Fight the Good Fight is the twentieth episode of the second season in this television sitcom on Family Matters, which was aired from ABC on February 22, 1991. It was directed by Gary Menteer and written both by Sara V. Finney and Vida Spears.
It's Black History Month and Laura is inspired to encourage support for a black history class at school and as Laura goes about doing this, she encounters racism at the school -- a racial slur has even been spray painted on Laura's locker. In order to keep the peace, Principal Edgar Shimata is reluctant to even consider a black history class, until Laura, inspired by Mother Winslow, forms a plan to change some minds at the school.
In the Winslow household,Carl is convinced that he is the perfect person to fix their broken vacuum cleaner. As he (and Richie) seem to fix it, it backfires and explodes on him. Harriette continues to point out that Carl is just wasting time. She push him to buy a new one. Carl refuses because of costs and insists that he can save money by repairing it himself. This decision to refuse to listen Harriette will make him regret it later.
Laura meanwhile is psyched about it being Black History month and decides that she wants to try and get a Black History class course started at her school all year. The teachers come to see it as a good idea and encourage her to carry on with her petition and with Steve's help,the signatures for the petitions pile up.Just as the petition signings are at their peak, Laura soon faces a hurtful moment when she finds her locker open,with a note attached to the door."If you want Black History, go back to Africa," the note reads. Steve crumples the hurtful note and angrily tosses it to the floor but that's not all there is on her locker.As she closes the door,she discovers the N-Word spray painted on it, leaving her, Steve and fellow black students standing nearby hurt and worried.
When Laura returns home in tears and hurt seemingly beyond repair,she starts to regret having ever started the petition to get the Black History class approved, despite the family's assurance that it was indeed an excellent idea. She remains in her room crying over and over again as the night goes on and Carl, knowing that he can't fix things this time,is angry over his daughter's pain and is convinced that the schools today are just as racially cruel as when he and Harriette were children.
Laura has asked her mother how people can be so cruel but her mother has no for-sure answer but Mother Winslow encourages Laura to continue fighting for what's right after relating a story of her own of racism with the white librarian in her town. After coming back to the library one last time, the librarian(who previously kicked her out multiple times) gave up and gave her a library card. Ever since she took the stand, the library had allowed children of all races to borrow books from the library. The tensions among the school, seem to soon die down after it is discovered that there were many black inventors over the last decades and the students, black and white, begin to bond over the topic. Laura thanks Steve for his help with the petitions. Surely enough, Principal Shimata asks her to come to a potential PTA meeting to discuss a potential slot for a Black History class.
As for regards to the vacuum cleaner, when Carl fails to successfully fix it for the third time, he finally gives in and agrees to purchase a new one. Laura comes home elated over everything and the staff was very moved by her convictions to have a Black History Class taught as part of the curriculum all year.
Cast and Characters Edit
- Reginald VelJohnson as Carl Winslow
- Jo Marie Payton as Harriette Winslow (credited as Jo Marie Payton-France)
- Rosetta LeNoire as Estelle Winslow
- Darius McCrary as Eddie Winslow
- Kellie Shanygne Williams as Laura Winslow
- Jaimee Foxworth as Judy Winslow
- Bryton James as Richie Crawford (credited as Bryton McClure)
- Jaleel White as Steve Urkel
- Telma Hopkins as Rachel Crawford
- Cherie Johnson as Maxine Johnson
- Clyde Kusatsu as Principal Edgar Shimata
- Susan Krebs as Ms. Steuben
- Patrick J. Pieters as Gary (credit as Patrick Pieters)
- Jay Bradford as Mark
- David Markus as Darryl
- In the Nick at Nite airings, the episode cuts to a commercial break right before Laura closes her locker to reveal the racial slur spray painted on her locker.
- The first episode (of only a few) to emphasize that the Winslow family is African-American.
- Laura: Hey, my locker's open!
- [finds a note hanging on the door]
- Laura: Oh my God.
- Urkel: Laura, what's wrong?
- Laura: [reading note] 'If you want black history, go back to Africa'.
- Urkel: What?
- [takes note and crumbles it, Laura slams locker door, revealing the word “nigger” spray painted on it]
- Maxine: Ugh, what is this?
- [picks up a single serving container of gross looking food in the cafeteria]
- Laura: If you have to ask, pass.
- Carl: How's she doing?
- Harriette: She's still pretty upset, she wouldn't even touch her dinner.
- Carl: Well Harriette, what are those people teaching down at that school? Their own version of the 3 R's? Reading, 'Riting and Racism?
- Harriette: Carl, calm down, it's not the school's fault.
- Carl: Well is she still crying?
- Harriette: Every time she stops, she starts all over again.
- [Carl hits the mantel]
- Harriette: Carl.
- Carl: Harriette, I just feel so helpless! My daughter's been hurt and I can't do a thing about it. I can't even tell her it won't ever happen again!
- Harriette: I know. You know, I was exposed to this sort of thing when I was growing up, but I always hoped it would be different for my kids.
- Carl: Come on, Harriette! The people that did this to us are teaching the same GARBAGE to their kids.