Candace Owens is a popular black conservative who often makes very radical comments about racism, white supremacy, and is now being called out about her comments on Adolf Hitler. During a conference in London, Owens made a comment about Hitler basically saying that he wasn’t really all that bad because he wanted to make Germany a better place. She then goes on to say that Hitler was okay until he wanted to globalize. Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu plays this clip during a hearing that took place during white nationalism, where Owens was invited as a conservative representative. Owens claimed that the Southern Strategy does not exist and that white nationalism is not an issue in America at the moment.
White conservatives need black people, but specifically black women like Candace Owens to invalidate every struggle poor people, people of color, and women of color go through. “Well Candace Owens is black and she doesn’t think racism exists anymore so racism doesn’t exist anymore.” “Candace Owens is a woman and she doesn’t think sexism exists anymore so sexism doesn’t exist anymore.” Black people like Candace Owens who say white supremacy does not exist in our society today just further allow it to run rampant. In the left movements we have learned about in class, black women were vital to the cause and still are today. But unfortunately in radical right movement we see today, Black women hold just as much strength. Black women are a powerful force for whatever cause they are fighting for. It is vital and important that we use our voice, at the very least, to uplift and protect ourselves and our people instead of defending the very people who want to see us fail.
Lupita Nyong’o starred in Us playing Adelaide and Red, the tethered version of her character Adelaide. When describing her inspiration for her character Red, she said she was inspired by spasmodic dysphonia, a disorder where vocal muscle spasm causing interruptions in the person’s voice, making them difficult to understand. Many different organizations that represent people with various disabilities repremanded Nyong’o for demonizing the disorder. Nyong’o promptly came out apologizing for doing so and explaining that demonizing the disorder was not her intention. My question is why we did not reprimand Leonardo DiCaprio for his portrayal of Arnie, who had Autism, in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Why didn’t we accuse Tom Hanks of insensitivity for his portrayal of Forrest Grump, who had Asperger’s and Polio? In both of these cases, these white men were praised for their portrayal of these characters they played with disabilities. The difference between these characters and Nyong’o’s character, Red, is that the characters were explicit written to have these specific disabilities, while Jordan Peele didn’t explicitly write that the character Red had a certain disability. Why aren’t we shaming the writers that made characters with disabilities and not hiring actors with these disabilities? I believe that picking and choosing to be outraged with certain situations like this is fruitless. There is no consistency in being outraged with actors and actresses who portray disabilities. It seems like the outraged is being saved for people like Lupita Nyong’o, who are up and coming, just reaching fame. Society has these unrealistic, holier than thou expectations for minorities and women of color while not holding white men to these same standards. White men can do whatever they want and receive little to no outrage from the majority, but let a black women mess up and it’s the end of the world.
If you watched the movie, you would understand that Red actually was not the bad guy so claiming that Nyong’o was being offensive and demonizing spasmodic dysphoria does not work. It does not take a rocket scientist to realize that. All you have to do is watch the movie.
But I also do believe that portrayals of disabilities in the film industry is a touchy subject. Are we primarily portraying disabilities in a negative light? Are we primarily portraying disabilities in a stereotypical manner that harms the differences in each person who suffers from that certain disability? I think conversation needs to be had on this and we should question how people with disabilities are portrayed, but it starts by calling everyone out and holding everyone to the same standards.