I said it yesterday that I would probably have to respond to some foolishness and like clockwork I was not disappointed. So last week Univision TV host Rodner Figueroa said that Michelle Obama looked like someone from the Planet of the Apes. Thankfully he was fired with a swiftness. I’m not even going to respond to his foolishness because I am not surprised. Just look at the television stations that target the Latino population in the United States alone, there are hardly if any dark skinned Afro-Latinos who claim that identity. As anyone who studies race in Latin American countries knows the whole mestizaje rhetoric of them being a mixed people is used but at the same time the societies are very anti-black (just look through my older posts on the topic). So I am not concerned about Mr.. Figueroa and his half-hearted apology trying to shift blame on the make up artist he was referring to, I am writing this post because of Miss Raven Symone who took it upon herself to defend him. *Insert WHAT? along with other sounds of confusion* Now I guess I should not be surprised this is the same Raven Symone who said she was not African American but American. So many would think that she got her life together after Black Twitter came for her (We forget that Oprah warned her before hand). She did after all say she never said she wasn’t black (sounds like back peddling to me).
But once again Raven showed how she wants to be a part of the “New Black” School of thought where apparently we stop telling the truth about racism in America. This is the same Raven who not only became famous for staring in the best black family show on TV but after her ridiculous comments it seemed like she was a politician doing damage control with her black voter base as she stared as Olivia on FOX’s Empire and is going to visit the wonderful sitcom black-ish. When I saw her in Empire and heard about her going to black-ish, I was not impressed and I’m glad to because she once again showed her behind and naivete when it comes to race in America. She cannot claim one minute to not be African American and then accept roles that require her to be. She was born in the United States and her heritage is African American end of story. When she said that to me it read as a form of self hatred that she would deny that part of her identity in order to more easily assimilate to the racial state of America which STILL views her as African American/Black and less than human.
Her new statement is just plainly a denial of reality. She said she did not think Figueroa’s “joke” as racist because people say she looks like a bird (Oh lord. Not only is this a gross simplification but it makes me wonder what Raven thinks about our First Lady and other black people in general). This is why we need to teach black history in all our schools because apparently Miss Symone missed the point that apes and monkeys are racialized images used to describe black people. That is why we had the blacklash (not a typo) against the New York Post cartoon comparing President Obama to the chimpanzee shot by police officers in 2009 in Connecticut.There are also the lovely Ferguson emails where the President Obama was again compared to a chimpanzee. Raven’s statement is also deadly because someone will believe that they are not racist because a black person validated their beliefs concerning Figueroa’s “joke.” Said person can then have some interaction with a black man/woman that turns negative to the point where this person “feels threatened”, shoots and kills the black person, then explain away their actions as not being racist. This nameless person would then go on to live while the black person is demonized in the media. So no Raven it was racist. I am so glad and proud of Rosie Perez who put Raven in her place so quick. As a Latina, she could have easily gone with the status quo that exists in her community and denied that racism played a role in the comment but she spoke the truth and called out the ugliness of racism that still exists in the Latino community here in the United States and abroad in Latin America and the Caribbean. I believe that when more lighter skinned Latinos start speaking out against racism in their community, that is the beginning of positive change. So kudos to Rosie and side eye to Raven. Someone get Raven and educate her because obviously her life as a child star prevented her from learning about the realities of how racism, race, and blackness function. I won’t hold my breath and I’ll probably need several thermoses of tea to get through whatever she says next. So to Raven this is what I have to say to you.
List of Current Subscribers to New Black Ideology *Read as Confused*:
- Pharrell Williams
- Raven Symone
- Kanye West
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