
And finally, an electorate that kept that mayor and city council in power, likely through excluding the black population from the vote through intimidation. (Exclusion or limiting access!)
It is narratively easy to create a single figure responsible for an awful situation and everyone is scared and goes along with them. But it is lazy.
The sheriff and the deputies and the mayor and the city council all benefited from this arrangement. The exclusion of black people from the vote through the intimidation levied by the antagonist here kept them in power for decades. Power is itself a reward for participation in a system of supremacy, in allowing process and overt and exclusionary power work against part of the population.
None of them are held accountable in this plot…
And yes, I promise, I’ll be coming through with my own analyses soon. Finally. I’ll probably eventually revisit some of the earlier episodes, but I can guarantee that upcoming episodes have plenty of stuff I want to talk about. You won’t be able to get me to shut up when we hit Episode 15, I guarantee it.