One of the more tiresome pastimes in media and political criticism is the policing of Other People’s Blackness, a peril that befell comedian John Fugelsang when he tried to slam Stacey Dash on Twitter for opining that if black people want to be included in the Oscars, then they should do away with blacks-only institutions (which actually do include whites) like BET, the BET Awards, and the NAACP Image awards.
On Thursday morning’s NewsOneNow, host Roland Martin showed how it’s done, with factness, not blackness.
Martin began by pointing out that white people do participate in and win the award ceremonies Dash cited, then began a slideshow of Dash’s appearances on the covers of pretty much every black-skewing magazine known to man, and several I think he just made up. He finished by advising Dash to give him a call next time before she goes on Fox News:
If you go on Fox News and you dare to open your mouth to criticize things that are black-specific, you might want to check your own history and your past, Stacey. Because guess what? I know how to use Google, I know how to call you out, because see I’m not a fake, fraudulent commentator on television, see? I don’t act. This is real. I went to school for this. You didn’t.
So the next time you embarrass yourself, and you lie, please pull your phone out, pull your iPad, and say ‘Let me at least call a brother like Roland, who might tell me before I go on, don’t make a ass outta yourself, lookin’ like a damn fool.’
Roland managed to critique Stacey Dash without making it about her own blackness, but rather about her factually deficient attack on blackness. Trying to be the arbiter of blackness is a trap for anyone, especially if you’re white, because there are as many gradients to blackness as there are to anything else. Ironically, people would know that better if we had a more representative media culture, and there’d be no need for a BET. That’s an obvious point that has been lost in all the fact-wrecking and fact-checking around Stacey Dash.