Raven’s mistake

by tkt on October 16, 2015 - 12:37pm

In his article ‘Anyone can be a white supremacist. Just ask Raven-Symoné’ published in The Guardian, October 14th, Steven W Thrasher argues that anyone can perpetuate white supremacy and maintain institutionalized racism, even African-Americans. The author states that Raven-Symoné’s idea of refusing to hire someone because of a ‘black sounding’ name explains why black unemployment is twice as high as white unemployment. However, more importantly, it highlights a troubling fact, that African Americans with ‘black sounding’ names are assumed to be bigger and scarier even though they do not differ in average height than white people. The author continues by saying that it explains why black children as young as 12 can be gunned down by policemen without committing a crime, because the population finds in ‘objectively reasonable’. The author concludes by that saying that similarly to patriarchy having no gender, Raven Symoné’s comments reveal that white supremacy is subconsciously internalized even among Americans with black skin.

I believe that Steven W Thrasher’s column is a powerful news piece, because it educates the reader on the delicate topics that are internalized racism and white supremacy in America. This article tackles an important issue that is often ignored in the black community, which is black celebrities that perpetuate white supremacy and self-hatred. The author does an outstanding job in demonstrating the problem and how it affects African Americans in their everyday lives. I particularly agree with the statement where he explained how comment like Raven-Symoné’s cripples African Americans everywhere and helps accept the nation’s prejudice against the black population as ‘objectively reasonable’. Furthermore, it relates to Smedley’s conclusions that state that because race has been internalize by its members, it creates problems in the “low status races” that are conditioned to think of themselves as culturally inferior. This self-hate not only slows down the struggle for equality but propagates white supremacy. I also agree with the author when he concludes by saying that like patriarchy can be enforced and perpetrated by women, white supremacy can surely be broadcasted by black individuals.

Comments

First of all, I decided to comment on your article because I knew the name of Raven Symoné. I was surprised to see that she was involved in a racial story, because I knew she was an African-American woman, so I never thought she could say something like she did. I totally agree with you: comments like the one that Raven Symoné hold only helps the society to accept the racism and prejudices that are seen and heard every day. Also, I feel like Symoné is accepting the idea of racism and white supremacy, instead of fighting against it. I believe she should take advantage of the fact that she is famous and that she can spread ideas that will touch many people (online, on TV…) to send messages of denunciation, of hope, for African-American people that are feeling like a lower cultural class, because of comments like the one she hold. I personally follow a lot of celebrities that have the power to communicate good and positive thoughts, and I truly believe that it can join a lot of people in the world to make it a better place to live. Finally, I would be curious to see people’s reaction if it would have been a white celebrity that would have said something like that. Reactions would have probably be very different.

I agree with many of the points you made and I think your post was strongly written. The reason I’m commenting is because I think the subject of discrimination in the hiring process is an important conversation that needs to be had. Other than just racism as an aspect we should also be looking at sexism as a possible way of discrimination. What if instead of white vs. black sounding names we also factored in female vs. male names?

As you may already know white men are much more favored in the hiring process. This has to do with preconceptions against people of colour and women. There are many theories as to why this happens but the main reason is because people are more likely to hire people who reflect themselves. In many cases employers who don’t consider themselves sexist still hired male candidate over female ones, even though they had identical CV’s. I’m sure the same stands for people of colour. Moreover, there is a term used for people who fit into two or more visible minorities, that word is intersectionality. Having these forms of prejudice in act in the hiring process can cause the occurrence of wide spread unemployment and a wage gap amongst genders.

You may also find these links useful
Intersectionality: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersectionality
Gender pay gap: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_pay_gap

About the author

tkt