Screenplay by Alan Nafzger (92 pages)
I would like to introduce a new television series in the tradition of “The White Shadow” (TV Series 1978–1981). This television series has influences from “Welcome Back Kotter”,
“Boston Public” and “Degrassi”.
The setting is a Southern California high school.
When a white guy is hired to teach cultural studies course at a high school, the poverty-ridden community reacts. The teacher is assigned to teach African-American studies, Latino studies and Southeast Asian studies.
In the pilot, community organizers urge the school district to re-evaluate the hiring of Jeff Bose (the white guy) to teach at a brand-new middle school that will overwhelmingly serve minority students.
Chief antagonist is Rev. Timothy Jackson. He argues that a white person cannot teach minority children in this instance because of racism. Jackson is a professor at a small local biblical seminary. Jackson claims to be saying what the community wants. Jackson, says, “We didn’t fight for a white male or female teacher to educate our babies.”
Also an antagonist, Hector Romo, a Hispanic city council member with state-wide political aspirations.
There is an Asian teacher Mai Winter Vue who advocates that a teacher must culturally identify with students, “In order for one to convey the messages and teach the real lessons, the authentic lesson. It has to be someone who lives it and has been there.”
The white teacher is set upon by these three community organizers.
This television series will examine the racial fault lines. This series will examine a number of social issues from the view point of besieged inner city school teacher.
Young people are faced today with so much dysfunction and violence and that violence is simply because they don’t have any direction. Minority youth in this television series are torn between a teacher they like and the community leaders who are preaching that “Whites Need Not Apply”.
While Jeff Bose has been teaching Latino studies courses for 10 years and African-American studies courses for four years, this matters little to the community leaders who find political traction in making the color of the teacher the issue. Bose has a master’s degree and the other candidates did not.
Bose does have one important ally. School district trustee Cal Johnson, and who is himself a black man, robustly endorses the hiring of Bose. As a result, he is labeled an “Uncle Tom” and his political career is in jeopardy. He has no idea of higher office but just his simple school board is as risk. Johnson believes that qualifications trump colorism. He doesn’t care whether the teacher is white, black, brown or yellow; he is very loyal to the idea of a color blind society.
This story goes on in a school district where just five percent of the teachers are black. Well over 20 percent are Hispanic.
Ironically, Bose is happily married to a woman of color.
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