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Mo’ne Davis got it wrong. Taraji Henson got it right!

March 25, 2015

by: Professor Devin Robinson

I get it. We want to be seen as easy to work with. We want to be accepted. We don’t want to be viewed as sensitive or angry. We don’t want to be troublemakers as we ascend to the ranks of prominence; well, at least some of us don’t.

Last Friday, Bloomberg University’s first baseman and university Joey Casselberry, posted a tweet to his 500 followers challenging Disney’s decision to produce a movie on 13 year-old black female Little League player and phenomenon, Mo’ne Davis, which was also insulting to her and all females as a matter of fact. Now if you’ve never heard of her, she is the Little League baseball player who pitches a 70 mile per hour fastball and strikes out anyone; including male players. She recently pitched a shutout game and made the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.

The tweet sent by this, to me, ignorant, insensitive, reckless, predator said “Disney is making a movie about Mo’ne Davis? WHAT A JOKE. That slut got rocked by Nevada.” Slut? Really??? One of our young girls? REALLY? This is obviously how this 20 year-old young man was raised. Like millions of his counterparts, this is how their rearing spills over into misogynistic acts. One of the reasons I say “never let your haters be your raters…” moving along.

Over the weekend, the coach dismissed him from their team. I am with them. Their actions were swift and appropriate. However, on Monday, young Mo’ne wrote a letter to the team asking them to give him another chance and reinstate him. This is where it goes wrong for me. I guess, this is Mo’ne’s parents’ way of showing that they aren’t trouble seekers. But I disagree with their nobility at this juncture. Why do we rush to let offenders off the hook when we are violated? Punishment is warranted here. Let him face it. When we remove punishment, the message is not sent and the teachable moment is lost.

In our quest to be easy to work with, we must also send the message that we are not to be offended. But I know. That in itself is a fine line. When you demand respect, you instantly become a diva, right? But when people feel we’re not easily offended, powerless, voiceless and contained, then they increase their offense on us. But let me move off of that point for brief moment.

Why is it that we have no problem being difficult and confrontational with other blacks?

Back to Mo’ne…

Many have applauded her for having class and character in writing the email but since when did class become synonymous with giving evil a free pass? I’ve always said that we are, at times, too accommodating. Not forgiving. We should forgive but not accommodate the atmosphere for toxicity to persist. It’s almost like we don’t believe we are worthy of respect because we feel we are incapable of creating our own subsistent group.

Look, I can’t even speak towards Mo’ne and none of this is really directed at her. Of course, it is directed at her handlers and her parents. Mo’ne is poised to become a great example for women and a breakthrough for young black girls. But we must ensure that cultural accountability is not lost in the process. I always say that every time we run away from problems, those problems remain problems. In order to make something “routine”, you must have already, in the past, faced it and conquered it; reducing it to now a mundane, routine situation. It is the same approach for racial, discriminatory, misogynistic barriers. We must face them and reduce them to nothing.

Mo’ne can’t view this as an isolated incident that other young black girls should also accept. The next time around the offender may go further than calling her a slut. He may commit a violent act if his behavior isn’t reprimanded; as if traumatizing this young girl wasn’t enough.

This is why we must shutdown people like Amber Rose who has glorified the term slut and stated that she would like to organize a slut walk to empower women who are viewed as sluts. (See any connection here?)

Take actress Taraji Henson, whom I’ve had the pleasure of bumping into while traveling. She stated in the latest issue of Uptown magazine that she is transferring her son to Howard University from USC (University of Southern California) because he was racially profiled for having his hands in his pockets while they were both on campus. She said her money wasn’t going into an institution that didn’t respect him. The Chief of Campus Police, John Thomas, said he was profiled because he was a teenager, not because he was black. (It’s always some explanation for acts on us but there is rarely an act taking on others to even warrant an explanation. I digress…) Nonetheless, she got it right.

We can’t be so fearful of demanding respect and inflicting punishment on people that offends us. As a man, I’ve accepted the responsibility that all men should, which is, to protect our women and children; not just their physical well-being, but also their virtue and mental well-being. As a black man, that duty becomes double duty… my children, my women, my race and I would only hope that there are other men in the trenches who are willing to fight that same fight.

There is a silver lining, however. Mo’ne was able to get a taste vile treatment early. So now when she becomes the modern day Jackie Robinson, hate speech towards her won’t be so shocking because she would have already dealt with it at the age of 13 and able to reduce it to another routine day in her quest to making history.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Brandie permalink
    March 25, 2015 10:42 am

    I completely agree. It does come across as over accommodating. If we are ever to gain the respect we deserve then NO ONE gets a pass on consequences for their wrongdoings to us. He doesn’t even know her and already had preconceived notions about her, aka definitely how he was raised, meaning its deep rooted and he DEFINITELY needed to feel that consequence to potentially open his eyes to his fault. Young black girl doing it big = 2 steps forward ( big big deal ). Letting him off the hook = 1 step backwards. He could go back to the team and formally apologize and all that hooplah, but struggling to find another team to accept him and the potential ridicule that would come with him would have been a more withstanding lesson.

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