Some people have suggested that I might be blind where Benedict Cumberbatch is concerned. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am an unquestionable and unapologetic deaf-mute where Benedict is the topic of conversation (or adoration). I hear and speak nothing else. Blindness to any of his perceived faults is only the beginning of the spectrum. If my feelings towards Benedict Cumberbatch should ever come into question, there is a YouTube video I created two years ago that should clear up any confusion. My frequency is not set to receive bad or disparaging news where Benedict Cumberbatch is concerned.
In light of this, you may well imagine my shock and horror when I saw headlines describing my dear, sweet Benny as a “racist” who had used the word “colored” to describe Black actors.
When did colored become a racist appellation? Do we not have an organization that fights for Black rights that boldly features a fat letter ‘C’ in it? (Hint: I’m talking about the NAACP.) Did Ntozake Shange not pen an entire book of poems entitled “For Colored Girls Who have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is not Enough”? I’m pretty sure I’ve heard/read speeches wherein Dubois, MLK and Malcolm X have used the words colored and Negro interchangeably. If the word is anything at all, it is outmoded, but it is certainly not racist. Who are these people making these charges and what in the name of good grits are they talking about?
I watched the video where Benedict used the “offensive” term in conversation during an interview with Tavis Smiley. In a nut shell, it went something like this:
Tavis: Why do you think actors of color aren’t paid as well?
Benedict: I think colored actors don’t get their due because they can’t shoot glitter out of their bums. I on the other hand, am English, and therefore can.
And for that slip of tongue (and it truly is) the PC Gestapo have come to hunt and incarcerate my Sweet Cumberbatch. Agents of Satan! They should all be ashamed!
Benedict, if you’re reading this (and I know you’re not, but that’s beside the point), I want to assure that no Black person – or person of color – thinks you’re a racist. You know why? Because we know what racism looks/smells/feels like. Unfortunately brother, you ain’t it.
The Black Caucus all got together and gave racism a definition we can all agree on. Nelson Mandela and Christ Almighty were present in the room. Racism is the belief in the superiority that one group of people has over another based on their race or ethnicity. These racists then go about setting up economic, social, educational and legal systems that will ensure their advancement and prosperity at the expense of other races deemed inferior.
Let me tell you who is a racist. John Boehner is a racist. Harry Reid is fo’ sho a racist. (Obama would have been your butler, huh? I ain’t forgot.) Nancy Pelosi is a eugenicist, and is therefore a racist. Ted Nugent is an anagram for the word racist. Rudy Giuliani makes Bull Connor look like he was playing house, he’s such a blood thirsty racist. Your ancestors, dear Benny, who owned slaves and a plantation in the Caribbean were absolutely racists. However, that doesn’t make you a racist…you are merely a beneficiary of racism. You come from wealth. That system built hundreds of years ago worked exactly the way it was meant to: in your favor and the favor of millions of other white folks.
But you know what? I’m not even mad about that. How can I be? I don’t feel oppressed by you for your use of the word “colored”, a word my own elderly aunt still uses in conversation. You know what offends me? When Jay Z calls Harry Belafonte “boy”, or when Kanye is dashing out n*ggers to hungry white audiences like he was a poki seller on a hot Accra day. Furthermore, you apologized for it, and swiftly. You were even self-depreciating in that apology, calling yourself an idiot. Never say that about yourself, my dear Benny. You are NOT an idiot. You know who is an idiot? Nelson Baani, MP for the Daboya/Mankarigu constituency in northern Ghana. After 82, 456 people signed a petition asking him to apologize for calling for the stoning or hanging women who might be accused of committing adultery, this man has not only refused to apologize, he has withdrawn from society like the slithering bug that he is. You recognized that you may have caused offense and were quick to repent. You are a MAN, Benedict. Slugs like Nelson Baani are not.
Let me assure you that there is no need for any angst you may be experiencing. I am sorry you were made to feel like you had to apologize for what is truly a non-issue. It’s not as if you were not in the midst of a tirade about how you’d love to conquer the savage races of the third world, or even asking why Black people don’t pull up their pants if they don’t want to get shot. In fact, you were attempting to explain the existence of what you feel is an injustice: unequal pay and opportunity for actors of color. That meddlesome American media and the handful of people who voraciously consume their fare dragged you through the mud and I’m sorry for it. Trust me when I say there are literally two Black people in the world who are offended by your use of the word colored, and that is because someone white told them they ought to be.
In the future, just stick to Black – or better still, call out each actor by name. African-American is now even controversial. Don’t you worry, Benny! I’ll be here to guide and protect you.
With love, devotion and spine-chilling adoration,