Race in On My Block

The popular Netflix show “On My Block” centers the story on 4 teenagers – Monse, Cesar, Ruby and Jamal –  living predominantly Latino/a and black neighborhood. In the first season, Cesar, whose brother is a gang leader, was threatened by Latrelle, a member of the rival gang. Cesar was prompted by his brother to kill Latrell, but Cesar stepped back and decided not to. However, Latrell ended up showing up at a party in on Cesar’s block and shot two of his friends, and one of them died. In season 2, they deal with the pain and trauma brought on by the shooting, and the core 4 face detriments in their friendship. 

A big part of the story of this show depicts lives of a minority neighborhood and the experiences they had to go through. It was a norm for there to be gangs existing in the neighborhood because the police would not side with them when conflicts happens. They take it upon themselves to try to “protect” their community in ways that the police would not do. This connects to the keyword we read on race and that stories of children of color are very much different from those of white children. We also see this in many of the books we’ve read, such as Incidents in Lives of a Slave Girl and The Bluest Eyes. For children of color, there are so much more hardship that could occur in their childhood. In season 2 of On My Block, Monse sets out to find her birth mom and lives with her for a while. Her birth mom is white and now lives in a white neighborhood. The live Monse leads there is so much different compared to the life she had in her old neighborhood. The white children there never had to worry about shootings or finding a safe home to live, and it goes to show just how different the experience is for children of color versus white children. It was ironic to see while the four teenagers struggle to find Cesar a safe place to live, while the white children were only concerned whether or not they can smoke weed at Monse’s house.

1 thought on “Race in On My Block”

  1. I really like how you chose to focus on On My Block. I enjoy watching the show and I am happy you decided to touch on the differences in lives between the characters of color and the white characters depicted. When I was watching the show I thought it was unnecessary to include the white characters because they did not add much to the story line and were very oblivious to the circumstances the other characters were facing. However, I do think the use of them in the show was mainly to emphasize the grave differences in experiences of those from a crime ridden neighborhood in contrast to those who live in a crime free area with little to no worries of danger.

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