This article contains spoilers.
When I saw the Netflix trailer for American Son, based on a Broadway play, the storyline had an unfortunate familiarity, especially as I had watched the season of Seven Seconds. However, I was conflictingly surprised by the quick, layered dialogues that go beyond Kerry Washington’s superb ability to portray the anguish of a black mother desperate to find her missing son.
Outside of the other storylines of police brutality and the microaggressions experienced by Kendra Ellis-Connor, a Psychology professor, my attention shifted to the relationship between her and her estranged husband Scott Connor, the FBI senior.
Jamal, who is referred to as ‘J’ by his father as Jamal sounds “too black”, is 18 and was reported missing by his mother early on a Tuesday morning, the day before beginning work at a “very prestigious internship”. Scott arrives at the police station almost an hour later.
Upon his entrance, Scott is mistaken by officer Paul Larken for a senior colleague, making Larken comfortable enough to refer to Kendra as a bitch and as “going from zero to ghetto” whilst she is crying in the back in-between the two water fountains of this formerly segregated police station.