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March 28, 2022

“Don’t need to hear from White Woman about Will slapping Chris.” Two replies.

We’re getting many well-intentioned, thoughtful comments on the Will Smith and Chris Rock incident. I’m proud of our community. Many of them say something along the lines of, “We don’t need to hear from White Woman about Will slapping Chris.” ⁠

My two replies. [When you read, comment, share, you help keep Elephant alive and thriving. Let’s not merely feed the Zuckerberg Instagram Facebook wolf.] ⁠

1. So many comments (many from white women, ironically) on the article:

The One Tweet about the Will Smith/Chris Rock Oscars Fiasco that I Can’t Stop Thinking About.

saying white women should shut up and listen, for once.

Are you aware the author of the article is a woman of color?

Did you read the article before commenting?

We must resist normalizing hitting folks. This article gets at that truth without giving mean humor a pass.

2. Also. It’s more than okay for men to talk about toxic masculinity, domestic abuse, violence as “protecting” a strong woman who didn’t ask for it.

It’s important for we men to contemplate our toxic masculinity, white knighting, protection as removal of agency of, you know, adult women and how they would choose to response, or not.

This comment rather perfectly encapsulates how toxic masculinity thinks:

“If someone is disrespectful to your partner, you’re disrespected too. You don’t have the balls to respond, yer a cuck.”

White knight, much?

My partner, Michelle, can make her own decision about what action or words to take or offer if she’s insulted (we just discussed this together). I don’t need to take away her agency. She’s not a child? Don’t treat her like one.

Justifying toxic behavior by another’s toxic behavior is at the root of many of our world’s problems. Let’s not normalize this or allow it to influence folks in a bad way, but use it as a learning moment.

More:

We’re also getting some comments saying “why do I want to click the link in bio and leave Instagram.” Because we’re not working for Zuckerberg. We’re an independent publication. We’d like folks to read the full article. It’s worthwhile. Let’s slow down and support indie mindful media.

Two more comments I appreciate on this confusing, sad incident:

“Both were in the wrong but one escalated it by physically assaulting the other, and that should NEVER be the answer.”

Another I appreciated: “Jada looks amazing and has nothing to be ashamed of and Demi looked bad-ass in GI Jane.”

We can judge all we want, but we all lose our minds, sometimes, despite a lifetime of best intentions. Anger management must be taught in schools.

Will fucked up. Chris took it well. Bullying humor isn’t funny, but there is a place for comedy and roasting, and it doesn’t deserve physical aggression.

Some of the tweets I’m seeing today are crass, awful. Empathy matters.

Some conclusions, thus far:

While a learning moment was missed, last night, collectively, today and this week, may we have a public learning moment, so this is not normalized, either direction. Violence, or bullying meanness.

A comment I loved, to that point:

“Could have been done a lot more peacefully man. I agree that Chris made a HORRIBLE joke, but instead of nearly punching him and cussing him out, Will could have went up on stage, talked to him about alopecia, tell [all of us] it’s a serious condition, and well Smith would be a hero.”

Will Smith could have gone up and said, “Chris, you made a great documentary on black women and girls’ hair and the culture around that. Let’s talk about alopecia.” Yeah, he would have been a hero.

Kindergarten wisdom time! May this be a collective learning moment.

May it be of benefit!


PS: For those still saying it was fake: can’t agree, if you saw Will screaming obscenities after, if you saw his messy non-apology—he was generally upset and a bit lost.
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