Recently Stacey Dash got into some trouble for criticizing social outrage over how white the Oscar nominations are this year. That’s right. #OscarsSoWhite has resurfaced yet again. Anyway, Stacey Dash has inspired another #RacialDraft for saying that the BET Awards and Black History Month perpetuate segregation.
Dash’s comments were in response to an earlier video made by Jada Pinkett Smith, in which Pinkett declared that she would be boycotting the Oscars for only nominated white actors for awards yet again. Seriously. Out of the 20 nominated actors, 0 were people of color. Even the movies about black people, “Creed” and “Straight Outta Compton,” only received nominations for their white supporting roles and writers.
Since the video was released, many black actors and actresses have come together to stand in solidarity with Pinkett Smith. Janet Hubert was not one of them. In fact, Aunt Viv is against it all together. In a response video, Hubert ripped both of the Smiths apart for demanding support for her Oscar boycott while neglecting to speak on more important black issues like police brutality and poverty. Hubert also called Pinkett Smith a hypocrite for making a living in the entertainment industry but boycotting an awards show just because she did not get nominated. Jada Pinkett Smith responded to Hubert by trying to explain that the boycott is not just about the Oscars, but about a larger institutional issue because of which, black people are not receiving the accolades that they have earned. And more importantly, it’s about solidarity. Pinkett Smith affirms that her comments and the boycott are supposed to benefit all African-Americans, not just the entertainers.
But that little debate is not the worst part. The worst part came when “Clueless” Stacey Dash decided to give her opinion on Fox News of all things, calling out BET and the NAACP awards for only awarding black people. Which isn’t even true! Sam Smith won the Best New Artist award at the BET awards in 2015. He also won an NAACP Image Award for his music. Many non-black POC have been represented at these award shows as well. Now unless all of these people have a reverse Rachel Dolezal situation going on, it appears to me that being black is not a requirement for winning these awards. Sounds like Dash didn’t do her research. But then again, who on Fox News does?
Dash also criticized Black History Month, arguing that “We’re Americans. Period.” Clearly, we need more Black History Months if Stacey Dash thinks that dedicating time to teaching black history is racist or segregating. Of course there is no white history month. White history is taught year-round at every educational level in this country. If I did not do my own research, I would know significantly more about Martin Van Buren than Malcolm X. White history was drilled into my head and the heads of every other American child, all the way through high school. How could Stacey Dash possibly think that white history does not get enough attention? Side note: you know your opinions are questionable when presidential candidate and national embarrassment Donald Trump endorses them.
So now I’m worried about Stacey. And not just because BET spent the weekend hilariously bashing her on social media, in press statements, and on their television channel. They played a marathon of the music videos Dash appeared in, and there are quite a few. I’m worried about her because clearly, she is someone that could have benefitted from black solidarity earlier on. I am positive that if she had been introduced to black history, black unification, and a little bit of #BlackGirlMagic, she could have been saved from her own ignorance. Someone could have steered her in the right direction. I am convinced that if Stacey Dash had spent a single black history month actually and actively learning about black history, she would not be in the same state she is in today. She would not be Fox News’s second favorite black friend (@Don Lemon). She would not be endorsing Trump, even though none of his policies would really benefit her as a black women. She could be sitting at home in a dashiki, inhaling incense and reading The New Jim Crow.
There is danger in not knowing the consequences of institutional racism. If Stacey Dash is blind to the threats against her as a black woman, she is not safe. That means she could be susceptible to threats she does not even perceive. Though her class status may cushion the impacts of racism, at the end of the day, she is still a black woman. That’s right! I said it! Stacey Dash, you are a black woman. And that means the protesters marching through the streets are marching for you too. #BlackLivesMatter includes the black lives who disapprove of the movement, just as the Civil Rights Movement also fought for people who were content living as second-hand citizens.
I’m worried about Stacey, and though picking on her through internet memes may be funny, I am still obligated to defend the value of her life, just as I do for the rest of my people.