Tina Fey Has Some Great Advice for People Who Don’t Actually Want to Do Anything About White Supremacy
Let them eat sheet cake.
While Saturday Night Live is still on hiatus, Weekend Update is back with special weekly installments, because what SNL apparently thinks we need to get us through the summer is news delivered as smugly as possible. Last night, Tina Fey dropped by, which I’m sure I wasn’t alone in hoping would balance out the Jost and Che. I was wrong.
A lot of the positive reactions to Fey’s segment have been along the lines of “It was hilarious! She spoke truth and ate cake!” Which … yes, she did both of those things. There were some really great classic Fey lines, going off on Nazis, the theft of this entire country from Native Americans, “Yard Sale Barbie” Ann Coulter, and the danger of independent militias. And the entire rant revolved around eating about half a sheet cake.
Talking of the upcoming planned white supremacist rallies, Fey said, “I would urge people this Saturday, instead of participating in these screaming matches and potential violence, find a local business that you support, maybe a Jewish-run bakery, or an African-American-run … bakery. Order a cake with the American flag on it like this one, and just eat it.” Which she proceeds to do. That part alone was at least physically impressive.
There’s a lot of debate of debate over whether it’s best to counter-protest Nazi rallies, or if they’re specifically trying to bait the left into violent photo ops. Either way, the idea of “sheet caking,” of staying home and yelling your fears and anger “into the cake,” is not a helpful suggestion. And sure, I know it’s “just a joke,” and that Fey is a comedian, not an activist. But that justification just feels lazy when the comedian in question is talking about actual Nazis on an ostensibly political show. And most definitely not when that comedian is someone a lot of women look up to–specifically a lot of white women, who, as a group, have consistently and historically been given endless permission for complacency.
Tina Fey’s suggestion to eat cake and ignore neo-Nazis forgets that plenty of people are already doing that https://t.co/AtbhOaWz10
— Caroline Framke (@carolineframke) August 18, 2017
Love Tina Fey, but I'm REALLY not feeling her "Ignore racism and stress-eat instead" take. It strikes me as willfully naive and privileged.
— Tom and Lorenzo (@tomandlorenzo) August 18, 2017
If you are asking the question Fey starts with–”What can I do? I’m just one person. What can I do?”–there are a lot of answers. Here are just a few of the many available out there on the internet (add your own below if you’d like!): Here’s a good list for how to help those in Charlottesville. Here’s another. Here’s a really fantastic crowdsourced syllabus for white people (and non-black POC) who strive to be real allies. And here’s an idea for fighting racism with comedy that doesn’t involve staying home and doing nothing.
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