[Thisstorywithpoilersoftheepisode"PersonalJesus"byABC Gray & # 39; s Anatomy .]
ABC Gray & # 39; s Anatomy continues to use its platform for social change.  As her domestic violence story ends – and a week after changing the image of trans characters on television – the veteran medical drama used Thursday's episode to explore the unconscious bias after police shot a black child of 12 years named Eric.
It turned out that the young man was trying to enter his house after forgetting his keys. Upon reaching his cell phone, the police shoot the child in the neck, thinking he was a black child in a wealthy neighborhood with a gun.
"It became very clear to me when I am raising my 4 years old old black son that he will have different experiences in life no matter how much I am in a high socio-economic part of society, no matter what school he is in or who his friends, he will still be seen as a black and white child "The episode writer Zoanne Clack The Hollywood Reporter .
Clack, a former emergency physician who started on Gray's as a writer on the second episode of the program ( ever ), saw the episode as an opportunity to explore the conversation you have with your child when they pass the police on the road, and do so openly, a change from how the veteran Shonda The drama produced by Rhimes has explored the subject in the past.
"In Gray & # 39; s  05] we have been portraying groups that are not white from a very good perspective and trying to change the basic attitude of unconscious bias, but enter and talk about it from such a direct way was a brilliant opportunity, "he says.
During the episode, Jackson (Jesse Williams) becomes one of the first doctors to attend to Eric after an angry Ben (Jason George) takes him to the emergency room. Jackson is there when the family of the upper class of the child arrives. Instantly he is offended when the police call the child "perp" and the wife to the bed. "Your co-worker shot a child in the neck for no reason, you need to find a new way to do your job," he says, before sharing a deeply personal story with his ex-wife April (Sarah Drew). Jackson then explains that he grew up in a wealthy neighborhood and was constantly stopped. what the police thought was in the wrong place, and at one point they searched him just because he was carrying a stereo at home.
Realizing that Eric has a similar experience: "They took their childhood today, it's never going to be the same," he tells April: Jackson is one of the most affected When the young man dies, "You see the color of the skin," he tells the police, "Bias is human, you are using guns and your inclination is lethal, adjust your protocol, fix it, the children are dying, this boy is dead, So many people who look like him are dying, what for ?! "
That leads deeply religious April to tear down an officer who demands a statement from her." A little boy was at home when his mate shot him and killed him You can not shoot people just because you're afraid How am I supposed to have faith in a system like that? "he says.
To hear the interpreter Krista Vernoff tell it, the idea of this episode was to send April to "a crisis of faith", after she learns Jackson's experience and sees unconscious bias first hand. That happens during an episode in which April also sees the perfect life that her ex-fiance Matthew (Justin Bruening) has built herself when she returns to the hospital with her pregnant wife (who dies not long after giving birth).
Eric's character, as it turns out, was named after Eric Garner, the New York man who was arrested for allegedly selling cigarettes and died when police used a choke to hold him. Garner repeated "I can not breathe" 11 times during the process. His death helped galvanize the Black Lives Matter movement.
"It's an amalgam of stories that came out in the media and personal experiences of the writers room and our actors," Clack says of the ryline, which Williams immediately wanted to participate in. "I spoke with a couple of people [in Gray ] to merge the stories and give them the reality they needed to have the impact I hope they have."
Ben, now training to be a firefighter while George moves to the next Gray spinoff Station 19 reserved the episode in a powerful scene with his wife, Bailey (Chandra Wilson) and your teenage son, Tuck. The scene showed the couple giving Tuck "the talk": what he would say and how he would respond physically if the police ever stopped him.
"I'm William George Bailey Johnson, I'm 13 years old and has nothing to hurt him," he repeated as his parents explained that he should never respond to the police or make any sudden movements. "Their only goal is to get home safely," they say, as they instruct their son not to sign or write anything, wait for a father and never open his mouth, even if his white friends are. . "You can not climb the windows, throw stones, play with toy guns and never run," says Ben while Bailey emphasizes his point: "Everything we are saying, we say it because we want you to do it." go home and grow up to be whatever you want to be. "
For Vernoff, who worked in the first seven seasons of Gray's before returning as a showrunner for season 14, the scene between Ben and Bailey was the one that had stayed with her most among all her work on the show.
"I do not think there is a single scene that has had more personal and professional impact than when Tuck puts his hands on his head and has to practice he will say when he is stopped by the police, "Vernoff says through tears." My understanding of our fundamental differences and privileges has changed. That I do not have to have that conversation with my son and Zoanne and a respected and beloved couple like Bailey and Ben have to have that with their "It's devastating, and it has made my understanding and empathy for parents go through that's why it's much more real, my hope with this episode is that we can help change that, Zoanne told me repeatedly in the process [of writing this episode] that she wanted to talk about unconscious bias as the fact that it exists and that it is modifiable. it exists and we stop denying that it exists, there are methodologies to change this. "
For Clack, who has seen her share unconscious bias and bullet wounds in the emergency room during her medical career, incorporating the scene of Ben and Bailey with Tuck was important, and something she launched from the beginning. "I've always known that I have to give that talk to my son and it's part of my life," says Clack, who turned to the personal experience of the scene. "My son is adopted and I went to an adoption camp where there were several multicultural adoptions.There is a lot of tension between black and white families, although it is not evident.The moment we got together was during the teachings about having talk and white families have to experience what they thought they would never have to experience because it was not in their experience and they were not as aware as they should have been about what their black son is going in. To think that the talk would be something so that Ben and Bailey would be going through, too, as doctors, you're higher up in the social stratum and you're not thinking you're on the hood or in circumstances where there are cops with guns that can be against you, being on the road, driving in black and walking in black can be a problem, that was a turning point for me and something that needed to be addressed. "
Vernoff said he wanted to drive his house the scene is important and he chose to air it without any music behind it. Both she and Clack emphasized that consciousness is the key to changing the unconscious bias.
"As long as I sit there and do not know it, it will continue to air," says Clack, as he credits Vernoff with empowering writers to lean on current issues. "It's not something you can blame, it's society, black men are more often portrayed as criminals in the news and in the media, it's everywhere and it's part of growth." When I was investigating the implicit bias, I found The Implicit Project Online It is enlightening because it is by race, gender and sexuality, it explores how you feel in a fraction of a second versus how you feel when you organize thoughts and answers.It was enlightening that people can still hold these thoughts.
Vernoff, who has spoken openly about the history of sexual harassment in Hollywood, sees a parallel between the "calculation of accounts" after Harvey Weinstein and the unconscious prejudice of the industry.
"What we are saying is if there is an unconscious bias in all of us, the police is the focal point of this problem in the country because they carry firearms, there are police departments in our country where the bosses have recognized that there is an implicit bias and they have established new protocols and training, and in a radical way, it decreased the number of shots and the number of shots of black men, "says Vernoff. "We in Hollywood got that message with #MeToo and Harvey and the impact of naming the problem, admitting it's a problem and now taking action to resolve it, it feels like a real change, we have to name the problem and put the systems in their place. "
In a broader sense, Vernoff made a point to address current issues when he returned before season 14. She told the screenwriters that it was a priority to do Gray's ] funny – "I like a rom-com again", he says, and at the same time preserves the famous melodrama and romance of the program. "We wanted it to be like the roller coaster Shondaland [seen in the title card after every episode]," says Vernoff. "This is the saddest and most difficult episode to process of the season, and next week is also a really powerful and topical episode, but the one that follows that is a direct comedy, I do not know if I can separate my art from the topics that interest me and make me feel and think deeply, those things merge in every conversation we have in the writers room. "
Clack summarizes: "This year we are addressing these problems head-on, having been here for each season, we have always confronted them unconsciously by portraying the antidote to these misconceptions by portraying people as people with regular problems and not have everything based on race and how that affects you or how angry people are in it. We've had a history of unconscious bias last season, so we've tackled these issues, but this year we talked a lot about them and tackled them head on "