Selective Outrage in the Black Community

In today’s social climate, it is easy for anyone to get offended by anything, but luckily, thanks to social media, a lot of that outrage turns into jokes. With viral communities like “black twitter”, some topics that can be deemed offensive and mean-spirited regularly gets tossed off and forgotten about as a part of the fast-changing 24-hour news cycle. While there are other topics that get discussed for days on end that seems to have to the entire community in an uproar.

Let’s discuss two recent examples of both scenarios. Last week in a newly released song by YFN Lucci titled “Boss Life”, rapper Offset, who is most famous for dating Cardi B. said, “60K solitaire / I do not vibe with queers / I got the heart of a bear / I bust ‘em down by the pair”. Obviously, these lyrics were met with an immediate pushback from members of the LGBTQ community.

After receiving the backlash, Offset took to his social media to clarify what he meant by his lyrics

I didn’t write the line about gay people. I have said before since these issues before that I got love for all people. My passion for fashion has lead me to a lot of gay people around me who I have mad respect for and we are very cool so I’m not in a place where I’m hating like that. When I wrote that I was thinking of words that could rhyme with the others (here, lear, solitaire, bear) and I saw this definition about her having a queer feeling she was being watched and it fit what I was thinking about a stalker creepy paparazzi situation. To me that “queer” I don’t mean someone who’s gay. I mean lame people who film you, post it and stalk you. Lingo that means strange or odd. I M S O R R Y I A P O L O G I Z E I’m offended I offended anybody

A post shared by OFFSET (@offsetyrn) on

It is safe to assume that any person over the age of 18 knows that “queer” is sometimes used as a derogatory phrase used against gay people, and there is little chance that a grown man like Offset did not know the meaning behind what he was saying. To my surprise, many people on social media came to Offset’s defense.

These tweets are just a few examples of people writing off the hurt that Offset’s words may have caused some, and it seemed as if the overwhelming majority of people, at least those not in the LGBTQ community, shared similar sentiments. Now moving on to another incident that incited outrage this week, is none other than Kim Kardashian-West debuting her new braided hairstyle.

Braids #kimkardashian

A post shared by Kim Kardashian Snapchats 🍑 (@kimksnapchats) on

In the post, Kim called her new style “Bo Derek braids” after the famous white actress from the 70s sported them in the film “10”.  Immediately Kim received negative feedback from members of the black twitter community and social media all around.

The tweets with disdain towards Kim were endless, and sometimes even funny.

I’m not saying that people were right or wrong to attack Kim, but what makes it so easy to come after her and not someone that blatantly disrespected the LGBTQ community, which includes black people as well? There seems to be a deeper issue at hand regarding what we, as black people, will and won’t tolerate in terms of who we felt disrespected us, and which section of our identity did they disrespect. Is it okay for us not to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters if we are not personally offended, or should an attack on one of us be an attack on all?

About the author

Terence McNealy

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