Come on, you know who I’m talking about. Stacey Dash. You might’ve seen her in movies like Mo’ Money, House Arrest, Dysfunctional Friends, or Nora’s Hair Salon II. Or, in shows like The Game or The Cosby Show. Or for her body and butt shots in black magazines like King, Smooth and Heart& Soul. Still don’t know her? Wait, the black girl from Clueless, does that ring a bell?
My point is, her resume has been built on shows and networks that feature predominantly African-Americans. Perhaps she was just looking for a job? Or a career jump off? Either way, these opportunities were good enough for her to earn a paycheck and be able to be referenced as “the Black girl from Clueless.” Now, she’s the “Black one on Fox News.”
Just this week she offered her two cents on the #OscarsSoWhite issue: “We have to make up our minds. Either we want to have segregation or integration. And if we don’t want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like B.E.T. and the B.E.T. Awards and the Image Awards where you’re only awarded if you’re black. If it were the other way around, we would be up in arms. It’s a double standard. ”
Stacey went so far as to say that there shouldn’t be a BET channel or Black History Month because “We are Americans. Period.”
Sigh. Sigh louder. Hellooo…it is “the other way around” that’s why POC started their own stuff. I digress…
Here’s the thing that Stacey doesn’t get. BET, NAACP Image Awards, and Black History Month (and etc.) wasn’t created for African-Americans to segregate themselves no more than the American Country Music Awards created their event to segregate their music from pop. And, non-POC have been awarded at the NAACP Image Awards and non-POC have been taught during Black History Month. The only month that schools get to reiterate the same three Black heroes (and not another more).
So, for Stacey Dash…you can check out my other blog post “Invisibility and the Oscars” or I can reiterate it here for ease. Yes, we are all Americans, but in America we’re supposed to honor the diversity in others. However, even in America, all cultures aren’t celebrated, honored, or recognized. The European narrative has always dominated American culture. Television and award shows (per this discussion) have always been segregated. Or, made other cultures invisible. When was the last time you seen an American Indian on TV played by an American Indian? Just sayin’. POC didn’t have the power or economic status to purposely segregate themselves. Oh wait, there has been times when Blacks created their own businesses, hospitals, and schools. Because they weren’t allowed to enter spaces due to Jim Crow laws. And entire prospering towns were burnt down by whites, like the town of Rosewood. Helloooo!!
Let’s face it, we grew up on shows that never showed a person of color and there are still networks and award shows that don’t. People are tired of being invisible and not recognized for their achievements. What’s the problem with taking ownership and pride for recognizing people for achievements or creating shows that feature people of color? It’s ludicrous how Stacey places the blame on Blacks for segregation, yet allows people of power to escape blame without even the slightest criticism.
Stacey: Wellll….”Oscars are awarded to the actors and actresses who excel…not the audience … What’s next? Awarding $1 million to the guy sitting in his pajamas on the couch watching Survivor? Giving a blue ribbon to the kid who stayed home from field day? Giving a Nobel Peace Prize to a President who escalated wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?”
Wow…so, Stacey doesn’t believe a person of color excelled enough to be awarded by the Oscars? Or, is it that the white male dominated Academy didn’t believe any person of color was of excellence and Stacey trusts the opinions of these individuals enough to co-sign and wage war against Oscar boycotters, BET, Black History Month, Black Image Awards, and those who are benefactors of Jim Crow laws (per self-segregation as she puts it)? And when I say POC, I mean all people of color. There are award shows and networks dedicated to marginalized and invisible people just scroll through your cable channels. If not, there would be no representation at all…so Stacey, we’re kind of forcing the door open so that folks can see, “We do exist!” I won’t debate worthiness of awards because if we leave it up to Stacey and Fox News, the only things POC would be able to get a trophy for is sports, hip-hop, and ethnic dishes.
This is the last quote that I pulled from Dash. I’m going to drop it here and let it sink. After it’s sunk, please tell me what the heck she means:”My problem goes back to the notion that every area of life needs to break down exactly according to demographic ratios except in those areas in which black people have decided they want to have their own space,” she added. “I don’t have a problem with black people having their own space.”
Let’s face it, Stacey Dash benefitted from the very institutions that she’s lashing out against. Which is unfortunate to leave a legacy of negativity and not one of understanding or empathy. Stacey, before you dog out the Black Award shows, remember that you used to be a part of them.