December 8, 2011 8 Comments
If you’ve been on the internets for the last week or so, you’ve probably noticed the Awkward Black Girl/Crunk Feminist Collective kerfluffle, in which the CFC reached out to ABG after watching CeCe drop the “T-bomb” in the latest episode. The open letter addressed to Issa Rae and Company was clearly written in good spirit and reverence. (You can read it in its entirety here.) Notice that there is no stomping of feet, no demand for an apology, no sanctimonious grandstanding. It’s more of a “hey, we just wanted y’all to know that we noticed this and it kinda made us feel uncomfortable but we still love y’all, ‘k?” which–just so we’re clear–isn’t an nasty, hate-filled missive.
But the vitriol the CFC’s gotten for having the audacity to speak up? Definitely nasty and hate-filled.
You’ve got cats over here applauding Rae for not giving in to “pandemic hypersensitivity.” You’ve got broads over here telling the CFC to STFU and have seat. And in the race to be Johnny-On-The-Spot when controversy explodes, the main point tends to get lost in the clamor. That most of the backlash is coming from black women is terribly troubling, because if any group has been more maligned in the last, say…several years? Let’s just say it hasn’t been white women. Or unicorns.
I get that it’s art and that it’s neat to see one of us on the small screen and that everyone likes it. I, too, am a big fan of the series. But that doesn’t mean it’s beyond reproach. Art exists to be critiqued. It exists to be explored and debated. It also exists to be improved upon. No one was asking for a “this week, on a very special Blossom” moment; they were merely asking the writers to be mindful of the language used. As fans (and perhaps financial supporters) of the show, they have a right to make that request.
Unless you’re a part of that group, you don’t get the right to dictate how people respond to hurtful language. (And even if you *are* a member of said group, realize that mileage varies.) Nor do you get to dismiss the feelings of others because they don’t fit your myopic worldview. Understand that whenever a debate like this happens, whenever we take it upon ourselves to deny the humanity of others, we, too, suffer greatly for it.