Are we all part of a big social conversation, where each of us gets to express our views on whatever issue arises, strikes our fancy or about which we have an opinion? Are we not paying the taxes that pay for the programs that pay for the solutions demanded of government for social ills?
Well, no, apparently. At least when it comes to issues raised by people who claim a different “lived experience,” we not only have no right to speak, but are to shut up so as not to talk over others who claim to be marginalized or ignored, to detract from their message and make it about us. And that gave rise to two distinct problems with the reaction to the grievance by Chaedria, who curated a Basquiat exhibit at the Guggenheim which turned into her worst racist nightmare ever.
Her initial grievance was that no one seems to care about how the Guggenheim racially victimized her by making her the first black curator of an exhibit, but then Helen Lewis from The Atlantic reached out to her and that was more than she could take.
Recently, Helen Lewis from The Atlantic reached out to me for a story that she was working on, literally demanding that I speak to her. You don't have to take my word for it — below is a screenshot of her initial DM to me. I w/o question declined this — and here are my messages pic.twitter.com/B80VONSJ5q
— No Quarter Will Be Given (@chaedria) September 12, 2022
This twit received a less than appreciative reaction, a ratio and a dunking as some have characterized it, as it appeared to many that Lewis’ DM was hardly “literally demanding,” but rather a quite normal polite request. Chaedria explained it as white men failing to grasp how this “read” to black people.
Edie and I are going to bed soon but I will reiterate tmrw what I said today and I am completely unmoved by White men declaring she was polite because Helen Lewis speaks like them, just w/ “please”. Nearly every POC watching knew exactly what her message was — a demand.
And while another interlocutor took issue with Chaedria’s claim that this was an offensive demand, he followed up by recognizing that the dunking it was receiving was from white men and failed to recognize its “nuance.”
…then I realized most of the people dunking were white men like me. (This is the only medium where we excel at it). So I re-read the thread. And I found…nuance!
Is there nuance that’s obvious to black people and invisible to white people that either should preclude white people from responding or criticizing? Granted, the dunking Chaedria received appears (though it’s hard to be sure since not everyone wears their race on their sleeve) to be mostly from white men, but are white men forbidden from voicing disagreement? Do white people not understand what black people understand, thus making their opinions unworthy and their voicing opinions oppressive when it negates the “truth” of a black woman?
Perhaps Chaedria is right that Helen Lewis’ seemingly ordinary polite request was racist in that it was “literally demanding,” and that I can’t see it because I’m white and speak the same language. Chaedria’s reply to Helen Lewis was, in essence, “fuck you, white woman.”
Chaedria was not much kinder to the interlocutor who found “nuance.”
Tyler, I hate to disappoint you but on this matter, a swarm of rabid White men online screaming “BuT sHe wAS pOLite” neither hurts my feelings or means anything given the collective moral compass of WM is in a trash can in a meth lab. I said what I said.
Bear in mind, this relates to her being made a curator of an exhibit at the Guggenheim. Is this what the tenor of “discussion” must be if not to offend? What room, if any, is left for there to be any question, any disagreement, any deviance from the view expressed by a black woman, even when it appears to be facially…questionable?
*Tuesday Talk rules apply.