To quote a friend of mine when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV VMAs and it had at least been a half hour since it went down, “I’m still boiling”.
That was how I felt the night of November 5 when I innocently logged into my Facebook account and as a part of my news feed, I met the disparaging news of Artie Lange, of The Howard Stern Show fame, disgusting, DISGUSTING tweets about Cari Champion, who is an anchor of ESPN and is apparently one of America’s most feared triple threats of being black, a woman, and beautiful. While it’s not hard to picture Lange, who is unapologetically pale, obese, unkempt and with a potty mouth, sitting back watching ESPN, what prompted him to not only think but share with the massive visibility of Twitter his sexist, racist, cartoonish and maliciously stupid sex fantasy that had him and the unfortunate chosen one of Champion as his disobedient paramour, who knows. What we do know is that he went on about for ten tweets in a row. You can see a portion of the repulsive timeline below for reference:
Lange’s tweets were about as funny as the time when All Def Digital, backed by the usually zen Russell Simmons, released on YouTube a little too brisk of a parody of a day in the life of the legend Harriet Tubman. In the clip, Tubman is imagined not only in bed with her slave master, but in between their cockamamie dialogue, tries to convince him to make a sex tape. It was tacky and disturbing, and one of America’s greatest martyrs deserved better than this from a new generation. Promptly many of the “Black Twitter” world denounced the clip and it was taken down with a note from Simmons apologizing for its existence, only after having called it “the funniest thing I’ve ever seen”. What exactly is so funny about slavery sex? I can to a small extent understand the sociological fascination of the slave and master on intimate ground, it is such a manner of supply and demand and in this frame its humans, black human beings, and black women as basically the cargo, but why is it that the abuse of slave sex is occasionally used as comedy? It’s not funny and never will be. I was originally informed about this in a post by Complex, and I read the comments on their Facebook page and it was a back and forth of “Go Artie” and “fucking relax, it’s a joke” to others saying he was “corny” and a “lame”. Sometimes to people like Lange that sometimes lean on this uncalled for, I just want to simply spew to them “Grow up”.
Lange’s tweets were also just so obvious too. Oh how original, you’re a white man who finds a black woman attractive and to make yourself feel less vulnerable about it, you degrade your emotions to an intemperate front. And you know what’s the underlying reality of Lange’s comments? In thoughts and fantasies like shared so loudly, it makes a very hard or nervous experience for some women of color when even considering dating outside of their race. The reports are copious. “Black women are the last group in numbers to date outside their race”, while the most common interracial couple, physically, we see is black men with “non-black” women. It’s comments like Lange that is why they are the least willing. As the history of the enslavement of black people in America is like some kind of maligned reminder of how race relations used to be in the home of the brave, having to deal with the heightened level of possible degradation is a real actuality that many do not talk about.
Men already fetishize women so abundantly, the uncomfortable truth is that it could or feel worse if you look physically different when it comes to your skin tone, and even cultural background, to your partner. Believe or not, but please do, I’ve heard similar comments to Lange’s before in my presence and I had to smirk it off and hop, skip away before I ended up with a case. And it’s not just with black women and white men. You hear of the apparent rumors of why white men like dating Asian women, and it’s because they tend to be naturally smaller in body type and this so-called “submissive” behavior that they adhere to when it comes to white men…it’s all so disrespectful. One of my favorite shows, Entourage (which I’ll be the first to admit is at times racist and sexist in his comedy, I sometimes don’t know how I came to like it), depicts the stereotypical obedient Asian women and in their offerings of “happy endings” at spas and massage centers. I even saw recently on the gossip site, Bossip, where they obtain an advice section in which a black woman admitted that her white significant other has suggested slave/master fantasies for the bedroom and that it made her uncomfortable. Now, of course not all white men are like that or think like Lange. In writing this piece, I am sharing the background as to why black women are the least willing to jump at the first white man that says hello to them because it’s almost as if we rather deal with he Daquans of the world than with a potentially racist boyfriend and feeling like a rag doll. Might as well feel like shit with someone who at least kind of understands me, right? No. Both scenarios sound terrible. Black women want to view white men as saviors as from unfulfilling Daquans, but people like Lange make it hard for the good ones to get a chance.
What Lange did was bigger than himself, and he unknowingly, contributed to the ambivalence of black women finding love in other persons. His tweets also made white men look like jerks and in how they view women of color. Maybe it’s better we know this about him now, but it was just gross. According to Twitter, Lange’s target Champion already gets obnoxious tweets nearly regularly, but these were the worst of the worst.
To “non-black” women, black men are these alpha males with sexual prowess and an overall overwhelming presence that translates as hypnotic. In viewing white men in the eyes of a black woman, some see another perpetrator of abuse and who wants that? In thinking of the effect of Lange Twitter rant, I thought of Emmett Till, who was viciously murdered by grown white men for just looking in the same direction, or briefly speaking to a white woman. The details are still untrustworthy but we all know how it ended. That was in 1955. In 2014, Artie Lange wants to go on Twitter and share a juvenile sex slave fantasy featuring a black woman with an awesome job of being an anchor on ESPN. While he’s since earned the result of being banned from ESPN and Comedy Central for the time being, it feels like a slap on the wrist whenever black women are disrespected. I’ll say it again. Grow up.
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