On White Womanhood And Why It's So Dangerous For Men Of Color

On White Womanhood And Why It's So Dangerous For Men Of Color

How Lena Dunham's comments about Odell Beckham Jr. are an extension of a fraught relationship between white women and black men.
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Earlier this month, Lena Dunham received an enormous amount of backlash -- rightfully so -- for posting her interview with Amy Schumer. Dunham accused Odell Beckham Jr. of misogyny for not talking to her at the New York Met Ball.

In her mind, him being on his phone instead was dismissive and rude. All of this, according to Dunham, was happening because she's a woman who doesn’t physically ascribe to the beauty standards of the models in the room (never mind that Dunham is white, rich, straight, able-bodied, etc), some of which were sitting at the table with her, and with whom she assumed Beckham would rather be talking to.

Of course, she had no evidence of this. But according to her, what she felt in that moment was enough to tweet out to her nearly five million followers.

Shortly afterwards, Dunham apologized, for what she realized were really “narcissistic assumptions.” She went on to claim that she would “never intentionally contribute to a long and often violent history of the over-sexualization of black male bodies -- as well as false accusations by white women towards black men.” She went on to apologize to her fans and to OBJ himself.

Before apologizing, she claimed in a tweet that, “My story about him was clearly (to me) about my own insecurities as an average-bodied woman at a table of supermodels and athletes.” At some point, she also tagged her friend, Amy Schumer, with, “Glad the outrage machine roars on though, right @amyschumer?”

Schumer herself is no stranger to racist comments about black men. When Twitter user Paulo L dos Santos tweeted “Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, et. al. refuse 2C that misogyny among men of color, while hideously prevalent, is no more so than among white men.” Schumer responded by asking, “how would you know? Statistically who is hollerin at you in the street more pa?”

Both Schumer and Dunham (along with many other white feminist celebrities, some of which I have written about before) are all too representative of how white women are willing to make gross, blanket statements about not just black men (though in particular), but about any man of color. Schumer especially has had some very racist jokes made in her stand up shows about Latino men.

Their behavior and their justification for it is one of the core problems with mainstream white feminism. As part of their bravado and their supposed “confidence,” they take it upon themselves to “defend” their insecurities (just as Dunham has done) in a way that perpetuates racism. Because they don’t necessarily see color, and are only affected by sexism, they don’t see the race of the men they are being critical of.

Their insecurities end up manifesting themselves in a vacuum, where they think they can approach issues of body positivity and sexuality without acknowledging their positionality as white women first. In today’s world, their viciousness may tarnish a black man’s image, get him fired or land him in jail. But in earlier periods of this country’s bleak history -- such as the Jim Crow Era -- the ignorance and blatant racism of the likes of Dunham and Schumer would have gotten a black man lynched.

Their self-victimization, their racist deductive reasoning and the confidence with which they participate in said actions are crucial characteristics of white womanhood and how it was constructed, particularly from the years 1882-1930, after slavery had supposedly ended, but before the Civil Rights Era (a point at which many want to believe that racism came to an end). In fact, the construction of white womanhood as an inherently pure racial entity allowed white women to not only victimize themselves without repercussions, but to participate in the lynching of black men, which reached its peak in 1919 (today known as the “Red Summer”) as either spectators, or the supposed “victim” watching her “rapist” meet his fate.

When Dunham victimized herself as an “average-bodied” woman, she forgot to mention that she was an average-bodied white woman. When Schumer claimed it is statistically men of color “hollerin” at her, she had no idea that her thoughts were in line with the white women who, less than a century ago, felt that it was only black and brown men who were prone to misogyny against white women and who therefore deserved the gruesome deaths they were met with.

Maybe in today’s world, black men aren’t being lynched as a spectacle (even though they are jailed and brutalized disproportionately), but what people fail to realize is that white women, such as Dunham and Schumer, are only two examples of how white woman have harnessed and perpetuated racism, only to be saved by the same exclusive feminism they promote.

Cover Image Credit: E! News

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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That One Time I May Have Shot An Ex-Police Officer

Yeah, you heard me.

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In England, we don't really have guns, maybe hunting guns but I think it's pretty rare. Anyway, point is, barely any guns. I have never seen a gun, shot a gun, I don't even know anybody that owns a gun so as an exchange student in Oklahoma it's a novelty to visit a gun range.

I was pretty nervous about shooting but the instructor was super nice and told us how to hold the gun and load it before we went into the range. He also let us ask any questions we had about guns and explained the process of getting a gun in Oklahoma and he said he had visited Europe and was talking about England, and how he used to be a cop and opened his own gun shop. Basically a really really nice guy, which honestly makes harming him ten times worse.

We went into the range and we were shooting a 22 caliber and another guy at the range, I'm assuming a regular, asked if we wanted to fire his revolver so of course, we said yes.

This gun was definitely heavier and the trigger was super hard to pull but he kept his hand on the gun whilst I struggled with the trigger and then I fired it.

I heard a bang and I heard a yell.

I turned around and he was holding his thumb and there was blood dripping onto the floor. At this point, I thought I had shot him, so you can imagine the sheer level of panic that I was feeling.

The color drained from my face and I was frozen solid and all I could say was, "are you okay?" which was answered with a "Ma'am, put the gun down."

Basically, I'm freaking out and I look over at the lads for some form of reassurance, which was met with them looking equally as freaked out as me. So I asked,

"Do we need to call someone?"

"Yep. We are definitely gonna have to call someone"

So at this point, my nerves were shattered and I had no idea what was going on or what the procedure is for this sort of thing. I mean, the guy also took it like a champ and barely even winced and kept repeating "little lady, you're fine" – safe to say I did not feel fine nor did the situation, in my eyes, look at all fine.

Luckily the regulars knew what to do and took him to the ER so we were left in the store with another regular shooter.

Everyone else went back out to shoot but I didn't feel like assaulting/ shooting/ potentially murdering anyone else so I decided to sit this round out and talk to the woman that stayed with us and he called and said it wasn't me, something came off the bullet or gun and went into his hand- so no I didn't actually shoot him and he was going to be okay.

The point of this now very funny story is that whilst guns are cool they're also pretty dangerous.

I have no idea how someone can participate in these mass shootings because I didn't even shoot someone, only thought I did, and it was probably the most terrifying moment of my life.

So, if you are around guns, have fun, be safe and try not to send your instructor to the ER.

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