So, The Onion during the The Oscars last night decided to turn its online gaze to a 9-year-old black girl.
According to The Hollywood Reporter,
the satirical news agency took to Twitter to refer to Quvenzhane Wallis
as a c*nt. Yes, the only word in the English dictionary used solely to
communicate one’s complete lack of respect for women.
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Ah, how edgy for The Onion to go after and attempt to
demonize the femininity of a 9-year-old black girl. How clever for The
Onion to say what everyone in America was so afraid of: that a
9-year-old rising actress is “kind of a c*nt, right….”
Anyway, the Associated Press reported the tweet was taken down after an hour it was posted. However, it had already been retweet 500 times and favored by another 400.
I can’t, for the life of me, justify in my mind why The Onion would
even think it would be okay to call Quvenzhane a c*nt. Or why it would
even be okay to single out a child in their satire. Or why it would be
okay to call any woman or girl a c*nt, period.
But, wait. I can see why they would have had no problem singling out a
black girl and degrading her with such a horrendous word designed to do
nothing but blatantly disrespect women. Black women and girls’
femininity continue to be devalued and degraded in the good ol’ U.S. of
A. and they are just towing the line on how we all are treated in
I am hard pressed to believe that The Onion would even contemplate
such an attack on the likes of Dakota Fanning, Mary Kate and Ashley
Olsen, et al if they were coming of age during the second decade of the
I’m also hard pressed to believe the folks at The Onion will even
understand the error of their ways. I’m sure The Onion and its defenders
won’t understand why their act was sexist and racist since people get
bent out of shape when you actually label them a racist or sexist for
doing, you know, racist and sexist sh*t.
From the time they can walk and talk, black children are never
portrayed or viewed with the innocence often given to white children.
Mainstream media, whiteness and the public at large often portray black
boys as hypersexual beings by the time they get into kindergarten and
black girls as sassy little versions of Sapphires.
A short piece
by Tami Winfrey Harris at Clutch Magazine pretty much makes my point.
When she was shopping for a birthday card, Harris stumbled upon
something that reflects how corporations continue to perpetuate young
black girls as, well, not sweet, innocent little girls:
I noted how many cards were illustrated with cherubic,
little, white girls–all curls and blue eyes, surrounded by hearts and
kittens and flowers. High up in the racks, I spied a sliver of brown
skin and reached for it. This is what I found…
…a screw-faced, afroed, cursing black girl. On its own, the item from
Carlton Cards is perhaps unremarkable, but in the context of all those
other cards idealizing white girls as the embodiment of childhood
innocence, sweetness and girlitude, it stinks.
Black women have long carried the burden of the
neck-twisting, ball-busting, curse-you in-a-second, Sapphire stereotype.
The card above is illustrative of how early our humanity and our
femininity get stripped away…of why it’s so easy to demonize black women
The Onion’s labeling of as a c*nt pretty much goes hand-in-hand with
whiteness and racism deciding on its own that the portrayal of black
girls as young, sweet, and innocent isn’t fit for our black skin, kinky
hair and thick lips. Whiteness decided long ago that black girls aren’t
worthy of the same respect and worship society places on young white
Even black male patriarchy has decided that it’s all fine and dandy
to continue to portray black women and girls as oversexed Amazons who
just love to be used and abused by our own men.
The Onion’s slander of Quvenzhane goes hand-in-hand with the racist
and sexist stereotypes of black women and girls, which renders us as
fair game for society to violate and destroy our bodies and souls. It
fits perfectly with the notion that black girls and women’s femininity
doesn’t belong to us and can be revoked or ignored anytime men want to
take their sadistic physical and psychological forms of torture out on
But, I digress. No one will come to the defense of Quvenzhane and the
racist and sexist attack on her character. I’m sure the white feminist
blogosphere will mostly remain all but silent as they focus on Seth
McFarlane’s racist/sexist/homophobic/ableist jokes he dished out
throughout Hollywood’s annual prom night. I’m sure some white feminists
will defend The Onion and say how it was just a joke and how we black
women need to get over ourselves. Just like they continue to ignore the
relentless attacks on First Lady Michelle Obama’s body, womanhood and
White women and feminism have not and will not come to the defense of
black femininity and womanhood. Recognizing black women and girls as
equal, thus worthy of protection, puts white women in danger as they
would risk losing that all-too-precious pedestal they cling to while
ignoring their privilege.
Business will go on as usual because no one, not even black men,
values and respects our femininity enough to take on whiteness and the
degrading forms of oppression it inflicts on black women and girls.
Sure, they’ll be a few black male bloggers, pundits, actors and
entertainers who take on The Onion. However, most black men–and women,
to be honest–will go on as if the attack on Quvenzhane isn’t a
reflection of how their own femininity isn’t respected by black men and
society as a whole.
The Onion will go on because it knows all to well that society
doesn’t give two sh*ts about black women. The Onion knows it will most
likely walk away from this bullsh*t unscathed because black women and
girls, our womanhood, our identity as black women and our femininity
doesn’t belong to us and is fair game to be mocked and ridiculed as a
form of entertainment for the masses.
The Onion will go on because little girls like Quvenzhane don’t stand
a chance to be seen on equal and deserving of respect as long as
whiteness, black male patriarchy and racism continue to dominate–and
I know we have a topic already but I thought y'all might like this blog post.
Edited by carolina cutie - Feb 25 2013 at 11:37pm