Casting Fitz as a philandering Black president who has an election stolen for him and who resorts to murder to cover it up once he finds out, might have had people thinking “Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes and Smith were in possession of some insider information. Yes, people are that stupid; it has been said that ABC cancelled “Commander in Chief,” starring Geena Davis as the first female president because people thought it somehow influenced Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Given the stereotypes that already exist about Black men, and the fact that Obama’s happy marriage has refuted them, having Fitz be black would have just distracted people from the show and it’s real theme which is the everyday shadiness in Washington. That Fitz, white or Black, has been portrayed as a world leader with a huge swath of humanity and vulnerability is a character choice any one familiar with Rhimes’ work on “Grey’s Anatomy” is already comfortable with. Rhimes and her writers create complex characters that people root for even when they make dumb decisions. Olivia Pope can fix everything but her own messy personal life and that’s kind of the point. If the president was Black, that would just turn into more of the “Why black people always gotta be……” talk that goes on already, but to a lesser degree. A Black Fitz is a man bringing down his family. A white one is a man willing to risk it all for true love. Let’s keep it real – that’s a storyline that some of us find much easier to take.