Forbes op-ed suggests Oscars proved ‘respectability will not and has not saved Black people’

Forbes op-ed suggests Oscars proved 'respectability will not and has not saved Black people' thumbnail

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Forbes contributor Janice Gassam Asare’s Monday piece “Why Are Jokes Always At The Expense Of Black Women? ” determined that the latest Oscars controversy is only a symptom of a greater racial problem.

The 94th Academy Awards was interrupted Sunday night when actor Will Smith walked onto the stage to slap comedian Chris Rock after the latter made a joke about Smith’s wife. The moment has faced widespread condemnation, but Asare suggested that some criticism against Smith could be coming from racial bias.

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Chris Rock Getty Will Smith ABC Oscars Screengrab

(Getty/ABC)

“There is a segment of the population that believes that although Smith was justified in his anger, he shouldn’t have behaved that way in front of ‘mixed company.’ Many of us are socialized to believe that there is no time and place for Black anger or emotion, especially not in front of non-Black people,” Asare wrote. “By saying that Will Smith should not have reacted in this way because of how he is perceived by the predominantly white audience, we perpetuate the white gaze. “

” We must realize that respectability will never and has not saved Black people,” she said.

She stressed that, while some may say that Rock’s comments were “just joke”, that claim was a good example of a pattern of “berating Black woman.” “

“Some may claim it was “just a joke”, but why is it always at the expense Black women? She explained that America’s favorite public sport, berating Black women, has become a social currency.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 24:  Actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith arrive at the Los Angeles World Premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures 'Focus' at TCL Chinese Theatre on February 24, 2015 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

HOLLYWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 24: Actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith arrive at the Los Angeles World Premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures ‘Focus’ at TCL Chinese Theatre on February 24, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Asare continued, “Black women and femmes often feel like they have to adhere to societal standards of beauty, which means hair that more closely mimics white standards of beauty. Black women go to great lengths to make their hair look good, even if this is dangerous for their safety and health. “

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One example she used for the unfair treatment of Black women included the recent Senate hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson. She contended that Jackson’s race was likely behind the levels of scrutiny that Asare claimed was not experienced by others.

“Despite the fact that Brown Jackson is highly accomplished and credentialed (more so than her counterparts) critics have questioned her capabilities. Asare stated that while many U.S. presidents have been to Ivy League schools through nepotism, they have received mediocre grades and not the same scrutiny as Brown Jackson and others like them.

Ketanji Brown Jackson, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court nominee for U.S. President Joe Biden, departs a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S.

Ketanji Brown, associate justice of U.S. Supreme Court nominee, leaves a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S.
(Photographer: Julia Nikhinson/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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While Asare explained her article was not an “interrogation of violence” and whether Smith’s actions were justified, however she concluded the incident should be used as a defense to protect all Black women.

” “Until we are willing to protect all Black Women, liberation will not be a reality.” she wrote.

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