“Orange Is The New Black” (OITNB) isn’t just a show about prison life. It’s a mirror reflecting some of the most pressing issues in our society. From racial injustice to the complexities of the LGBTQ+ community, OITNB has never shied away from the tough topics.
Here are seven times the show nailed real-world issues:
1. Black Lives Matter Movement
In a heart-wrenching episode, Poussey Washington, an African-American inmate, is suffocated by a white prison guard during a protest. This tragic event mirrors real-life incidents like the death of Eric Garner, highlighting the Black Lives Matter movement’s significance.
2. Mental Health Awareness
Through characters like Suzanne “Crazy-Eyes” Warren and Lolly, the show delves deep into the complexities of mental health. It portrays these issues with sensitivity, balancing humor with the gravity of the situation.
3. LGBTQ+ Rights and Struggles
Sophia Burset’s journey as a transgender woman in prison sheds light on the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community. Her solitary confinement, supposedly for her “protection,” parallels real-life stories of discrimination in prisons.
4. The Flaws of the American Prison System
The show doesn’t just focus on the inmates; it critiques the entire prison system. From corruption to the lack of basic rights for inmates, OITNB exposes the harsh realities of incarceration in America.
5. Religious Diversity and Acceptance
Religion plays a significant role in OITNB, showcasing various beliefs and practices. Whether it’s Sister Ingalls pretending to be Jewish for kosher meals or Black Cindy converting to Judaism, the show highlights the importance of faith and identity.
6. Immigration and Family Separation
The final season poignantly tackles the immigration crisis, focusing on characters like Maritza, who gets deported, and Karla, a mother separated from her children. Their stories reflect the real-life tragedies occurring at the U.S.-Mexico border.
7. Prison Overpopulation and Injustice
The show addresses the overpopulation of prisons and the inherent injustices within the criminal justice system. Characters like Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett highlight the disparities in treatment based on socio-economic status.
OITNB has consistently used its platform to shed light on societal issues, making viewers not just entertained but also informed. By intertwining real-world problems with compelling storytelling, the show has left an indelible mark on television history.