Perspectives

Today I’ve read three articles about the R. Kelly interview with Gayle King. Two of the articles references several Tweets giving their view of what happened at one climatic moment when R. Kelly stands and addresses the camera passionately while Gayle sits poised and perfectly still.

Opinions vary as to what we are seeing. Several people said it speaks of the strength of black women. Others commented on those sentiments saying that is expecting a lot of black women.

Several black men Tweeted white people are scared when blacks show emotions. Some compared R. Kelly’s outburst to Brett Kavanaugh’s and said that Brett was seen as being upset of righteous indignation while R. Kelly was seen as defiant.

I think there is a long list of female journalists who have kept their composure when under a stressful situation. What does have me thinking though are the comments about whites being scared of blacks showing emotion.

Personally I felt Brett was belligerent, disrespectful, and too emotional for someone who is supposed to be level headed and able to keep emotions from clouded his judgement.

My perspective about both men is this: when men behave in a dramatic fashion it’s because they are being “persecuted” or a “victim” to society or the news etc. What if these weren’t men though? What if a black woman was being interviewed by a man and stood up and screamed at the camera? Or a white woman seeking a lifetime appointment screamed at Senators yelling “witch hunt”?

Those women would be called emotional or reactive. The color of their skin would only be relative to the black woman because we have a stereotype that black women are angry. Yet when Anita Hill testifies they said she was too emotionless. Her lack of fervor meant the things she said couldn’t have happened. A woman harassed would be upset, angry or despondent!

I read a comment recently about how poorly Brett Kavanaugh was treated. That no one should face that level of ridicule and speculation about their reaction when their life has been torn apart. Yet the alleged victims of these men aren’t free of judgement on their reactions or reasons.

We can certainly appreciate Ms. King’s professionalism but I think the biggest issue is why we condemn women who have emotional outburst (Serena) but justify men doing the same.

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