Is Raven-Symone Lost?

By Speed on the Beat (@SpeedontheBeat)

By now, the words "Raven-Symone" and "saying/doing 'crazy' (note the quotes) shit that pisses off Black Twitter" are pretty much synonymous with each other. From her coming out (no, I don't think being gay is crazy, but there are people who do), to her "I'm not an 'African-American,' I'm an American" comments, to her thoughts on Harriet Tubman possibly appearing on the twenty-dollar bill, it'd seem that she's hellbent on pissing off Black America. But, is she really lost?

Yes and no. Let us look at some points. Note that, as a heterosexual black male who identifies as male, I can only speak on our collective similarity: we are both "black" in America. Therefore, I will not make many comments about her sexual identity and preference. That's not my place to say "oh, you can't not call yourself 'gay,'" even as a proponent of human equity and equal rights.

She is the product of a world where we're supposed to believe that racism doesn't exist--even as the powers that be seemingly systematically gun down our men, women, and children due to preconceived notions on race. She is the product of middle-upper class Black Atlanta, with a two-parent household with enough ability to allow her to go out for Ritz commercials and Jell-O ads. And because of that, she eventually became the product of Hollywood and Bill Cosby's influence. This means that, unlike other child actors (black or otherwise), she never really starved for attention because she was almost always taken care of, just off the strength of her affiliations with Cosby. I won't speculate if her views on race are derived from Cosby's, because I'm not the type of person who just rants bullshit for views. 

However, you would have to be blind to say that her upbringing hasn't colored (no pun intended) her outlook on race relations in 2015 America. In some ways, she's been royally fucked from the beginning and it's been no fault of her own. To understand "racism" (and understand that it's truly a social construct designed to create an other which is deemed inferior), one must actually be in situations where they can full-out experience it. That's the kicker: it doesn't seem like she has. I could be wrong. I'd hope I'm right, though. Because if you experience racism full-out and still don't think that there's a racial problem and still don't want to claim and protect your blackness and your own identity just as those who are against it? I pray for you, I really do.

However, and I may get some flack for this, I do applaud her for trying to be forward-thinking about this sort of thing. And, I applaud the fact that she voiced her opinions on these issues, even though I don't exactly agree with them. Even still, you can't move forward if you just sweep the past under the rug and act like it doesn't exist. And, to some, that's what she's doing. By jumping over the idea of labels and social constructs, she's allowing herself to become wrapped up in other social constructs.

Could she have handled it better? Yeah. Could the audience have handled their reaction better? Yes. But, race, sexuality, sexual identity, and all those sorts of things are touchy subjects. Best come correct, come and deal with the backlash and spark a conversation, or stay lost and not come at all.

Until next time.


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