Episode 4 of This Is Us focused heavily on Randall, specifically his upbringing as a black kid in an all-white family and neighborhood. Growing up in a society like that caused him to view the world a little differently, he often felt like an outsider. Still, he never lost sight of who he was and how he felt society viewed him. Let’s look at eight significant moments in “The Pool” in which Randall dealt with his race.
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1. Learning About William’s Protest Involvement
Up until this point, all we’ve really known about Randall is that he grew up in a white family. We never really saw how that affected him, being a black kid in a white community. Learning that his biological father fought for racial equality was something of significance to Randall.
2. Having to Apologize for William’s “Loitering”
When William was out for his daily walk, one of Randall’s neighbors called security about a man “loitering” in their neighborhood. William was up in arms about this, but Randall apologized to the security guard and his neighbors, much to William’s disapproval. Randall then insisted they go get William new clothes so he fits in better in the neighborhood.
3. Young Randall Asking If He Needs Sunscreen
While Rebecca and Jack got their kids ready for a fun day at the pool, covering each of them in sunscreen, young Randall questioned whether he even needed sunscreen, given his dark complexion. Rebecca and Jack clearly didn’t know the answer to this, because they never had to question whether black people needed sunscreen or not.
4. Telling William He Lives in a Black Man’s World Too
Though William thought that Randall tried too hard to appease to the white people in his community, Randall laid it out for him. He knew what it meant to be black. Growing up where he did, he always felt different and like he stuck out. He’s very aware that he’s discriminated against because of his race, but he chooses to let it go because holding on to the anger over it isn’t worth it.
5. Young Randall Meets the Other Black Kids
Young Randall at the pool wanted so badly to connect with a community, something he didn’t feel with a lot of the other kids. He found a group of black kids at the pool and disappeared to play games with them, while Rebecca worried about where he was.
6. Parents Laughing at His Daughter Playing Snow White
Randall, Beth and William took the kids to their school play, where Randall’s daughter played Snow White. The other parents continuously laughed at this concept that a black girl was playing the “fair Snow White,” something we saw Randall was more sensitive to now.
7. Rebecca Asking a Black Mother for Advice
Rebecca swallowed her pride at the pool, after her argument with another mother about integrating her son into the black community. She returned to the mother to seek advice about where to get a proper haircut for Randall and also to answer the question that was plaguing her — did he need sunscreen?
8. Counting Black People in His Notebook
After the play, Randall told William that he always felt like an outsider growing up. So much so that he would keep a notepad in which he would tally off every black person he met growing up. He also wondered if there was any chance that one of those black people he ever met was his father.
Which moment for Randall stuck out to you the most? Let us know in the comments below.
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(Image courtesy of NBC)