'This Is Us' Cast & Fans Express Mixed Reactions After NBC Uses the N-Word Without Censorship

This Is Us airs Tuesdays (9 p.m. ET) on NBC

[Spoiler alert: This story contains plot details from Tuesday’s episode of This Is Us, titled “The Most Disappointed Man.”]

Jack and Rebecca Pearson‘s fight to legally adopt their African-American son, Randall, led to a tense moment in Tuesday’s episode of This Is Us.

“The Most Disappointed Man” explored the emotional power of the judicial system circa 1981 as Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore‘s characters attempt to make the Big Three official.

Much as how the NBC drama has consistently discussed real-world issues, Randall’s adoption once again touched on race.

Mandy Moore/Twitter

The couple’s court proceeding turned tense when the judge (Delroy Lindo) wasn’t so convinced that two white parents should be raising an African-American child, even using the n-word without censorship.

“I don’t believe that child belongs in your home. That child belongs with a black family Mr. and Mrs. Pearson,” Judge Bradley said. “How else will he see himself? Understand who he is?”

Later explaining to Jack and Rebecca, “I never understood what my blackness meant until a white man called me a n—–.”

Moore live-tweeted: “This is not what Jack and Rebecca were hoping/expecting to hear from Judge Bradley.”

Fans and followers of This Is Us shared their mixed reactions on Twitter.

Sterling K. Brown, who plays adult Randall, live-tweeted his reaction to the scene: “See all the family photos that line Judge Bradley’s wall (families that he’s finalized)? Notice how none are mixed race?”

Some were outraged at the judge’s concerns:

While others understood where Judge Bradley was coming from:

In the end, love prevailed and the Pearsons’ adoption was ruled into law by a different judge. But not before Rebecca wrote a thought-provoking letter to Judge Bradley.

“Randall is my son, whether you approve or not or sign a paper or not,” she penned in the document, along with a photo of their family portrait featuring baby Kevin, Kate and Randall.

“And yes, some things are harder for us … The thing you need to know about us is the Pearsons keep at, we don’t stop. So I suggest you put us up on your wall. Maybe it will help you get you used to our faces because we will keep coming until you do your job,” she concluded, also writing, “Sincerely, Rebecca, Randall’s mother.”

This Is Us airs Tuesdays (9 p.m. ET) on NBC.

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