I am about halfway through S04 of SOA now and wanted to comment on their treatment of race. It is a complex issue with the Sons in fact. We learn in S04 from Roosevelt’s framing of Juice that the Sons have a “No Black Members” clause that was instated at the creation of the MC. Juice has hidden his black origins from the MC and this is the leverage that the new police chief is using to manipulate Juice to some disastrous extremes. This strikes me as unite ironic given that the Sons have been open to alliances with Brown (the Mayans) and Black (The One-Niners). That being said, there are often racial slurs used (back in S02 when Opie wants to kill the “n*****s” that he thought had killed Donna and several other occasions). Racism in the US has always be a complicated issue. Myself, growing up in the south, had a bit of an inracinated racism which I often see how my father expresses himself about that community. However, I was lucky enough to have a black girlfriend at University that served to open my eyes to my own prejudices and that relationship kicked off personal work on eliminating them. Problem is, there is always some residue – it is almost as deep as nicotine addiction. No, I don’t make racial jokes or slurs, but I do feel more nervous in, say, black neighborhoods, although that is entirely irrational. One would like to believe that Jax is not racist – or perhaps they just don’t show him in that light. Clay is, of course, only motivated by money and power so the people of color he interacts with are just means to an end. Chibs tells Juice that the “no black” rule is absurd but that without rules, the club falls apart so he also toes the line. The treatment of the issue is as complex as the issue itself and serves as an interesting undercurrent in the series. I especially appreciated the forlorn and appropriate way that the “Strange Fruit” cover by The Forest Rangers ended the tragic E07 episode.
In the Sons, Juice makes some difficult choices in fear of being outed. The theme of double lives and lies in general pervades S04 (and the rest of the seasons as well) as Clay weaves yet more deadly webs of deceit and Jax tries, unsuccessfully, to keep the Son’s involvement with the Cartel hidden from Tara. When Opie discovers that his wife has been using birth control – and even had an abortion behind his back, that drives a nail in the coffin of their month-old marriage. [NOTE: One notices that FOX has some editorial sway over their shows with this not-so-subtle anti-abortion message]. Is honesty the best policy? I suppose I’ll have to see how Season 4 winds up over the last five episodes, but, not unlike racism, honesty too can be quite a minefield.