Stop Using Black Women As A Punching Bag: Misogynoir & Racial Double Standards At The Oscars

I have.....A LOT to say on this.

If you haven't heard, the big moment from this weekend's Oscars is when Chris Rock made a joke towards Jada Smith, pushing her husband Will to storm the stage and slap him across the face. He then proceeded to go back to his seat and yell "Keep my wife's name out ya fuckin mouth!" In a nutshell, Chris Rock used his platform and his voice to degrade a black woman in front of her peers on live television.

Which is so ironic, considering that he released a whole documentary about Black women called "Good Hair", then he turns around and humiliates a black woman for her hair. This is yet another display of misogynoir, a term coined by Moya Bailey in 2010 as racism directed at black women where both racism and gender are at play. Throughout history, black women have always been the butt of people's jokes, the center of ridicule and judgment.

Will and Jada at the Oscars Red Carpet (via BBC)

Not to mention the oversexualization of black women as they are seen as "more mature and grown up", so they can withstand all kinds of trials and tribulations.

And unfortunately, this has become accepted, the norm. It's ok for our images and reputations to be dragged through the mud, and for no one to come to our rescue.

That's where Will comes in. He couldn't stand to see a room full of Jada's peers laughing at a joke directed at her autoimmune disease alopecia, which she has been very open about. So he took matters into his own hands and decided to smack Chris, giving him a physical reminder that actions have consequences. His reaction has been met with mixed responses, with some people in the black community commending him for defending his wife's honor while others are calling it over the line, even calling for his award to be taken away and for him to be banned from ever attending future ceremonies.

Here's the issue: There is a VERY clear racial double standard going on here. The only thing over the line is motioning for Will to suffer dire consequences for what he did, when there are Academy Award winners in the past who have done MUCH worse yet haven't been met with those words. They want to call it the ugliest Oscar moment? Here's one: An Indigenous activist named Sacheen Littlefeather was giving a speech at the 1973 Oscars on the treatment of Native Americans in the film industry. She was booed by several audience members, with actor John Wayne having to be restrained by 6 guards because he wanted to storm the stage. How embarrassing. Calls for Smith's Oscar award to be taken away? Then let's be fair and take away the Oscars of Harvey Weinstein and Roman Polanski, who are convicted rapists. While we do that, let's take away the Oscar of Mel Gibson, who has saw AWFUL remarks that were racist and anti-Semitic.

Sacheen Littlefeather making her iconic speech at the 1973 Oscars (via WikiWand)

The points that I'm trying to make are this: "Protect Black Women" needs to stop being a slogan and actually be something that people put into practice. Black women are sick and tired of this type of treatment that has been normalized for centuries. Protect us, actively protect us. I am not condoning violence by any means. But we need to stop demonizing Will Smith because at the end of the day, he is a human being whose emotions were running high at that moment because of the love he has for his wife. Words have consequences and you cannot restrict people's reactions, you cannot control the way people feel.

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