The media is a persistent foe to the black community and has been since its conception. Media portrayal of black people was never to benefit black people. Media was not developed or intended to improve black self-esteem or raise black awareness; rather, the media exists to spread white propaganda. This propaganda merely diversifies its violent portrayal in time—a portrayal masterfully implemented in the twenty-first century. Here, I speak specifically to the twenty-first century’s fixation on presenting the black collective as racist.
For decades, many desired mainstream engagement with social issues like race, gender, and sexuality. Specifically, many desired to see more conversations about racism, notably systemic racism and invisible acts and attitudes that enable racism to remain pervasive. The time has finally arrived. However, though there are a lot of words being spoken so much remains unsaid.
Presently, the white world uses terms like “racism,” “patriarchy,” and even “systemic racism” but these words work functioned against the black collective. So while the current climate enables many to identify blatant acts of white supremacy, the same ideology casts blacks as villains amidst a system that continues to find more nuanced ways to oppress black people.
Most importantly, the most truthful and empowering perspectives remain the least popular. As black people, we are supposed to view our oppression as an equal playing field where we struggle alongside those who have acquired the very rights and platforms we worked lifetimes to obtain. Now, though we have always been encouraged to forget, we are now not only encouraged to forgive but to ask for forgiveness.
An example of this is the recent Kevin Hart “scandal.” Before rendering my analysis, I want to clarify that this issue is far bigger than one black man. The road to justice is paved in black bodies rendered casualties in an ongoing war against black people. This examination is an effort to expose this war as it manifests through the black “celebrity.”
In this instance, as we as a society have seen countless times before, a black person faces present consequences for past actions. Spaces saturated and enabled by racism—the news and The Academy—accuse Hart of making a series of homophobic comments in a standup routine. The Academy demanded an apology or threatened to find another host. Many responded in “outrage.” Suddenly when black people are not the butt of the joke, jokes stop being funny and comedians are no longer jokesters but taken with a glaring seriousness. This act is significant for two reasons:
The Academy never intended for Kevin Hart to host. They simply wanted to appear as if they extended a black man an opportunity that he “messed up.’ The appearance of liberalism has made actual liberal activities and thought superfluous in a world that employs poison to veil the superficiality and emptiness of its gestures.
This is also merely another act of the LBGT community targeting black men. Now, allow to clarify my contention. When I (in this instance) reference the LGBT community, I speak specifically to a white faction that claims minority status. Though this community would have the masses believe otherwise, blacks remain marginalized and violently omitted from their feats. Specifically, blacks benefit only in coincidence, as “intersectional” factions like sexuality and gender fail to centralize black issues by default. Intersectional identities, form the LBGT community to gender, namely women, are merely whites diversifying their oppression by burning both ends of the candle. By this I mean that “intersectional” white people occupy placement as both victim and victor in a society made for their franchisement. These factions often use black bodies against another black body, as a means to veil their racism. Their goal is not to dismantle white supremacy, but to abduct alterity from black people while promoting alterity for the black collective.
Even Hart’s recent interview with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres perpetuates the problem at hand. In his interview, Kevin Hart references his experience with who he calls “trolls” as marking a “Success based on damage.” His monologue, engulfed in an emotion not commonly seen in the comedian, reeks of individualism, and of a black man who though wounded by racism refuses to acknowledge its wrath. Notably, the “success based on racism” that Hart references is racism. Race however, does not come up in his discussion with Degeneres simply because it cannot.
Instead, DeGeneres underscored Hart’s apology and ignores his blackness. Degeneres’ emphasis asserts Hart’s apology as a fulfilled prerequisite and proclaims that Hart deserves a shot at assimilatory symbolism because of said apology. This emphasis illuminates the ever-present image of the white savior simultaneously depicting that black bodies always have allies in their attempts to assimilate. Hart’s visit to DeGeneres allows DeGeneres to appear to forgive her “attacker.” This casts Degeneres the individual, and the LGBT collective, as victims of black men, a status only enabled by a hegemonic society where whites, despite projecting and benefiting from hate, can appropiate love.
Both DeGeneres and Hart ignore race and sexuality in their discussion– a discussion more symbolic than anything. Degeneres and Hart also ignore the Hart of the matter by focusing on Hart as an individual. Individualism not only thwarts black advancement but makes blacks susceptible to “allies” who recruit the black assimilationist to promote anti-blackness.
This act also functions to suggest that sexuality is a core contention that the black community must resolve. They key issue that the black community must resolve is white hegemony. Thus, Kevin Hart’s persecution is merely another attempt to distract the black collective from what is most important. White supremacy functions to delineate conflict that steers blacks away from the true issue and into the flames of falsehood.
The most important issue here is that these instances, like many issues in the past and many issues to come, perpetuates black people as oppressors. This is exactly what the world witnessed last month when Dwight Howard was outed by an alleged Trans lover who said the basketball player threatened her life. Dwight Howard, Kevin Hart, or any black man, do not occupy positions in this society that determine the quality of life for any faction. In fact, they are affected by those who do. Neither Hart nor Howard occupy the face to the systemic forces that threaten the safety, education, upward mobility, relevance, and legacy of others. To believe this is to misunderstand racism and to misunderstand racism is to endure a life of confusion. A confusion that makes many people believe that the black man needs to apologize where the black collective is in need of a physical apology accompanied by a myriad of gestures and statutes.
If you listen to the white media, the black man is the devil manifested in the mask of a sexual predator. Immersed in this confusion, you don’t question why Bill Cosby is in prison while white men who have raped continue to rape without consequence. The media will have you forget that the white men who raped Recy Taylor went free and the white man who raped Betsy Owens not only got out of prison but killed a woman he believed exposed his savagery years prior. The media will also have us forgetting that Tawana Brawley’s life was ruined for speaking out about her rape and that she’s still paying her attacker. The media will have you in complete oblivion about the repeated systemic offenses of white men in favor of constructing the black man as a false villain.
The media is merely a virtual his-story book, where whiteness is the “pure” saving grace, and black bodies mark the downfall of a society erected in black blood, sweat, and tears. Yet in the western fixation on presenting the black man as the devil, it is imperative to note that what the media engenders is a mask and the “devil” isn’t a mask, but a face…
Black Power ❤
2 Comments Add yours
“This emphasis illuminates the ever-present image of the white savior simultaneously depicting that black bodies always have allies in their attempts to assimilate.”
Great post CC! Hart didn’t have to apologize at all. This was blown way out of proportion. I didn’t even watch the Ellen interview. Not sure if I could stomach it.