Dear Drapers: A Letter To Mad Men's First Family From Their Black Maid

Illustration for article titled Dear Drapers: A Letter To Mad Men's First Family From Their Black Maid

Dear Drapers, Now that it's officially up to me to take care of the house, I have a few things to say. I know I usually don't talk, even though we all know what was going on in the Sixties.


My summer was really nice not that you asked, and I'm not looking forward to coming back into your crazy house of sex, lies, and bratty kids (thanks for popping another one out, that's exactly what we all needed).

I think the writers are troubled and don't really know how to address race in a smart way without it taking over the whole story. They probably think:

"The show is about Don, not black people, but let's make Carla extra dignified and sometimes she can show the audience that she is aware of bullshit by giving little grimaces. That way Carla becomes someone who's witnessing. She's on the sidelines but she has the power of judgment. That's even better! That way we can cover our race bases without it getting in the way. Kind of like the black guy in Ghostbusters."

Oh, they think they're so clever. Well I don't buy that dubious explanation. I don't want the power of judgment. I want a full plot line dammit. Maybe Roger has a butler and he and I can get together. I mean really get together, and our hot passionate love affair will bring us on a freedom ride down to Alabama where we will love each other in the sticky, sweaty Alabaman heat... and Sterling Cooper has some business down there and they do some advertising blah blah blah.

To read the remainder of Carla's letter, head to The Loop 21.

This post originally appeared on The Loop 21. Republished with permission.



I like it — but, Carla is a minor character who helps create a scene and a world where the reality of the 60s, and the racial tensions, can leak in to a show that is certainly not focused on that (and I think issues of race come up often on the show, actually, which has to be a challenge since the show is decidedly not about race and it would easily become that given the times if the writers went that route). Paul Kinsey, and his relationship with a black woman, is a big way that the show touches on racial issues, using a more prominent character, and once again, without having racial issues that so predominated the day predominate the show. Because the show IS about Don, and his world, so we'll see glimpses of the things that affect it, but Don is (now) a rich, powerful, white man, and that's the lens. It's an easy lens, most TV is made through the eye of rich powerful white man, even when that's not the lead character.

Carla, you're so right. And smart. And funny. But you're going to have to wait for a spin-off to get the spotlight.