In the Whitest of White Women, White Feminism statements that ever Whited, Heidi Klum a rich, White, blond, former supermodel, host of Project Runway and panelist for America’s Got Talent spoke to about her lack of response and solidarity with Gabrielle Union who expressed concern about racism on America’s Got Talent.
Gabrielle Union (a longstanding actress in the industry) was fired from America’s Got Talent, citing “toxic and racist behavior during production.” In addition, Gabrielle said, as reported by the LA Times, “The most high-profile incident occurred when Jay Leno allegedly made a racist joke about Korean restaurants while taping a segment for the show, prompting Union — an outspoken advocate for minority communities — to file a complaint with producers, who allegedly dismissed her but excluded the joke from the final cut. The network also reportedly discouraged Union from wearing a variety of hairstyles that it allegedly deemed “too black” for viewers. At the same time, Union expressed concerns that a white contestant overstepped while impersonating celebrities of color, such as Beyoncé.”
I have a long memory, so let us not forget Gabrielle was on a panel for Net-A-Porter “The Big Television Debate,” to address such topics as diversity, inclusion and, pay disparity. Ellen Pompeo stated, “This day has been incredible, and there’s a ton of women in the room, but I don’t see enough color, and I didn’t see enough color when I walked in the room today, and I had a meeting with a director of another endorsement project that I’m doing. I said, you know when I show up on set I would like to see the crew look like the world that I walk around in every day and I think it’s up to all productions to make sure that your crew looks like the world we see,” she told everyone. “As Caucasian people, it’s our job; it’s our task; it’s our responsibility to make sure that we speak up in every single room we walk into, that this is not ok and that we can all do better. It’s our job because we created the problem.”
After this statement, Pompeo was trending, and people were singing her praises, but I knew inevitably, chickens ALWAYS come home to roost.
Try as Pompeo must at being “inclusive,” her heart would always come out, and it did as she tweeted about Kamala Harris…
Quite frankly, as she was speaking, the smirk on Gabrielle’s face said it all. That was the, “I BEEN SAID THAT,” smirk. I KNEW when Gabrielle was making that face, she already knew! Gabrielle was fighting on her own!
But what are those words White women love to use, “intersectionality,” “inclusive”? We are in solidarity, right?
It would have been EASY for Heidi as a White woman that has longevity and clout in the industry to say, “As a White woman, I have not experienced racism. I cannot speak to Gabrielle’s personal experience, but I can and do stand with her, and I am committed to doing something about the issues that she has raised.”
How impactful do you think that statement would have been? How strong would it have been if, as usual, a Black woman was not fighting the wind by herself? Let’s just be real; oftentimes, Black truth isn’t heard unless it’s filtered through a White voice. (That’s another blog at another time.)
But in TYPICAL fashion, what did Heidi do? Heidi decided to make it about her and the deep oppression she is feeling being a beautiful, rich, White woman in the entertainment industry. I can hear Swing Low Sweet Chariot playing in the background as she stated, “A lot of people got mad at me. I was called, for example, ‘a white woman.’” Heidi added, “I think it is important for everyone to speak their truth. I think that when there is a story, it should be told. I had a different story.”
Let me get this straight; Heidi is saying that people are mad at her and called her …gasp…a White Woman.
Oh, the oppression!! How did Heidi EVER make it over?! I am sure Harriet Tubman is turning over in her grave, thinking, “If I could just come back and save Heidi.”
Let’s be clear, Heidi IS a White Woman, and her comments speak to a larger issue with White women like Heidi.
Heidi is not confused about being White. She knows she is White and has worked in industries where her Whiteness has benefited her immensely. Heidi’s comment speaks to White women being the standard. White women are simply allowed to be women. White women are allowed to roam throughout this world, not classified as “the other.” White women are simply women, and everyone else must be categorized underneath them.
For example, while not dealing entirely with women, I was on Twitter, and someone commented Pete Buttiegeg being an “acceptable” form of gay. And a person replied and said (and I paraphrase), “We should at least be happy that LGBTQ kids get to see a gay man be this close to being the President.” And I said, “What this shows Black LGBTQ kids is that you can be White and gay and do wrong by Black people and still rise.” And the person said, “I never thought about that.”
WHY? Because when they see or write or think about LGBTQ people, they immediately see White people. Black people aren’t even in their purview.
Heidi’s (fake) outrage is because she is not used to being the other. She is not used to being hyphenated. She is not used to being classified. She has maneuvered this world as the standard. Like all those Women Suffrage events, you are going to have this year. When you say “women” were granted the right to vote, PAUSE and ask yourself, “Were ALL women TRULY given the right to vote?” If you are STILL saying WOMEN were given the right to vote, you do not see me. You do not see Black women. You see White women as the standard, the cornerstone.
Yes, Heidi, you are a White woman. There is no need to pretend you don’t own that when you have owned that for decades!
You are a White woman like many White women in this world.
You are a White woman that had an opportunity to stand up, to speak truth to power, to stand alongside a Black woman, and as usual, you made it about yourself.
Am I surprised?
White women gonna White women all day.