I’ve been watching vanilla Law and Order on Netflix. Season 1 – Season 2 – we’re talking 1990-1991. I’ve noticed a few things as I’ve been sort of following along with the show. I typically have the show playing while doing other things in the same room.

More than once a character has said “…in this economy….” and I realized I was forgetting I was watching a show from over 20 years ago. The economy seems to always be crappy, at least for everyman.

In one of the episodes that played today, there was an Asian girl crying because she was called a kike but I didn’t blink. Even though I’ve never used this racial slur and can’t remember the last time I heard it, I still didn’t blink. How has television media affected the prevalence of racism?

In general, the overt sexism and racism are not as rampant as I was expecting. The episodes concerning rape were not as bad as I expected. For example, one of the Detectives did have lines to support the victim and speak against victim blaming. Covert sexism and racism is definitely here. I don’t remember seeing a judge that was not white and male and all the other lawyers have been white. There was a Jewish lawyer once but that was just because it was an episode with a Jewish victim and offender. I suspect that the women who were lawyers at this point are overrepresented. Also, the only black man I can remember seeing in a position of power is the “token black man” in the D.A.’s office. The discussions that happen in the end of the show that are part of the formula are always among men despite the topics of said conversation often being relevant to anyone.

What I’ve noticed more is the abuse of power and privilege as well some ableism sprinkled in. There has been plenty of times where one of the lead characters (the white Detectives) push around another person – who might be guilty – just because they are cops and can do so. The (white males) from the D.A.’s office never expect to not get what they want either.

Finally, I cannot remember seeing any character in a wheelchair or otherwise showing as obviously disabled. <sarcasm> I guess New York City had a lot of healthy people. <sarcasm end>