Sometimes black folks embarrass the hell outta me. The stereotype threat is a pain in the ass. When you love your people, it hurts like hell to see them or hear about them act the fool. You feel embarrassed and ashamed of them and for them. Even though you shouldn’t have to feel that way, especially when you’re not one of those people, you still do, because you feel judged as part of that dysfunctional crowd. And sometimes you are. Your entire collective is grouped together as part of the insane and maladjusted few due to certain people with enough prejudice not to see you as individuals. That’s what it feels like to be part of the “other” in this society.
In the past few days, the celebrity news media has been up in arms about the departure of one Columbus Short (pictured above), the actor formally in that popular ABC series Scandal. Almost all reports state that his leaving the show was due, in large part, to news about his recent violent outbursts against his wife, himself and a bar patron. Why is he acting crazy is anyone’s guess. But leave to comedian D. L. Hugley to berate the victim by basically saying how she’s a manipulative gold digger out for Short’s money who needs to shut up. (SMH) Someone needs to shut up alright, and it’s not Short’s wife.
Then there’s Jameis Winston, the Heisman trophy recipient who was cleared of sexual assault charges early this year, who was caught shoplifting crab legs. Even though he says he forgot to pay them and he won’t be charged and sent to jail, the internet is having a field day over this creating jokes and memes left to right. Sure enough, this petty crime will add on to Winston’s already questionable image, and will likely brand him as just another ball playing thug who gets into trouble between games.
Even though this crab leg incident may have been a mistake, it shows one terrible truth about being black and famous. We can never slip up or lash out, let alone be human. But if you’re white and famous, people will forgive and support you. Look at Woody Allen and Roman Polanski.
There were other incidents of black folks going wild and crazy or ignorant and stupid this week alone. (How do I know this? TMZ says so.) Unless you’ve been asleep, it’s part of everyday life. Black people mess up just like any other human being. But in this so-called civilized society, our misdeeds and errors are not only attributed to our skin color or culture, but defines the entire race as a whole.
I mentioned TMZ earlier as it seems to be the go-to site for all celebrity news. When I checked it out, I noticed that in one article it had the tag words ‘TMZblack’. So, I clicked on it, and the first five pages of results had nothing but articles of black celebrity silliness, brawls and legal battles. On the other hand, most articles dealing with white celebrities are more balanced. Sure, some discussed some drama, but there were other topics, mostly fashion.
I also noticed Justin Bieber appearing within those TMZblack results. Maybe it’s because since he’s associated with hip-hop and has gotten his crazy ass in trouble with the law several times, that must make him black too, eh? (SMH again)
I don’t condone or excuse violence against women. But if the subject of domestic violence is to be discussed and tackled, racializing it is a half-assed move by color-aroused hypocrites hiding their own racial bullshit. They would condemn Chris Brown, but they would not utter the name of Charlie Sheen in the same breath. Something’s wrong with that picture.
Actors like Short can’t go off the deep end and think that he’ll still have offers and deals like Charlie Sheen, Robert Downey, Jr. or even Mel Gibson, to name a few. When brothas in Hollywood screw up even once, they’re lucky if someone still hires them. When white actors screw up, Hollywood would still go out of their way to make sure they stay on screen, unless – of course – they kill someone.
When famous black people screw up, I feel disappointed, especially when they seem like positive folks disproving negative stereotypes and when there’s so few positive images of black folks on TV. (You know and I know that’s true.) But still, they are human and individuals. It’s common sense lost in the ignorance of white supremacy. The problems faced by black people that all humans face gets turned into black pathologies.
If they continue to fuck up, it’s time to move on, hope they’ll change and seek help and not let their problems shame you. After all, we do not have a hive mindset. So, why should we feel like shit because of some fools? Why should we hang our heads in shame because of the idiocy and insanity of a few?
The bottom line is that no matter what, black people, ordinary citizens or well-known personalities, can never be seen as human beings the same way whites are. There are plenty of black men who defy stereotypes, but like I always say, the public doesn’t want to know about them as often as the ball player with multiple baby mamas, the rapper with a long rap sheet or the actor who has issues with women. As long as there are stereotype threats in the streets of the rich and famous, tabloid news outlets like TMZ will continue to thrive as long as people come to see and read what fucked up things black folks have done again.