The inexplicable need to be seen by the world shapes our identity, our esteem, and the way that we see the world. Our need to be heard leaves us screaming at vacuums, standing, waiting, to at least hear the sound of our own ripples. Growing up in Nigeria, a culture that is still ridden by a shadow of its colonial past, I felt lost. Our need to be seen, especially in this age, is compensated through television. We see characters like "ourselves" on television, and we feel as though the world sees and understands us in as empathetic a way as one could possibly ask of another. But, there was no one like me, no one symbolic of the realities that I had faced, and, that made me feel lost and alone.
I recently started watching The Fosters, on ABC Spark, and the revolutionary qualities that lie at the core of the show are beyond tremendous, because the show has the ability to make many subsets of minorities in our society, feel seen. The show centers around a family that comprises of two gay couples, one white mother, and one mixed-race mother. The couple have one biological son, two adopted children, and two foster children. The show deals with issues such as family, race, sex, relationships, sexuality, physical and sexual abuse, recovery, our gendered centered society, immigration and society's misperceived conception of "illegal immigrants," alcoholism, and a whole range of other issues.
I simply could not wrap my head around the genius of the show. By simply shaping the story of the show the way they did, the writers and the producers gave themselves and the show the power to reflect different ignored factions of society. In this day and age, our definition of family has begun to transcend our limiting and isolating, traditionalist views. Our subconscious' need to be accepted by others curb around the realities of our now progressing society, and this has introduced a whole range of beautiful and unique cultures and identities.
By redefining what family means and dealing with very difficult issues that need addressing, the show has paved a way, wherein, it becomes a mirror of our very complicated society. How desperate was I to see a version of myself represented on screen, how desperate was I that my realities befitted validation, how desperate was I that people would see "me." But, as I watch 'The Fosters', a version of myself is finally seen and heard, and I think that everyone that watches the show has the same testimony to give. How rare it is for a television show to possess such reflective qualities, and how foolish we would be not to embrace its uniqueness.
The Fosters is a lot of things, but mostly, it is a means of validation, wherein, people feel valued by the world, and the world, in turn, feels valued by the individual. To be seen, to be heard, to be understood, we all yearn for such grace to befall us, and the fosters finally makes that dream a possible reality. A version of our stories, our pasts, our presents, our futures, our successes, our problems, are all represented, documented and chronicled in every single episode of the show, and that is revolutionary!
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