In an episode that didn’t feature a nonwhite character save for a black child named “Token,” “South Park” attempted to tackle the emboldened white nationalist movement in America.
Ahead of the show’s Wednesday season premiere, its trailer earned much attention — good and bad. While many publications expressed excitement creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker would address white nationalism on the popular show, others doubted the cartoon comedy would handle it well. The trailer fromearlier in the week featured white nationalists waving a Confederate flag and holding tiki torches like those seen carried by white supremacists during the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.
“South Park” avoided any violence, instead presenting a clumsy allegory to admonish white individuals who stand on the sidelines on racial issues — at least until it starts hurting their “brand.”
In the episode, the white nationalists in town initially become angry because automation has taken their jobs (pronounced “jorbs,” of course). Amazon’s home task-helper Alexa even shows up to represent the issue. Others in the town don’t seem to have a problem with the coming automation, so it’s hinted that there’s something else underlying this white nationalist anger in the town.
At first, it seemed like the show was skirting the white nationalists’ reason for protesting ― in real life, white nationalists in Charlottesville were blaming “Jews” and other minorities for their problems, while in South Park, the blame was focused toward these major corporations.
The white nationalists take to the streets with tiki torches to protest massive technology companies making their work obsolete ― although it’s unclear what these white nationalists did for work before.
The protests go largely ignored, with the exception of husband-and-wife duo Randy and Sharon Marsh, who host an HGTV-inspired TV show called “White People Renovating Houses.”
The duo has selfish motivations to intervene. Instead of calling out the white nationalists for their views, Randy and Sharon only care that their shoots keep getting interrupted by the protests outside their window. Plus, they worry that the protest is making “white people” seem dumb.
Randy eventually proposes that everyone get rid of their Alexas and hire the white nationalists to do the same jobs the electronic task-helper would. Most of the white nationalists agree and become underpaid workers.