Quick Thoughts On D. Wade, G. Union, and Internet Trolls

This has been going through my mind for a little while and the most recent incident caused me to decide to address it here.

As we know, DeWayne Wade has a son who is a part of the LGBT community. Both Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, have been vocally supportive of their son on his identity journey.

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I think this is good. I repeat, I think this is good. I felt the need to repeat and embolden that part because what I’m about to talk about may sound like I feel the opposite and I know how some of y’all can be when you don’t read exactly what you wanted to read.

There has been more than one instance where after posting family pictures, adult meanies on social media have made untoward comments about Wade and his son. These comments usually come out of the mouths of homophobic people who feel Wade should bring his son into subjection in terms of his expression of his identity. In other words, they don’t like that his son is allowed to wear fake nails, or crop tops, or whatever else these internet commentators deem feminine wares.

Usually, Wade or Union will “clap back.” They will address the meanies and talk about how they love their child and support him and it’s their business and choice to do so. They get a lot of media attention for being good parents. People pine over the way they support their son.

The question I have is, when is the clapback only adding to the insult or injury of the initial mean comments?

Let me explain. When you “clap back,” you are dignifying the comment that you’re clapping back to. You may not realize it, but when you address anything, positive, negative, or in between, you are acknowledging that even if the comment wasn’t nice or educated, it was a valid expression.

In other words, instead of letting it die at the end of the sentence, you give it a life.

At some point, I wonder if Wade and Union’s clapbacks and the subsequent praise from the media about their clapbacks is merely causing their son to relive the bigoted comments directed towards him.

For example, if I have a child and my child comes home crying and tells me that Johnny called her ugly, and I comfort the child and reaffirm her beauty, that’s good. But, if when my (imaginary) husband comes home, I tell him while we’re all eating dinner, “Johnny called her ugly today,” and then, when her grandma calls later, I get on the phone and say, “A little boy called her ugly today…” while my child is sitting next to me watching television, am I allowing my child the opportunity to sit in and absorb the reaffirmation that I gave her when I keep replaying the insult to everybody who will listen?

Now, pretend I was a celebrity with millions of followers who not only is going to clap back, but have my clapback shared by millions of followers and mass media and even end up doing an interview or two about the situation. Despite the fact that I’ve reaffirmed my child, Johnny and his ugly comment is given a life as it plays non-stop on the social media news cycle and my reaffirmed child has to keep hearing and seeing it until social media gets bored and moves on to the next piece of nonsense.

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This is my peripheral concern with Wade’s son and his parents’ need to address the ugliness that comes out on the internet. Raising children can be tricky because on the one hand, you want to be tender with them as they deserve and give them a worry-free childhood. On the other hand, you have to prepare them. You have to prepare them for the fact that some people won’t like them for no reason at all. You have to prepare them for the fact that some people will think they’re too tall, or too short, or too fat, or too thin, etc. Unfortunately, if you’re a part of a marginalized group, that goes double.

You have to teach them that the people who just want to pull them down are ultimately the people they need to avoid. In the social media era, that also means that those  commenters are the people you don’t need to spend your time clapping back at every time you decide to post a picture and they decide to be hateful.

The truth is, your clapback won’t make them abandon their bigotry, (and sickeningly enough, may gain them more popularity). And it’s likely that some of these people, no matter how much you clap back, will only make sure they show up in the comments of your next picture with similarly foul sentiments.

Am I saying they should stop posting family pictures? Absolutely not. They have the right to celebrate their family like anybody else does. I do think it’s time to stop taking the bait of randos on Instagram and Twitter with enough time on their hands to express their displeasure about a crop top.

Personally, I hope the Thanksgiving picture controversy is the last time Wade or Union feel the need to engage bigoted trolls. I think it will set a good example, not just for their own children but for the rest of us as well.

My Thoughts On Cancel Culture

This week (so far), there have been a couple of notable celebrity dustups that are once again forcing people to decide whether or not their fave (or would be) is #cancelled. 

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The first that comes to mind is Shane Gillis. He was hired…and then fired…by SNL when previous anti-Asian and homophobic remarks were discovered. It didn’t help that hired along with Gillis was Bowen Yang, SNL’s first East Asian cast member and an openly gay man. The comedy community has come out to defend him and express their disagreement with SNL’s decision. Gillis offered to apologize to anyone who may have been offended or hurt but also said that his comedy career requires him to take risks. 

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About two or three weeks ago, people (re)canceled Dave Chappelle because of jokes he told on his latest comedy special for Netflix. One of the jokes that stands out to me is when Chappelle said that transgender people are in a “hilarious predicament” and then mused about what would happen if he went around telling people he was Chinese in a nigga body (paraphrase) making the face similar to the one Mickey Rooney donned when he played a Chinese man in “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” and speaking in a stereotypically exaggerated Asian accent.

Of course, the think pieces flowed. Some loved it and thought that Chappelle offered the kind of comedy that makes us think. Others hated it, called him all kinds of -phobic, and said that “punching down” is not funny. Interestingly enough, he also addressed cancel culture in his routine. 

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Lastly, Lizzo narrowly escaped cancellation when she angered several fans after she accused a Postmates runner of stealing her order. She posted the name and pic of the person. Many people thought Lizzo was wrong for “snitching.” Some said that Lizzo was wrong because the runner works in the service industry (notoriously low-paying) and would likely be fired. Lizzo issued an apology yesterday saying that she would be more responsible with her tweeting as apparently, the young woman was doxxed by hardcore fans (unconfirmed). 

Personally, I feel like there are categories of cancellation. Someone like R. Kelly needs to not only be #cancelled but abducted, tortured, and buried alive so that he slowly feels the life leave his body due to preying on children for more than two decades. 

But I think there are a couple of things that people are forgetting. First, nobody is born “woke.” We all make mistakes and missteps. Even if what was said was written as a part of a comedy routine (Chappelle) or a line in an outrageous podcast episode (Gillis), most of us have said things that would get us #cancelled by today’s standards. 

Yes, there are entire e-annals at this point on what’s taboo these days. Believe it or not, though, there are a lot of people who do not spend 70% of their day on social media trying to learn what’s been added to the Do Not Say List every day. I’m guessing most of the people on the famous list make up a big chunk of those people. 

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Let me stop here to say that Shane Gillis used legit slurs. To me, that’s different than someone telling a joke about a certain demographic. I never knew who he was until this happened but I can definitely distinguish between him and Dave Chappelle. 

Two, and this may be a shocker, I’d actually much rather know what a person thinks or feels than for them to be tip-toeing around with a big politically correct smile on their face. If the person wishes all niggers would die, let me know; especially if they work in medicine, law enforcement, or the judiciary. Someone who tells jokes or stands on stage singing and doing the Reebok in a leotard for a living? I really couldn’t care less unless I’m such a fan that my hard (oh so hard)-earned money may have gone to them at some point. 

Three, there are other people you still like and have not yet #cancelled who say and believe the same things (if not worse) that you’ve #cancelled other people for. Soooo….is it that you don’t like people thinking and speaking that way or is it that you don’t want them expressing it in a public forum? 

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***Note: evaluation of your WQ (Woke Quotient) is dependent upon how you answered that question.

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The truth is, if you wanted to cancel everybody who says or believes -ist things, you’d likely quit your job, move out of your neighborhood, and settle in an area uninhabited by other humans somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Your 100% politically correct friend would be a dolphin…or a shark.                                                                                                                        

I still use the word “crazy” and I don’t bristle when I hear “the r-word.” I guess that makes me cancel-worthy or at least complicit. *shrug* I think we all could use a crash course in managing our expectations of our fellow humans. 

What’s It Worth? The Colorado Baker is Being Sued Again and I Honestly Don’t Know Why

By now, we’ve all heard of the Colorado bakery that was sued for declining to make a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding. If you haven’t (you really should read more), Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop was sued by Charlie Craig and David Mullins for refusing to make a cake for their wedding citing his (Phillip’s) Christian faith. This happened in the summer of 2012.

Of course, the couple sued and after various wins and appeals, a Christian organization (Alliance Defending Freedom) took up the case on Phillips’ behalf and got the case to the Supreme Court. In July of 2018, the bakery owner won with the SCOTUS ruling 7-2 in his favor. It was determined that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission did not apply the Constitution with religious neutrality in its evaluation of the case.

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Fast forward to July of 2019. This cakeshop owner was again sued by a transgender individual, Autumn Scardina, for declining to make a cake celebrating a gender transition. This will be the 2nd time Scardina has sued him, first through the same Colorado commission and now, with Scardina’s own legal team.

That makes three times that this bakery owner has been sued; basically, for the same thing.

This time, the Supreme Court has declined to hear the case (I don’t blame them) and Phillips’ position is that Scardina is trying to rehash something that has already been settled.

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It should be noted that Autumn Scardina is an attorney, called in to order the cake, volunteered that this birthday cake was to celebrate gender transition and after the employee informed Scardina that they did not do gender transition cakes, Scardina called back more than once to the point where the bakery allegedly hung up on Scardina.

There is no final outcome on this current case yet.

Now, regardless of how you feel about any of the players in the aforementioned rundown, if you’re anything like me, you have to be wondering if any of this is worth it?

I am not defending the bakery (I mean, I’d make a cake to celebrate a worm if it pays…and I HATE worms). With that said, once the SCOTUS ruled in his favor over a same-sex wedding cake, it seems like that’d be a loud and clear message to other individuals in certain demographics that they may have an issue getting a cake celebrating something that goes against what we all know is evangelical Christian philosophy. I mean if gay marriage was too much, surely saying that you’re a man who feels like a woman on the inside is a non-starter.

At first, I thought the ploy was to try to sue this bakery owner into the poorhouse just to make a point. Then, I thought that it was a “get money” scheme. You know, walk into the bakery you know is discriminatory, have them discriminate against you, sue, become social media famous, win and buy the Range Rover of your dreams.

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But why? Lawsuits are a headache. They take time and money; no matter which side you’re on. Who would purposely place that type of stress upon themselves; especially with a Supreme Court precedent in place?

A bigger question I have is, what’s with this zeal to give people who you feel are discriminatory or hateful your money? If the bus boycott taught us anything, it’s that when businesses LOSE money, they are more likely to change. If money talks and bullshit walks, what’s up with being so desperate to make a “point” by wanting to… pay? I won’t even mention the free publicity that this bakery owner has received due to being sued twice by someone who likely doesn’t have snowball’s chance in hell of getting anything out of it.

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This newest cake is being called a birthday cake…for the birth of Scardina’s new gender. Scardina’s lawyers are trying to claim that when Phillips said in the SCOTUS case that he would sell any of his items to the LGBTQ community but that the religious symbolism of a wedding was what caused him to decline, he was lying to the public. Considering what the “birthday cake” is for, that sounds like a reach. However, I’m neither a lawyer nor a judge (judgmental, yes).

Without accusing of Scardina of anything, this seems…suspicious. I plan to be on the lookout for the resolution of this case.

Advocacy: One of the Many Things That’s Nobody Else’s Business

We’ve probably all seen it. A post or meme telling us that we’re not really pro-(fill in the blank) if we don’t advocate for any number of groups that we likely aren’t a part of. The authors of these posts and memes wag their fingers at us and tell us, “If you only support _________, but don’t support _____, _____, _____, ____, ______, and _____, then you’re not really supportive at all!!!”

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Well, I call bullshit.

Who a person decides to lend their support or advocacy to is their business. Further, it doesn’t take away from their character or level of compassion or charity.

As a Black woman, I do enough emotional labor. I won’t be guilted, shamed, or forced to add every groups’ problems to my plate.

Black people are good about (rightfully) being upset when other minority groups expect us to do labor on their behalf in the fight for justice. We think about how we fought before, during and after the Civil Rights era while other groups reaped the real benefits of our hard work (hello, white women), and we are dismayed that anyone would dare part their lips (or open their laptop) to demand we do even more.

Well, that’s how I feel about being a Black woman and Black womanhood. For centuries we have stood alone delivering everyone else out of their muck and mire. We have written, orated, fought, protested, and everything else for everybody else; no matter how dreadfully they may have treated us (hello…well, everybody).

We advocate, argue with, blizzock friends over them not supporting other oppressed groups that never sever ties with their friends who don’t support us. We put ourselves in harm’s way to champion people who do not reciprocate on the same level (hello, black men). We even rationalize the bad behavior of other groups just to justify continuing to advocate for them.

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To this day, nobody can explain how a movement largely predicated on men being violent (in bathrooms, no less) has anything to do with women’s failure. Are we supposed to be bodyguards and jump in front of flying fists meant for someone else? If men are causing your problem, deal with THEM. Meanwhile, people with dicks have ALWAYS been a problem for women.

Then, we get the blame when those groups don’t quite advance like they think they should have (though they manage to get more consideration that we do); even when it actually has nothing to do with us.

So when someone dares to declare that I have to throw myself into the embers again for every whimsical cause or neglected demographic that pops up or I’m not “real” or “pro-Black” or “pro” anything else, my first inclination is to tell them to shut the fuck up.

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I mean…G-d is a Black woman so I don’t feel a need to stand in Her way by marching and arguing with people online in the name of “social justice” over someone who expressed views like this about Her image.

This is normally the place where I’d go into all of these stats and post hyperlinks to report upon report proving the trials that Black women and girls face. But, I’m not going to do that. I’ve done it in other posts and frankly, my desire to justify my perspective on this particular matter is spectacularly low. Needless to say, the information is out there for anybody who cares to look for it.

These people already know that though. They already know that nobody advocates against Black women’s own interest more than Black women. But, guilting Black women into doing more labor than their fair share is and has always been the “in thing” to do.

The funny part (cause there’s ALWAYS a funny part) is that these same people will boldly tell you that it’s not your business what they spend their money on when they post their multiple GFM links on your timeline. They’ll tell you who they choose to sleep with is their business while simultaneously telling you that if you are just as choosy about who you date/sleep with, you’re -phobic or -ist.

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The upshot is this: I wish people no harm regardless of their stripe. I hope people find their way. I hope people find the support, love, and total health that they need. I’m just not going to be the one helping aaaaallllll those people do it. I advocate for Black women and girls; straight or lesbian. Dassit!

Not only is that my right, it’s my business.