Being a black woman in a racist world is hard.
Our natural hair gets hated on, then our weaves and wigs get hated on, our noses are too big, then too contoured, our curves are too much, then too little, we're too dark to be human, then too light to be "BLACK-black"...issa problem no matter what we do. The exception to this rule that has ALWAYS been consistent in people's born-from-the-butt issues with us, is the idea that "Black women talk too much", especially on issues of race, even if we pretty much always have something quite worthwhile to contribute.
championship roast hands pic.twitter.com/3Q2jU3SA9l— sizzled sphincter (@dapisdope) December 6, 2017
Even considering the leaps and bounds we've made in the progressive march towards black femme representation in background staffs and in front of the camera, the prevailing thought in FAR too many media outlets seems to be that people—and I love y'all, but let's be real—specifically white people, will actually spontaneously combust if they're ever made to consider being genuinely empathetic to the struggles of their fellow human beings via adult discussion. And when Sharon Reed of CBS46 got an email filled with attempted racial epithets on exactly that subject, she went IN in the classiest way possible.
You'll want to stick your pinky out just to listen to this.
News anchor Sharon Reed responds on air to a viewer who calls her the N-word. This Atlanta Mayoral race has people fiesty tonight. pic.twitter.com/Vgri3oXnGN— Billy Michael Honor (@BillyMHonor) December 6, 2017
First of all, while nigger is absolutely a slur that should only be reclaimed by black people if they so choose, Niger, is a landlocked country in Africa. The more you know...ideally.
Second of all though, as a woman who still tends to either shut down completely or spit invectives through her tears when confronted with this kind of disgusting divisive rhetoric myself, I have to commend Ms. Sharon on her poise. Her clapback was like modern minimalist art: the beauty lies in its negative space, in what she chose to NOT say. And while I don't think there's any particularly WRONG way to call out racist behavior (it's like eating an Oreo, the only thing that matters is that you're doing it), I have to say I very much respect the way this newscaster handled herself, and the way she chose to let this level of evil speak for itself.
Twitter user tohimiowe/CBS 46
So does this mean I advocate the 'Give them enough rope' approach in all things regarding bigotry?
Absolutely not, though I can't say I don't appreciate the irony in the turn of phrase. But what's going on here isn't JUST that Kathy Rae's email was shown onscreen and read on the air with 0% challenge, it's that a black woman read it and provided a reaction from her OWN historically maligned perspective AND made sure it was explicitly known that her word was the last word on the subject. Look at Sharon's face, her 'you messed UP' hand gestures, listen to her appealing to what year it is in her poised dismissal, and the way she even makes the emailer's name ITSELF sound like an insult. This sort of lack of verbiage isn't the same as just giving racists room to speak and recruit as they please, this is a woman reclaiming her time on air to say 'This is the foolishness I've been made to put up with and I've decided that it isn't worth my effort to craft a long drawn out rebuttal'.
"On December 5th, 2017, you think it's okay to call this journalist a nigger. I don't."
I don't either, Sharon. As a friend of a friend, Ms. Taylor Behnke put it "My time is black owned". That means it's worth investing in it wisely. Go 'head, girl.
What do you think, curl community? How would you have handled this? And for our non-black readers, how would you have handled the closest equivalent slur to your own race or ethnicity? Let us know and keep it kind!