By Autumn Gillespie
My episode of “Black Mirror” would be based on the use of driverless cars. The main character is a young black woman, Lila, in her mid-20s who just graduated from college. She received an email one day telling her to enter into a drawing in which one lucky winner wins the latest and greatest technological advancement, a car that could drive itself wherever you’d like it to go. No strings attached.
Lila believes it is too good to be true and doesn’t even bother entering. Throughout the episode, there are subtle hints of racism and prejudice towards Lila and other African American extras in the episode, but it is not so extreme that it becomes the main focus. For example, the subtlety of only being seated at a restaurant after all the white patrons had been seated.
Lila wouldn’t ever notice the discrimination against her. She is on Cloud 9 after just graduating. The next scene, in the background, very faintly, an African American man could be seen and heard arguing with a barista for charging him $1.50 more for the same coffee as the white man in front of him. Lila would be seated in the coffee shop checking her email and drinking her coffee with her white boyfriend, Sam.
To her surprise, she received another email from the same company exclaiming she won the driverless car. She couldn’t believe it since she never entered the raffle and explained her astonishment to Sam. Sam comes clean and confesses that he entered her in the contest just for fun. Either way, Lila had gotten herself a brand new, driverless car, with no strings attached, or so she thought.
Days after having her new car, Lila really felt like she was living her best life. She had been taking full advantage of the driverless feature, but was still confused by the technology. Sometimes the car would take her on a different route than she selected, and she would have to press the unlock button five or six times before the doors would unlock to let her out.
Still, Lila had been quite impressed with the car, and even more pleased that Sam had entered the contest for her. She felt so lucky. After interviewing for her dream job, Lila got the call that she got the job. She was so ecstatic she called Sam to celebrate and the made a date to meet for drinks later that night.
Lila drank way too much at the bars with Sam, more than she intended, and decided it would be another good time to use the driverless feature on her car. Lila must have fallen asleep while the car was driving, because when she opened her eyes next, all she could see was the dark starry sky.
Still dazed, she looked to her left and saw Sam standing outside the car talking to a group of two older white men and one older white woman. She was wondering why she was here, why Sam was here when she saw him drive off in his own car to head home, and why in the world her car drove her all the way out here in the middle of nowhere.
She tried to open the doors, but the car’s system was fighting her and wouldn’t let her get out of the car. The horn started blaring, and Sam and the group of people he was with turned abruptly and began heading towards the car.
Lila immediately felt uneasy. She did not recognize the look in Sam’s eyes and began trying to force her way out of the car again. Sam and the other two men grabbed her, pulling her out of the car and dragged her towards a dimly lit barn.
As they took her through the barn, she could not believe what she saw, all around her were black men and women, some older, some younger, chained to the wall all mumbling the same phrase. “If you think it’s too good to be true, it is.”
All along, Sam had set her up to “win” the car to lower her inhibitions so he could program the car to take her here. Sam was a member of a white supremacy group. They were using these special cars to get intelligent African Americans off the streets because they believed their white privilege was being threatened.