Complicating Racial Lines

In “Across Racial Lines” Nelson George explains the profundity of The Wire individual and systemic analysis. The Wire dismantles monolithic and unitary articulations of historicized black tropes and archetypes by complicating character representations and nuancing character construction. George goes on to cite that the show is written by a predominantly white male writing staff, yet is able to represent complicated portrayals of African-American life. Nelson goes on to contend that despite the phenomenal acting of the African-American actors and the ephemeral existence of a show that articulates African-American complexities, The Wire did not receive much acclaim amongst African-American constituents and did not receive acknowledgement at the NAACP awards.

While I agree with Nelson on The Wire’s complicated elucidation of African-American constituents I incite criticism of the show’s construction, its space of representation, and history. The Wire takes place within the Baltimore, Maryland locale. More specifically the show transpires within an economically desolate and morally conflictive space. The affluent space and constituents of Baltimore are absent from The Wire’s representation. Although white constituents are exposited within the dock institution their character construction does not coalesce with the historicized ascription of whiteness. Their bodies are reconfigured within The Wire’s context, which although contains different representations of blackness, forefronts impoverished African-Americans within a specific locale of Baltimore, Maryland. It is imperative to interrogate The Wire’s construction because The Wire performs a particular work. It does not destabilize all historic archetypes of blackness, and by its reification of systemic inevitably it reinscribes perpetual black criminal participation within the city.

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