Black People Do Not Have White Privilege — Even When They’re Famous
Today we’re watching the real-time meltdown of Kevin Hart as he has had a dream both realized and crushed in the same week. Hart was invited to host the Oscars, which is the epitome of white acceptance into mainstream culture. Not even three days later, Hart steps down because he’s expressed violently homophobic beliefs in his comedy and on his Twitter. According to him, it’s just jokes. Just violent ass, cruel jokes that when that fucking comedy special aired, required I have a full-on discussion about how fucked up that routine was.
He said he apologized in the past. He said he wasn’t going to apologize now because he’s not going to acquiesce to “outrage culture.” He said he didn’t owe people shit and opted to leave the gig.
Kevin Hart got issues. He got a lot of issues. His comedy is about a lot of his issues and a lot of his issues are with Black women and homosexuality. Now, we all know that nobody cares about Black women so he can trash them all he wants, but LGBTQIA+? Nah. A lot of them are white and you are still a Black man trying to gain white approval. That shit is gonna hurt you.
I mean, look at it like this — Tina Fey keeps making “ironic” racist jokes but remains a feminist icon. Same with Amy Poehler whose show simultaneously sexualized and demeaned Blue Ivy, a child who was three-years-old at the time. Ellen DeGeneres made an entire skit mocking Black women’s butts, Jimmy Kimmel defended Roseanne Barr’s racist attack of a Black woman and wore literal blackface.
Each of these people have hosted the Oscars. Each of these people will swear until they are blue in the face, that that are not racist. And yet each and every one of them have overtly racist shit that can easily be found online and none of that shit matters because whiteness protects whiteness.
Black men, who benefit from patriarchy if not white supremacy, keep forgetting that shit. And as long as Kevin Hart kept his jokes to demeaning Black women and Black kids, he may have been able to slip through. But whiteness protects whiteness and there are too many white people in the LGBTQIA+ community that will make it their personal responsibility to remind Hart that he is a Black man in amerikkka, and that means he is held to a different level of accountability.
He is held to the accountability of Black people living in states where marijuana is legal, but still find themselves disproportionately arrested for marijuana. He is held to the accountability of Black people being harassed by police for walking down the street. He is held to the accountability of Black people being arrested for helping a neighbor or helping people run from an active shooter. He is Black and that is a crime in amerikkka. But I guess his success helped him forget that.
Too many Black men seem to forget that. Too many racially ambiguous people seem to forget that. And while part of me wants to remind them to protect themselves, I don’t get the chance because white people are always ready to flex that muscle and remind you of where they think your place is.
Black people don’t get to commit horrific crimes and walk away. We have our exceptions (O.J. Simpson) but that is so far away from the norm. And, to be clear, I don’t want a society where everyone is getting away with oppression and violent rhetoric. I want a society were everyone is held accountable for their shit. This selective thing, where white people can be as fucking terrible as they want but are welcomed back with open arms if they apologize is complete bullshit. Disgusting bullshit. It needs to stop.
But I also need you to stop saying that if white people can get away with horrible shit then Black people should be able to get away with it, too. That’s not the fucking lesson here. The lesson is that all those previously listed white people who hosted the Oscars shouldn’t have been able to host. They should have been held to higher standards than what Kevin Hart is facing. They should have to face the fire for the shit they’ve done, too.
But they are white and if this world has taught you anything, especially in these ultra-aware times, it’s that whiteness protects whiteness at the expense of everybody else. And when it’s white on white crime, white cis-het, able-bodied, “fit-bodied”, christian patriarchy rules supreme. This is what we need to fight. This is the actual enemy.
And to fight the enemy that is white cis-het, able-bodied, “fit-bodied”, christian patriarchy, we need to fight for EVERYBODY. Not just the respectable ones. Not just the ones who fit the model we’ve been conditioned to worship. Everyone.
Cuz if you aren’t fighting for us all, you are just fighting for the right to act like the oppressor and that makes you a fucking monster.
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Originally published at talynnkel.com.