This a list of all the cons/scams/grifts that the Leverage team names during the show. Included is everything from a small one-on-one interaction between a grifter and a mark (eg. Little Orphan Annie) to full blown multilevel integrated cons (eg. The White Rabbit). If it had a name, it’s here.
If it has a black star beside it, it has a canon explanation or demonstration (eg. The Moonwalking Bear). If it has a white star, there were hints or comparisons made about it (eg. The Apple Pie is “like the Cherry Pie, but with lifeguards”). If it’s hyperlinked, it’s a real life scam and the link is to Wikipedia. If it’s totally unmarked, then the name was mentioned but never elaborated upon and is a part of the team’s beautiful argot. :)
I’ve been thinking about this issue ever since reading a post that talked about schema, how the brain creates templates for things, and how this applies to racism. Here’s the example the OP used (paraphrasing from memory): Every time you see a black man on tv, they’re wearing baggy trousers and an oversize white t-shirt. They mouth off to a cop, reach under the t-shirt, pull out a gun, blam! blam! So when you’re dealing with a real-life black man wearing baggy trousers and an oversize white t-shirt, when he reaches under that shirt, do you wait to see what will be in his hand? Do you even really see what is there–his wallet, a bag of Skittles, spare change? Or do you see a gun because that’s the shortcut your brain has been taught by thousands of hours of media?
Then there’s Alec Hardison. John Rogers says in one of the episode commentaries that the original conceptions for Hardison and Eliot were that their hacker should be a large man, not the standard skinny wimp (e.g., Cha0s), and their hitter should be smaller and precise, not physically intimidating at first glance. They could have cast a black Eliot and a white Hardison. Once they had their actors, the actors shaped their roles.
So you have Hardison, the black guy. Who is the least violent of anybody on the team. The only one who can’t handle a gun. The least effective in a hand-to-hand fight. The one whom both Eliot and Nate call “the smartest man I know”. Who has a romantic relationship with a pretty blonde white girl that is completely non-fetishized. Who forms a close friendship with an ex-military country boy. There are a few flashbacks where you see teenaged Hardison in the oversized t-shirt and hiphop bling–and braces on his teeth. He’s not knocking over a grocery store with a gun; he’s knocking over the Bank of Iceland by hacking*.
Hardison is a triumph for representation. He subverts just about every expectation for a black male of his age on television. And he does it with style and humor and comedy, which sneaks into your brain and makes you feel good. Aldis Hodge and John Rogers deserve a lot of credit for Alec Hardison, and I look forward to Hodge having a long and brilliant career because I think he deserves it.