On Common, Colorblindness, and Extending a “Hand in Love” to White People

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  • Mary Burrell

    Does becoming a so called “new black’ make these celebrities stupid? Common is too old to be making these stupid statements

  • Mary Burrell

    Maybe when one is black in Hollywood they can’t rock the boat and have to use politically correct language

  • Cubert

    “We all know there’s been some bad history in our country. We know that racism exists. I’m saying ‘hey y’all, I’m extending a hand.’ And, I’m hoping a lot of the generations in different cultures are saying, ‘hey, we want to get past this. We’ve been bullied. We’ve been beat down. But we don’t want it anymore and we’re not extending a fist. We’re not saying, hey, you did this, you did us wrong.’ It’s more like, ‘hey, I’m extending my hand in love. Let’s forget about the past as much as we can. And, let’s move from where we are now. How can we help each other? Can you try to help us cause we’re going to help ourselves too.’ That’s really where we are right now.”

    I don’t see how any rational person can disagree with this. Don’t forget the past, but let’s move on.

    • I think he had good intentions, but what he said was problematic. “How can we help each other? Can you try to help us cause we’re going to help ourselves too.” This statement alone implies that Common on some level believes that Black people have not been helping themselves and been lazy basically. That’s saddening because that’s a stereotype put onto the community by the media. And also it implies that White people shouldn’t help Black people at all unless they are willing to pick themselves up by their bootstraps. Even though White dominant culture was largely the perpetuator of slavery, Jim Crow, prison industrial complex etc… And Common does use the words ‘move on,’ but then he also says ‘let’s forget the past as much as possible.’ That also something I have issue with. You shouldn’t forget your past. Rather, it should give you perspective and guide your future decisions in a more positive, constructive way. I think he wanted to say that the past shouldn’t keep dictating how Black and White people approach one another in a negative way, but it just came out completely differently.

  • I was sort of stunned at Common’s comment. I talked about this on my blog because I was so frustrated that he said this and I think it’s absurd that anyone tell anyone to forget their past. No one should ever forget their history or their past period. And like you said the way Common spoke about it is as if Black people are to blame for this history of oppression and it’s by the goodness of White people for them to want to help the Black community. It reminds me of Chris Rock’s critique that people talk about Black people and their ‘progress’ as if whatever happened to them was their fault to begin with.