I knew that folks on the Right would be up in arms when ABC cancelled Roseanne.
I’m sophisticated enough to recognize the mental gymnastics the ill-informed would perform in order to protect their beloved Trump supporter. Their hate and ignorance goes so far that they don’t care that Roseanne Barr called a Black woman, former Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, an “ape.” Let them tell it, despite the long, torrid and documented history of people of African descent being called apes, monkeys and subhuman is all just a figment of our imaginations.
And let these same people tell it, while Barr is just exercising her right First Amendment to speak her truth, Colin Kaepernick is a terrorist for silently protesting state violence by taking a knee during the National Anthem. Hell, they’ve even gone as far as to scream that Jarret, whose doctor father couldn’t walk through the front doors of the Chicago hospital he worked at back in the day because of his race, isn’t really Black.
But this is merely par for the course for “free thought” in Trump’s America.
I’m clear that a huge crux of ya’all’s President’s followers shamelessly lacks common sense and advocates that facts just don’t matter. And since the election, I’ve just accepted this to be our new reality. But the jagged little pill I’m having an incredibly hard time swallowing is the amount of excuses and mental backflips too many white liberals are making in order to pacify these blatant and dangerous racists.
Case in point: Jimmy Kimmel.
On Wednesday (May 30), ABC’s late-night talk show host took to social media to scold us critics for not having compassion for Barr, because without an actual and official diagnosis, she’s “mentally ill.”
@TheRealRoseanne said is indefensible, but angrily attacking a woman who is obviously not well does no good for anyone. Please take a breath and remember that mental health issues are real. The Roseanne I know could probably use some compassion and help right now,” he haphazardly scribbled on Twitter.
Yes, this grown man really just told Americans to temper their critiques because a grown ass 65-year-old woman, known for promoting racism, xenophobia and conspiracy theories on her social media pages, appears to be unstable.
Listen. I can’t speak to Barr’s mental state, despite her blaming sleep aid Ambien for her bigotry, but last time I checked being “crazy” isn’t equivalent to being racist, nor is it an excuse for it. Actually, the two have absolutely nothing to do with the other.
I also don’t care about this Roseanne he thought he knew. We are dealing and reckoning with the Roseanne that’s been this way for years. Jimmy: Where was all this concern when she had a photo shoot dressed up as a Hitler pulling cookies shaped like Jewish Holocaust victims out of an oven?
Thankfully, those with decency seem to agree and weren’t letting Kimmel get away with this silly conflating and giving those with mental illness a bad name:
In addition, as I tweeted earlier, let’s not forget the following question: Where’s this same compassion for Black women who have to witness being called primates?
Not surprisingly, when it comes to us, this collective empathy is always MIA.
Instead of trying to explain away Barr’s utter hatred, it would have been nice if Kimmel recognized the trauma we consistently encounter for being caught in the crosshairs of white supremacy on a daily basis.
It’s so damn frustrating to see folks like Barr coast off their white womanhood in order to garner sympathy for being dangerous and evil, meanwhile we don’t have that luxury. On a whim, these same women can call the police on us for innocently living our lives because our bodies are automatically read as dangerous, problematic and expendable.
Oh, the bridge called our backs.
And even in that fact, Black women are always expected to be graceful in our response to the staunch oppression and disrespect we face. For example, when Jarret was on MSNBC’s recent “Everyday Racism in America” special, she was the stoic pillar of what we’re told we need to be: Strong, unaffected and indestructible.
She stressed that Barr’s tweets were “a teachable moment” and that she was “fine.”
“I think we have to turn it into a teaching moment. I’m fine. I’m worried about all the people out there who don’t have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defense—the person who’s walking down the street minding their own business and they see somebody cling to their purse or want to cross the street. Or every black parent I know who has a boy who has to sit down and have a conversation—“the talk,” as we call it. As you say, those ordinary examples of racism that happen every single day. And I think that’s why I’m so glad to be here this evening talking with all of you.”
Of course, I applaud Jarrett for exerting such decorum—cause her critics sure as hell won’t.
But I’m also sick of Black women having to be the pillar of social graces when we’re under attack. Regardless of what our queen Michelle Obama says, when folks like Barr go low–and Kimmel tries to rationalize that deplorable behavior–I don’t want to go high. I just want to knee these jokers in the face.
What’s so wrong with that?