Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Comedian Kevin Hart Jokes About "Strong Black Women"

Yet another comedian has decided that calling something a joke magically erases the harm that their actions cause.

According to Loop21, this is not the first time Hart has decided to attack Black women.
Hart had this to say about women with darker complexions:

“#handsdown Light-skinned women usually have better credit than a dark-skinned woman…Broke as dark hoes…Lol”

After receiving backlash from his fans, Hart told dark-skinned women to stop being so sensitive, and to remember he’s a comedian.
Notice how these "strong Black women" have so much attitude that Kevin decided to partner with a White woman. Shit like this is why I have always said that just because Black men and Black women must both deal with the harm of racism, they are not necessarily our natural ally.  A Black man may will face oppression in the public sphere, but that does not mean that he is incapable of being just as sexist as any other male. Make no mistake, Hart's attack has a very specifically gendered message.


I wonder if he realizes that the White woman that he is so fond of is not necessarily going to put up with his shit either.  He doesn't actually want a woman. He wants someone who is passive, weak and willing to prop up his massive ego.  A woman that speaks her mind and that is true to herself is way too much for a man like Hart to handle.

I am sick and tired of comedians who believe that they can say insensitive, hurtful shit and hide behind the fact that they are comedians.  Since when does intent erase harm? People who complain are told that they are too sensitive, as a way to silence their righteous dissent at an act of dehumanization.  Being able to laugh at yourself is one thing, but standing by quietly while your person is dehumanized is another altogether. That is too much to ask of anyone.

I don't know about you, but the more aware I become of social justice issues, the less willing I am to sit and listen to a comedian engage in an ism for the sake of so-called humor. Whether it is a race based joke, sexist, abelist, homophobic or transphobic, it simply is not acceptable and is not now or ever will be funny. 

The sad part is that I know that there are going to be young Black women who will internalize this joke.  Even as young girls, we are taught that we are not performing femininity properly, as though there is some correct way to be a woman.  Hart's so-called joke will only affirm that to some who are already resigning themselves to the fact that no matter what they do that they will always be an un-woman that the doubts they have are true.  Hart's joke is meant to specifically destroy one's spirit.  Some will not realize that the trick is to keep women off balance that we are always performing, even as acceptance and respect is dangled in front of us.  Even if you do manage to somehow conform to the restricting vision of what Black femininity is supposed to look like, yet another barrier will be tossed in your way.

Black women have to be strong, because from birth to death we are the targets of gender based hate and racist hate.  Heaven help you if you happen to also be trans*, lesbian, disabled, poor etc., because these other isms will only add to the burden that you are forced to carry throughout this life.  Black women have to be strong because we are always targets but we are not victims.  We are strong because we continue to forge ahead and demand respect and refuse to settle for second class citizenship.  Our bodies continue to nurture the next generation and whether or not Hart realizes it, we are the backs upon which the Black community stands.

Finally, I would just like to say that I am sorry for Hart's mother.  It must be difficult to know that the son that you raised, hates the very body which gave him life.  What men like Hart need to realize is that without a Black woman, he would not be alive to spew his hate and ignorance.