North Texas Daily

Offensive words from Black celebrities hurts their credibility

Offensive words from Black celebrities hurts their credibility

Offensive words from Black celebrities hurts their credibility
July 25
14:43 2020

Following the death of George Floyd, social inequality has been a prominent topic discussed in the world.

Throughout the past few months, social media has been used to bring attention to the racial equality movement. Black people have been at the forefront of this movement. Through social media, the Black community has used its resources to help the movement by protesting, donating money, voter registration, running for office and providing education with organizations that benefit long term. 

Since social media is vast, people tend to gravitate to accounts with more prominent platforms with more likes. The accounts with the most significant platforms are usually celebrities. With some communities struggling to get their voices heard, celebrities can connect to their fans by posting content that gets many media engagements. During this social movement, Black stars have been using their platforms to help communities of color by bringing awareness to the struggles they face. 

Unfortunately, some people are losing sight of the movement for racial equality due to some Black celebrities’ anti-Semitic remarks. Athletes Stephen Jackson and DeSean Jackson are being condemned for their hurtful words along with “Wild’N Out” TV host Nick Cannon. 

In today’s media-centric world, celebrities must understand their voices will be amplified because of all the eyes on them. Social media is a place for people to spread their views worldwide, but it’s not a very forgiving place when someone spreads hurtful stereotypes. Black celebrities need to realize that they’re leaders in the community.

The words they use represent the movement and communities they’re fighting for today. If a celebrity isn’t educated on a topic, then they should sit back and listen to others who are. For the social movement to be successful, Black celebrities need to understand the impact and influence they have on groups of people. Although there have been many Black celebrities, who have used their platform to improve communities, the celebrities who use hateful rhetoric undermine and distract from the goal of equality.

First and foremost, Black celebrities need to listen to the communities that have been hurt by inequality. NFL player DeSean Jackson is learning this firsthand following his misinformed Instagram post. 

DeSean Jackson posted a falsely attributed Adolf Hitler quote that said, “[white Jews] will blackmail America. They will extort America, their plan for world domination won’t work if the Negroes know who they were.” 

After DeSean Jackson was met with rightful outrage, he apologized and looked for ways to listen to the community he hurt. He’s making an effort to learn from the Jewish community by accepting an invite to Auschwitz from a 94-year-old Holocaust survivor. 

In contrast, former NBA player and now social activist Stephen Jackson doubled down on his Instagram quote. Stephen Jackson said DeSean was “speaking the truth” and that people didn’t want to be educated. How can he be educated if he’s unwilling to listen to the Jewish people hurt by his comments?

Since the death of Stephen Jackson’s close friend George Floyd, he’s been in the public eye leading the protest for racial equality. He’s taken advantage of his platform by pushing for police reform and holding people in power accountable. Now people are holding him responsible for his comments. 

To be a leader, he can’t uplift one group to bring down another. Black Jewish people all around the world experience racism and anti-Semitism through their daily life. According to the Anti-Defamation League, there were 2,107 hate crimes against Jewish people in 2019. 

TV host and actor Nick Cannon even went as far as to say people without melanin are “a little less.” Also saying since Black people were the “true Hebrews,” they could not be anti-Semitic. 

The fight against injustice shouldn’t be an “us” versus “them” debate. Black Celebrities can’t fight for equality while turning a blind eye to marginalized groups facing oppression. Why are Black celebrities dismissing the Jewish communities’ experience of oppression the same way White people did to Black people? 

Oppression has always been rooted in prejudice and hate. Just because the experience is not familiar to these Black celebrities doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

I didn’t think this needed explanation, but equality means everyone is morally, politically and legally equal. Oppressed groups shouldn’t rank in the severity of who had it worse. Using your platform to fight for equality, then neglecting the voices of people who were hurt by your misinformed comments, is hypocritical. The Black community needs to hold these celebrities accountable because they’re sabotaging the movement’s credibility regardless of their intentions.

Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas

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Zach Thomas

Zach Thomas

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