Debate Magazine

“Can’t Nobody Say Nuthin’ To Me…”

By Gradmommy @cocomamamas

So….Ellen Pompeo is running around giving her opinion on race relations, and what black people need.

(h/t @daowens44 on twitter)

The relevant parts are between 45 seconds and 2:45.

As you can see in the video, Whoopi asks her about her plans to adopt a baby of color, and what people have said about that. Ellen Pompeo says, with a certain amount of what she must of thought was black girl sass, “Can’t nobody say nuthin’ to me cause I had a baby of color…” [Yeah. I paused too.] Then she goes on her rant about HBCUs and the NAACP. She doesn’t think we need “black schools and white schools,” referring to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She doesn’t think we need the NAACP awards; we only need “People Awards.” And I don’t think she is referring to the magazine.

What makes Meredith Ellen feel this way, let alone think she has a legitimate voice on these issues, that actually don’t affect her, considering she would have never even attended an HBCU or would get an award from the NAACP**?

Cuz can’t nobody say nuthin’ to her cause she already has a black baby. And a black husband. And who really cares what Jill Scott has to say, right? The experiences of black mothers can’t really be worth as much as those of a white mother of a black child, huh?


Let’s put out the disclaimer from the start: I’m not saying that Meredith Gray Ellen Pompeo does not have the right to speak an opinion on HBCUs or the NAACP. We live in a country of free speech, and I love a healthy debate. But what she did was try to pull our her “race-by-association card” – oh, yes, yes, she did – and THAT is unacceptable.

I’m sorry (actually, I’m not), but when will white people learn that no matter how many black kids, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, coworkers, pastors, lovers or neighbors they have that does NOT give them an honorary black card?

When will they learn that their social and familial relationships with black people does NOT automatically remove their prejudices and biases or prove that they don’t have them?

Did you notice how many times she said, “and my husband thinks so too?” When will they learn that just because one black person agrees with them, that doesn’t mean that point of view is right or deserves anymore attention?

And one of my biggest pet peeves: When will white parents of black kids learn that they have a lot to learn about what it means to be black in this world outside of sliding a black baby from their vaginas or choosing a black baby from an adoption agency?!?

I’m not touting some essentialist view of blackness here. Blackness means a lot of things, contingent on time and space, and is continually being negotiated and renegotiated.

But one thing is certainly true, white parent of black child: your multi-racial family is NOT proof of the color-blindness that SHOULD be taking over the world.

Many white moms of black kids get this (I don’t know about white dads of black kids. Don’t talk to them much.) The moms that I interact with here get this.  I have a great friend who is a white mom of black kids who gets this. But there are so many more who do not, and I would go as far to say that the majority are in this camp. So many more who want to believe that their families are the harbingers of the racial utopia we all want and that they, in their white privilege and power, should have the right to dictate to everyone else what racial programs should look like. So if Ellen Pompeo, due to her status as a white mother of a black child (and a rich celebrity at that), wants to rid the world of HBCUs and the NAACP awards, who are any of us to protest? Can’t “nobody say nuthin’” to her!

UGH. And y’all wanna know why I sometimes want to go back to the days of segregation.

JK. Kinda. Sorta.

** Or any other acting award? Truth is I never liked you and your whiny character on Gray’s Anatomy. I stopped watching after the first season because you and Patrick Dempsy make me nauseous.

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