Saturday, July 26, 2008

Two Worlds and Double Standards?

Although I don't watch The View at all, apparently I can't avoid the show, since it produces news-capturing controversy on a regular basis. This time, it is riding the coattails of Jesse Jackson's curious "accidental" (?) negative remarks about Barack Obama, using the n-word. On The View, hostesses Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd defend the use of the n-word, but only among blacks and only those blacks that supposedly know what they're doing with that word. In other words, dirty rappers may or may not fall into that category. Hm. Conversely, no white folk (or any other color folk) should ever find themselves uttering such a word, because then it becomes an blatant racial slur. The condemnation that follows such an utterance then should be swift and severe. I see. Now you see:

Credit YouTube user speakmymind01.

What if I should behave the same with racial words used for Asians by more blacks than whites that have ever run across my path? In my lifetime, it was a black child older than I that ever harassed me physically. Should I hold that against all blacks? Should I say then that no black person can use certain words but make an exception for myself and others of my own racial grouping? That isn't just ridiculous, it is repugnant.

There indeed are two worlds. Apparently, Elisabeth Hasselbeck (and I) live in the one that wants to bring unity and compassion to our existence. Whoopi lives in the world that doesn't. Whoopi doesn't just bring attention to racial disparity, she wallows in it. In a society that is sincerely trying to move beyond skin color as a measure of one's personhood and value, Whoopi and Jesse Jackson mean to drag as many as they can to the depths of their anger and refuse to let the nation heal. We cannot have a dawn of a new day if civil rights activists insist on shooting out the sun.

I summon the spirit of Rodney King that begs you to let us all get along. Clean up your mouth. Let go of the nastiness.


Thursday's Child said...

Amen! I enjoy Whoopi as an actress. She's tremendously talented and I love to watch her in action. However, when she starts talking "unscripted" I just have to cringe.

BTW, I loved your post on Complegalitarians (sorry if I butchered it).

Anonymous said...

hi, i came across your blog through generasian, and wanted to stop by. i do agree that wallowing in racial disparity does little to create anything productive in terms of constructive dialogue, etc...but, i think that before we jump to the healing stage there is still a need for that articulation of pain and suffering. i don't think anyone is shooting out the sun...maybe some haven't been in the sun for so long they deserve a moment...

Letitia (The Damsel) said...

thursday's child,
Thanks for reading! I was particularly shocked at Whoopi using the n-word in a public setting. She is obviously contradicting her own beliefs about that word by saying it out loud on the show to a mixed audience on public television. I don't know if ABC bleeping it out really made a difference.

I agree that people need therapy. But what would you say to the person who seems to be using his/her pain not to heal but to stall the healing process? In Whoopi's case, it also seems to me a lot of pain by proxy. She herself is respected and successful in her life, yet she carries the pain of her mother being denied the right to vote. It seems so much the case that no matter how much social or civil reparations society can pay to her, it is never enough, even though she herself was never denied the right to vote.