By now, many of us are probably growing fatigued by the continued discussion around Will Smith smacking Chris Rock at the Oscars. There are no more fresh takes. This issue has been hot-taked to death.
Mostly, I’m just tired of culturally ignorant white people opinions on the matter.
Also, I hate Bill Maher. I wrote a whole essay about all the reasons I hate Bill Maher.
Really, it all boils down to one reason—Bill Maher is a compulsive whitesplainer. Who the hell asked Bill Maher’s opinion on how Jada Pinkett-Smith, or Black women in general, for that matter, should feel about alopecia and their hair falling out because of it?
As Blavity reported, during the Friday episode of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, the show’s host decided, in all his infinite white male wisdom, that he knows more about how Jada should feel about Rock’s joke than she does.
“Comparing a woman to Demi Moore looking her hottest is not exactly the worst insult I’ve ever heard in the world,” he declared.
“I mean alopecia, it’s not leukemia OK?” he went on to say. “Alopecia is when your hair falls out—there are worse things.”
Finally, Maher came through with unsolicited advice saying that Jada should “just put on a f**king wig like everybody else at the Oscars if it bothers you so much.”
So here’s the thing…
Why is this white man forever trying to tell marginalized people how they should feel about sh** he would know nothing about?
It really misses the point to say that alopecia isn’t serious enough to warrant offense or that Rock’s joke wasn’t all that bad. Jada felt how she felt about it and she has the right to her own feelings. Why are her feelings even up for debate when she didn’t slap anybody? It isn’t anyone’s place, especially not someone as hueless and clueless as Maher, to say how Jada should feel about what she is experiencing.
Will saw the look on his wife’s face and he did a thing about it. Was it the wrong thing? Probably. But people get slapped for saying the wrong thing every day, B. All this fire and brimstone coming from pearl-clutching white people is irritating enough. But white men speaking on Black women and their relationship with their hair? Well, I’ll just let Black Twitter tell it.
Again, how the hell would Maher—a man whose existence in America is that of a demonstrably privileged straight white male—have any frame of reference for how a Black woman should feel about losing her hair. He’s a man, so he hasn’t experienced the pressure put on women to present a certain way. And he’s white, so he has no understanding of how Blackness adds extra stigma to the burden on women and how they present themselves.
He also doesn’t know anything about how Black women are about their hair. Incidentally, Rock does. He did a whole documentary about it.
People like Maher just need to understand it’s OK to recognize when they’re out of their lane and STFU.
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