The Daily Evergreen

“Modern Family” encourages political correctness

DANIEL ANDERSON | Evergreen movie columnist

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The ABC award-winning sitcom “Modern Family” made television history last Wednesday for featuring the first openly transgender child actor.

The episode titled “A Stereotypical Day” presents parents Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) teaching their daughter Lilly (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) inclusiveness after a playdate with her transgender friend Tom, played by 8-year old transgender actor Jackson Millarker.

The parents are initially proud for raising an open-minded daughter, but the playdate takes a turn for the worst when Lilly insults Tom, calling him a “weirdo.”

The episode is soft-spoken when voicing its message. Tom only said eight words and wasn’t even on screen for longer than a minute.

Jackson’s role wasn’t to be a teacher to audiences, but rather allow for an introspective reflection to occur.

Ed O’Neill’s character, Jay, poses a question to Cameron and Mitchell about their daughter: “If some day Lilly wanted to be Lou and had the whole chop-chop, bing-bang thing, how would you be with that?”

Cameron essentially replies they would love their child no matter what. Mitch, however, says he would need some time to adjust to the new discourse for their lives. Jay quickly responds with: “Well that’s interesting, because the minute it took me to accept the fact that my son was living a different kind of life than the one I was accepting, Mitchell called me an old, straight, white bigot. And now you’re just like me.”

The conversation among the three of them highlights the idea that nobody is perfect. Cam and Mitchell even question themselves as not being as accepting as they thought they were, but Jay points out that there can be a little bit of prejudice in everyone.

Jay even has his own worries in the episode, as he does not want to come across as racist to the African-American family moving in across the street.

The two adjacent storylines gave an endearing message of how identity conflicts can sometimes be misunderstandings from each side.

In a time of political correctness, it can be frustrating for people to try and be politically correct in every instance. More often than not, someone, no matter how hard you try, might be possibly offended by something you said.

I want to encourage as much open-mindedness and acceptance as I can, and this episode can be a helpful reminder that all it takes is effort, motivation and discussion to understand where the other person is coming from.

“Modern Family” has always done well in living up to their name. The whole premise of the show is three everyday families and the trials they go through in their life. They have addressed topics like same sex couples, race, age, sex, adoption and much more.

It is a blessing to have a show like “Modern Family” that is making small steps with each episode to bring up common and real issues in our society, especially the notion of transgender people in entertainment.

Jeffrey Tambor, lead on Amazon’s hit show, “Transparent” made a moving speech during his recent Emmy win saying “I would not be unhappy if I were the last cisgender male to play a female transgender on television.”

Tambor’s words mirror the desires of some of the transgender community. Actor and director Mark Ruffalo received plentiful backlash from the transgender community when he cast cisgender actor Matt Bomer to play a transgender character in the upcoming movie, “Anything.”

Ruffalo stated that he suggested Bomer for the role because of his talent. Ruffalo did issue an apology on his Twitter writing, “To the Trans community. I hear you. It’s wrenching to see you in this pain. I am glad we are having this conversation. It’s time.”

While Ruffalo does have a point about talent being a crucial aspect for the entertainment industry, I concur with Tambor about giving Transgender talent a chance. Hopefully someday they will also be able to play a diverse range of roles, but for now, the entertainment industry just needs to keep its door and their minds open.

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“Modern Family” encourages political correctness