Listen, when it comes to Will Smith, Chris Rock and the smackdown that has been trending since Sunday night, we’ve all had plenty to say. But there’s a subtle difference in the way Black people have discussed it and how those outside of the culture have. And sometimes it’s not so subtle.
I mean, Black people had varying opinions on the subject. We were all “Team Will,” “Team Rock” and/or “Team Jada.” We got into contentious arguments over the subject. There were many a Black household having passionate debates on the matter over dinner. But we discussed it like it was two family members getting into a fistfight at the cookout and were just gossiping and spilling tea during the aftermath. It was a harmless discussion, really, because we all knew this was a flavor of the week controversy that few people would still be talking about in the coming weeks. (I mean, we’re probably going to be cracking jokes about this until hallelujah, but that’s about it.)
But white people were different.
They were more unified in their opinion that Will was wrong and violent and villainous, no if, and or buts. Their tones were alarmist for no damn reason. The fire and brimstone in their cyber-public expressions of disgust were palpable. They didn’t have anywhere near this kind of unified energy years ago when Sarah Palin, a high-profile politician who was once a vote and a heartbeat away from the presidency, and her family got into a drunken brawl with about a dozen other white people in public. That wasn’t even that big a story, because when high-profile white people (or white people in general, for that matter) fight it’s just a thing that happens. But a single slap between two Black men on a classically white stage? Nah, the whites can’t have that. Now, suddenly, it’s criminal.
Let’s start with Rosie O’Donnell.
On Monday, the comedian who, I guess, still does things took to Twitter to express her outrage. She started with a single, non-proofread, question.
Basically, she was mad that Smith was able to slap Rock, go back to his seat, and still win an Oscar that night.
OK, whatever. But then she continued.
“Bravo to Chris for not eviscerating Will Mith,” she wrote. (LOL! Rock was going to “eviscerate” Smith how? Does he have a bionic cheek to corrode Will’s palm?)
But the real caucasity came when O’Donnell and some of her equally clueless and hueless fans started comparing what Smith did to the violent, white nationalist shenanigans that happened while Donald Trump was in office.
Yes, white people legit went there.
One would need to be as white as the unholy ghost to even think to draw such a comparison. The Oscars academy is not the damn U.S. government and Will is not a white supremacist world leader backed by equally white supremacist lawmakers. To not see the white privilege in this sentiment is to be oblivious to what the real problem was when Trump was in office.
My real issue with O’Donnell is that in all her stubby Twitter finger rage, not once did she express empathy for Jada Pinkett-Smith or any sort of disdain for Rock’s insensitive joke. If Rock were body-shaming, telling anti-LGBT jokes or undermining any of the other causes white feminists care about, O’Donnell would have pounced on him without a second thought. But Jada is just a Black woman with an autoimmune condition, so there’s no fight to be had there. Instead, O’Donnell just excused Rock’s joke by assuming he simply wasn’t aware of Jada’s alopecia, as if she would TF know.
And it wasn’t just O’Donnell. Comedy director Judd Apatow tweeted then deleted a post declaring that Will could have killed Rock. Will “could have killed him” with a slap that didn’t even take Rock off his feet. There were no serious injuries at the Oscars Sunday night, but white people are imagining extreme violence that could have turned deadly. But no, I’m sure Smith being a sizable Black man had nothing to do with that.
Then there’s the red mop-top queen of stepping outside her white-a** lane, Kathy Griffin.
“Let me tell you something, it’s a very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a Comedian. Now we all have to worry about who wants to be the next Will Smith in comedy clubs and theaters,” she tweeted.
First, let me just say that Griffin has been on my sh** list since she called Kevin Hart a “p****y” because “he’s a Black man” who didn’t use his platform to speak on Trump. If only white liberals understood how tired we are of being mules for their revolutionary causes, white people like her would understand that it is not her white a** place to tell Black people how to react to literally anything.
But because of people like her, we get tweets like this:
I swear if these people have nothing else, they have the nerve.
Anyway, once again, we have a white woman who prides herself on her feminism deciding the sanctity of comedy is more important than protecting Black women. White liberals like Griffin and O’Donnell aren’t outliers, they are typical in what passes for progressivism among the whites. Where our discussions provided nuance and cultural context, there’s were all righteous indignation, white scorn and unified finger wagging.
And we are tired.