Having Opinions Is a Human Thing, Not a Racial One

Having Opinions Is a Human Thing, Not a Racial One
AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Tired of hearing about Will Smith doing a “welcome to erf” on Chris Rock? Me too, but I do think it kicked a cultural hornet’s nest and all the various angry, buzzing creatures came out ready to sting anything and everything around them.

A lot of ridiculous people said a lot of ridiculous things, but one of the things that I caught was that apparently, your skin color dictates whether or not you can have an opinion about the event. According to some white self-flagellators and black race-baiters, the sound level at which white people should be expressing their opinion on something that happened between two black men is zero.

Twitter is rife with this, with people still making comments like this even now. I should add, firstly, that this wasn’t even considered a racial issue by the broad swath of society until the social justice crowd made it one. As far as the majority of us were concerned, a beloved celebrity that many of us grew up watching smacked a beloved comedian that many of us grew up listening to, and the “us” in this case are a smorgasbord of races, religions, creeds, and identities.

But these people want to make it a racial issue and to them I say…fine…but I’m not playing the “rules for thee but not for me” nonsense. If white people can’t comment on black people doing anything, then black people are to hereby consider white people doing anything with white people off-limits for discussion or conversation. No commenting on events, no comedians making jokes, and no more talking about why Karen brought a potato salad with raisins in it to the party. That travesty can now only be commented on and handled by white people.

If that seems like a rule that you sure as hell won’t follow because no one is going to tell you what you can and can’t say…then we’re both in agreement. You will continue to comment on things white people do, and I will comment on things black people do, and we should be more than happy to do them because the truth is that opinions and their expression of them aren’t limited to race. Free speech is free speech, and that includes the freedom to comment about issues of all kinds, whether they be community issues or one celebrity slapping another on national television.

If it happens in the public square, it’s fodder for public conversation. It doesn’t matter the identity of the people involved. If it happened in public, the public gets to talk about it. Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, or Martian, you’re part of society, and being a part of society means society gets to have a conversation about what happens within it.

But outside the arguments about restricting free speech based on race (which is an article on its own), I think it’s important that this kind of thinking isn’t embraced, strictly because no race wants to wall themselves in with bubble-think. You can see the effects of bubble think in many different areas of our culture, including Hollywood and mainstream news media. These are the same people who have so surrounded themselves with people who think like them that they’ve begun defending pedophiles or people soft on pedophiles.

Having opinions from the outside is a good thing. Wisdom comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. An experience outside of your household or community may help give an answer to a problem yours is having. A fresh way of thinking or different perspectives is often necessary for problem-solving.

But that said, I hardly think two celebrities having a tiff is worth invoking this racially-charged conversation, to begin with. If you’re trying to silence others over this, it says more about your proclivity for overdramatics than everyone else’s supposed racism.

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