The Fault in Our Selfishness

Articulate and poised is how many would describe former Alaskan news reporter Charlo Green, prior to her abrupt and profane live announcement of “ F—k it, I quit.” Seemingly forgetting that she is in fact a black woman, Green fallaciously believed her mistake to mirror the acts of a martyr.

The reasoning behind Greene’s actions are that she wishes to devote her time and energy to the legalization of cannabis. While her assertion of passion over paycheck is admirable to some, her reason of assertion is cause for criticism. Simply put, the cause that prompted Greene’s behavior leaves much to be desired.

While the language was certainly inexcusable, a worthy cause would have earned respect amidst the acquired attention of her viral video. Quitting your job to join the peace corps, teach, travel or write is admirable. Quitting your job to fight for the legalization of a drug that doesn’t solve any major societal problems or cure any terminal diseases, lacks any resonating factor. Depicting larger or more significant issues as flying over the heads of blacks, Greene’s actions reflect blackness as choosing pleasure over principle. Greene’s dedication to the uninhibited pleasure of getting high implies the prevalence of marijuana over seeking reparations, lowering the cost of higher education, encouraging cultural understanding or curing diseases. So, Charlo’s proclamation of the prevalence of marihuana has become yet another means to substantiate the presumed simplicity of blacks.

Greene seemingly mistook her efforts to mirror Angelina Jolie’s character in 2002 film, Life or Something Like It. In this movie, Jolie plays Lanie Kerrigan a young reporter who has televised, and expletive-filled melt down to a Rolling Stones song. This outburst unrealistically results in the promotion of a lifetime.

Unlike Greene, Jolie’s character was a white woman. Vulgar and provocative translates to edgy and assertive when aligned with white bodies. When aligned with black women, these attributes are labeled classless and impious. Greene’s poise and exceptional ability to articulate undoubtedly convinced Green that she is exceptional, and that her nurtured attributes countered any negative perception that may follow.

Greene seems oblivious to the reality that despite her poise and exceptional ability to articulate, she is still very suspectible to the seemingly unwavering negativity attached to black bodies. When your image is already negative, your acquired negative attention will afford you no privileges.

With that said, the attention that she has received for her tasteless act is because she is performing within the bounds of how black femininity is conceptualized. Had Greene’s exit been tasteful, and for a worthy cause, she would have gotten a sentence in Ebony at best. Society functions on the ability to maintain traditional images of race, not defy them.
Greene’s behavior will without a doubt replay in the minds of executives each time a young black woman approaches their studios for a job. Over time,her name will fade into the shades of insignificance, and it’ll become “ Do you remember, that black girl who cussed and quit her job?” So, thank you Ms. Greene for throwing us all under the bus with your foolish selfishness.
Unfortunately, what Green failed to realize is that this issue is much larger than herself. In her ambitions for attention, Green compromised not only her own personal and political integrity, but the personal and political integrity of countless black females scattered along the globe.

It seems as though the allure of a post racial society has seduced many to abandon the politics that come with blackness. More specifically, contemporary society entices many to place the individual over the totality of the race. All of the black diaspora, are pieces of a puzzle. Without the puzzle there is no us, and without us there is no puzzle. The key to overcoming the shadow cast over us is through selflessness. We must see our people in ourselves, as an inspiration to work that much harder. Everything we do as individuals has the potential to help or hinder us as a people, as does everything we fail to do. So thank you Charlo, for illustrating selfishness as seductive yet flawed. Demonstrating once again Shakespeare’s famous line: the fault isn’t in our stars, but in ourselves- or perhaps more specifically, in our selfishness.

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