Changes, Racism, and Pete Campbell
September 17, 2009
Okay, these episodes are getting way too deep for me. What was with Betty’s halucinations and that black guy? And that scene where we see Sally wipe the blood on [off?] her face?
If any of the episode is clear it’s that change is in the air. I think one thing we saw in this episode is that the blatant bigotry and sexism of the past is getting a long coming beating. Not just with Peggy and her raise, but also with race relations.
I’m actually not surprised by Pete’s actions. It’s why I don’t think he’s a completely horrible guy. He stomped off from the table with Duck and Peggy because she was a woman. He doesn’t know better than to condescend to women. But he’s also not a bigot. I guess I assumed Pete was racist since he was brought up from in a very privileged background with a father who thinks there are certain jobs for “a white man.” When his father said this Pete was clearly uneasy so I guess that was a rather rash assumption.
What’s important to remember though is that Pete isn’t Martin Luther King jr. as Roger joked (with frustration) also. This speaks to racism in general I think. One isn’t completely racist or nonracist, there are degrees to it and in this last episode we saw that Pete is less racist than many. He’s willing to put the social divides aside when there’s profit to be made. The people who represent Admiral are far more racist than Pete and will suffer businesswise because of it. But again, remember, Pete doesn’t totally know that blacks and whites are equal people, he, like others, think that all black people basically know each other and any one can speak for the opinions of the group.
Over time I suspect that Pete will learn that’s wrong. Luckily, he’s at a company that’s on the same correct path. That’s pretty amazing isn’t it? And speaks to the silliness of racism in general. The market doesn’t care who’s black and who’s white. It’s strange though that the businessworld remains an incredibly sexist and racist place today. Having watched this episode I wonder how much more efficient it could be without those same inequalities. The stronger companies obviously do better by focusing on profit and profit alone —instead of keeping the blacks and women out of the conference room. Take stodgy old Sterling Cooper, it looks like it’ll survive a shift to a less racist world. Who saw that coming?