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“A Black Woman Protected Nowhere” - Reaction to Will and Jada Pinkett Smith Incident With Chris Rock

Celebrity podcast host and influencer Tanika Ray says when it comes to the public stage Black women continue to take the backstage for protection.

We came to this country under traumatic circumstances, where the laws that were written were racist, sexist, and xenophobic. Fast forward hundreds and hundreds of years, those laws are still there within the foundation of this country’s legal system. Ultimately, those laws are a reflection of our society. So, we keep trying to right a wrong.

Not only were we as black people not considered human beings, but we have experienced systematic discrimination along virtually every social and institutional hierarchy. We live in a patriarchal society where men — particularly white men — place themselves at the top. Below them, by nature, are all other races of men, followed by black men, and then white women. Black women find themselves at the bottom, quite literally at the bottom of all other races.

Lionel Hahn/Getty Images


How Society Views Our Pain

We [Black women] come to the table with a lot on our plate. Everything that we see in our daily lives, from music to television shows, beats up on Black women.

As a global society, all of us have recently seen what they did with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. She's overqualified. She's more qualified than anybody sitting on the Supreme Court. And yet, they still came at her with a sharp left hook. She was still disrespected with the most ridiculous questions. By comparison, just a year and a half ago, in a hearing of a lady that has never even put on a black robe [Amy Coney Barrett], the questions were softball.

We see how it is not just Black men, but how society deems Black women's pain as irrelevant. Black women could be crying on the ground, rolling around in pain, and asking for help. And that's at the start of this country too. Black women were impregnated, sometimes by force. They knew that their babies could be ripped from them at any moment and sold to somebody else. Do you think that woman wasn't in the greatest pain of her life?

I'm a mother. You look at my child wrong, and I've got a problem. We are tigers when it comes to our babies. Our babies were ripped from us and sold to somebody else. Our generational strife in this country can't mean anything to someone attempting to justify their actions for contributing to it. Our pain in this country has been ignored since the day the first group of us were brought here as slaves.

The Moment We Have a Problem as a Society

With that said, if we’re talking about Will Smith and Chris Rock, we've never seen a Black woman protected anywhere on a public platform.

We've needed Black men to step up and protect Black women for a long time. But Black women being protected takes a backseat because of the way our society is built.

Every day, it is pushed into our brains—the ‘gimme gimme gimme.’ Make that money, be a millionaire. It is this same mentality that is so counterintuitive to allowing us to care for each other; so counter to nurturing your family; is so counter to protecting the Black woman. Even our men will sell out their women to get the bag.

Understanding this mentality, it is easy to comprehend why Rock acted in the way — and said what — he did. He performs comedy professionally. The laughs his jokes generate translate to dollar signs in his bank account. It is easy to understand that, as a comedian, all bets are off, ‘I just got to get a laugh.’ But when you throw the dignity and respect that Black women deserve (and need) to the side, we're in for a big problem.

More about Tanika:

Tanika Ray is a Spelman graduate and renowned as a television personality, entertainment journalist, and pop culture specialist. She is the host of the new mom-centric podcast, Mamaste with Tanika Ray. Ray has also developed her community of 99,000 on Instagram. She has worked with NBC, CW, HGTV, LIFETIME, TLC, BET, TVOne and hosted for shows OWN’s Ready To Love and Ladies Who List, HGTV’s Design Star, and CW’s OhSit game show.


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