Please Keep Talking, Kerry and Don

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If there’s one point that frustratingly refuses to change,  it’s the reality that many public figures remain very ill-equipped to have frank, intelligent conversations about race.

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Take for instance Paula Deen appearing on Today this morning to argue that she learned how to use “nigger” in casual conversation from her young Black staff members in the kitchen. Yes, the woman who revels in plantation-themed weddings and slavery fetishizing dinners wants us to believe that young Black folks using the word in an entirely different context prompted her to use it under its original intentions. The one who fried her first fish in the segregationist South, mind you.

Yeah, she can drop dead for all I care for ruining the good work Tina Fey put in.

Likewise, there’s Zoe Saldana, who consistently ducks labels about sexuality and race for auspicious reasons. Say, she’s hiding something about herself while simultaneously being self-loathing all the time in the press. Both and Paula are playing the role of martyr over matters that shouldn’t be that hard to grasp. I mean, you don’t use the word ‘nigger,’ you don’t create hostile work environments, you pay your Black employees in monetary forms versus beer, and you don’t long for a period in American history in which Black people were legally treated like property and second class citizens. Moreover, if you’re Zoe Saldana, you don’t say with a straight face that you can’t complain about racism anymore because President Obama is Black. Or that white people aren’t really white…they’re actually pink in complexion.

I have to stop now. Rehashing all of this stupidity is making my temples itch.

I meant to post this interview with Kerry Washington and Don Cheadle weeks ago when I first saw it. Here are two bright, thoughtful entertainers opening up about gender and race in ways I wish more of their peers followed suit. Kerry Washington is the beautiful, intelligent, insightful actress Zoe Saldana only pretends to be.

So for all the useless mouths yapping about a bunch of damn nothing in magazines and on morning television, here’s something wonderfully refreshing. And if nothing else, thank you for the reminder to put this up, Paula. Now go take a tumble, Scarlet.

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