Stacey Dash, Why You Always Trippin’!?

Stacey Lauretta Dash played the cute and uppish best friend in character Dionne, who happened to be black — presumably, depending on who you ask— to the protagonist socialite in Cher played by Alicia Silverstone in the 1995 film and television show “Clueless”. Apparently Ms. Dash is still in character, and has made some scurrilous statements off-script on the topic of race relations in our society.

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Mainstream media anterior to now was much more predominately white than today, so when you did see a black character playing a supporting role with above average screen time in film and television you tend to take notice. That is when I noticed her. I didn’t know much about her other than she was the cousin of Damon Dash one of the co-founders of Roc-A-Fella Records. It has been widely reported by Damon himself that they are no longer on speaking terms and that her “cooning” on Fox is something she is merely being paid to do. If this is the case however she surely has been consistent about this “white framing”; the apparently shared and disparaging views regarding what she sees as reverse racism and the promotion of self-segregation by Blacks.

Yes, I said self-segregation. Usually self-segregation inherently happens when you feel shunned, made to feel uncomfortable, or not accepted in a particular setting and so relief is found in perpetuating the racial construct in this instance. Furthermore how someone can turn this into a caustic retort on Blacks is telling. Segregation promoted by Blacks however misspoken by Ms. Dash in response to Jada Pinkett Smith’s questioning and disappointment of the Oscars here is a misnomer to say the least.

“I think it’s ludicrous. We have to make up our minds; either we want to have segregation or integration. If we don’t want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards, and the [NAACP] Image Awards, where you’re only awarded if you’re black. If it were the other way around, we would be up in arms. It’s a double standard. […] Just like there shouldn’t be a Black History Month. We’re American; that’s it.”

Segregation can only be imposed by the dominant group institutionally through the enforcement of laws and authoritative positioning in the form of discriminatory practices both socially and economically, it cannot be effectively done the other way around. In fact many of the more rational among us would argue that the attempts by BET and the NAACP in awarding various achievements could even be considered as such, especially if the social capital that one would benefit pales in comparison to the more in-line meritocratic systems like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The caveat to this is that the nomenclature used in this setting by the majority-established and owned industries pretends that it is inclusive when apparently it is quite exclusive racially.

Minorities are not proportionally represented in meritocratic systems and they have little to no control of the access nor dissemination of the arts in mainstream media. For instance the Oscars or the Grammy’s, both legacy institutions that decidedly proffer the distribution of artistic endeavors through film and music through majority-established and owned industries correspondingly disseminate singularly perceptive views, tastes and ideologies. The voting members have been widely reported as majorly white males.

But to gloss over the significance of the BET and NAACP awards rather is a bit discerning here and when paraphrased by Ms. Dash in the Fox News setting it can be quite alarming. Yes, this is paraphrasing because it sounds similar to resentment often casted upon Blacks who have become self-aware in a society that marginalizes minorities. In my opinion the awards from BET and NAACP only seek to medicate the artistic, yet psychologically-wounded among us who have no choice but to work in an integrated albeit prejudiced and discriminatory society.

It should also go without mention that BET and the NAACP has recognized and awarded people who are white for their contributions especially those who acknowledge culturally what inspired them to achieve their relative success. Just to be petty here there are two names that comes to mind. Marshall “Eminem” Mathers and Justin Timberlake has been nominated numerous times and has won awards from BET. The NAACP also recognizes whites for the same. However it is important to repeat and note that these award programs simply serve a different purpose and probably would not have to exist if not for just cause. It seems especially warranted when the broadly accepted institutions with their nomenclatures are blatantly obscuring the contributions of Black cultures in the arts and sciences of film and music in order to sustain privilege.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t conclude that categorically BET and the NAACP would probably not have existed if it weren’t for oppression of Blacks in American society. A far and widely reaching consensus can be made about how much people in general can opine about Black self-concept. It has been the most aggressively studied and narrowly interpreted of social myths much to the disadvantage of Blacks, and juxtaposing to the advantage of whites, packaged and sold worldwide under the category of sincere fiction. Stacey Dash represents an acculturation and conditioning of this phenomena and has placated it as much to her own self-interest.

I suppose that is why she is always trippin’.

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