I Have to Believe That Nicole Arbour Isn’t a Real Person So That Any of This Can Make Sense
such empathy. many understanding. pic.twitter.com/xWBGhu8Gby
— regular brion (@whoisbrionrock) May 13, 2018
The more ignorance Nicole Arbour spews, whether in her “comedy” or as herself, the more I have to believe that she’s some kind of Andy Kaufman/Tony Clifton construction of a personality. Somewhere out there, there’s a real Nicole who’s examining society by putting this troll of a character out into the world, Stephen Colbert-style. That’s the explanation, right? Right?
I already wrote about the tone-deaf “women’s edit” Arbour did of Childish Gambino’s “This is America.” It understandably got a lot of criticism, and that criticism prompted Arbour to tweet the above tweet, which has since been deleted. The internet, however, is forever, and it loves holding onto receipts.
“I’m so sick of people mad at slavery,” she says. “It’s the past, we weren’t there. We didn’t do it. But what we CAN do is fix economic slavery. Focus on the now.”
There are many problems with this, some of which I hope she recognized, having backtracked on the tweet and all. First and foremost, there’s a reason that people are still “mad at slavery.” It being one of this country’s biggest (if not its biggest) injustices aside, the fact is that slavery is a direct cause of the systemic injustice that black Americans face today. The reason why there are so many black people in prison and police officers that need retraining, which she claims to oppose in this tweet:
Oh I mean this. It’s misdirected energy. I can’t fix the past, but issues now, we all have a chance at so let’s refocus. I wanna see more movies with black women CEOs and normalizing excellence for the next generation to see, less black ppl in prison, and police retraining. https://t.co/vVgRdEepI3
— Nicole Arbour (@NicoleArbour) May 13, 2018
…is directly related to slavery. What’s frustrating for the people who keep “bringing it up” is that we, as a country, have yet to acknowledge that. And you can’t solve a problem without acknowledging the cause. Rhetoric like Arbour’s would like to skip all the uncomfortable-feeling reckoning that needs to happen and just “get to the solution already.” That’s not how this works. Because while, for example, there’s no legalized slavery in the United States anymore, slavery lives on in our prison system through the 13th amendment. The one that supposedly “abolished” slavery.
Spending all this time trying to “get past” slavery has allowed a new form of it to continue to enslave black people, albeit in different ways. Prison. Economic disadvantage. Voting rights being stripped. Those things are happening right now. Precisely because of attitudes like hers. Too many people not seeing the connection. Seeing slavery as something that is “past” as opposed to something that is very much present.
And that’s the biggest problem with both her video, and her response to criticism. She talks a big game about wanting us to find “common ground,” but the fact is the ground isn’t common. That’s the problem. The things that are “common” to her aren’t “common” for other women.
Intersectional feminism isn’t about “common ground,” finding the places where women “intersect.” The intersections are personal and individual. It’s about understanding that there are places where we, as a group, diverge, and getting comfortable talking about those things, backing each other up even in the places where we’re different.
Arbour posted the following statement on her video:
— Nicole Arbour (@NicoleArbour) May 15, 2018
She’s great at talking. At expressing her point of view, and defending herself. Where she desperately needs improvement is in the listening department. In considering viewpoints other than her own. Especially with such a huge platform. Or, as she puts it, “having such a large voice.”
(via Newsweek, image: screencap)
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