Bill Burr’s Two Tiny Mistakes

Only two words of Burr’s SNL monologue were controversial

Heather M. Edwards
Oct 13, 2020 · 4 min read
All rights © Sincerely Media

Bill burr’s SNL monologue wasn’t that controversial — save for just two teeny tiny words. Two mere syllables with too much history.

My bitches.

He’s absolutely right. When Burr called out white women for hijacking the “woke” movement he wasn’t wrong. He wasn’t saying anything controversial. He asked how white women jumped the line and how so many have hijacked the fight for equality when so many of us enjoy so much more privilege than women of color.

Our grotesque history of white women accusing innocent Black men of rape needs to be known by all. It needs to be taught and believed and understood for its role in our past and present. And Burr should’ve also called out the vigilante white men who took no convincing to commit heinous murders just based on accusations.

I applaud him for using his platform to publicize such an ugly truth. Rest in peace, Emmett Till. Rest in peace, George Stinney, Jr. Rest in peace, all those innocent souls who never got justice, the names we’ll never know.

He said white women need to sit down next to white men and take our talking-to. I absolutely agree.

While we’re sitting there quietly, together, learning about centuries of institutionalized whitewashed oppression we can find out what people of color want us to do about it, what changes we need to make, where and how we can take action. And when they’re done speaking, we white women can turn to whichever white man we’re sitting next to and remind them that possessive pronouns and decades of misogynistic terminology are not theirs to reclaim.

We’re not yours. And we’re not bitches.

Women of all races have been oppressed for all of human history. White women have undoubtedly suffered the least. But we are not immune from male entitlement, rape culture, domestic violence, misogyny, incels and their mass shootings, sexual harassment in the workplace, victim-blaming, regressive legislation, health care discrimination, disproportionate sentencing, unwanted sexualization and gender pay gaps.

The Gucci boots and heated seats were funny digs. We’ll take our licks. But really with the old-school sexism? Way to slay, queen. You really pushed the proverbial envelope.

Bill Burr I’m pointing my finger back at you. You’re the one with the nerve. The fucking hypocritical nerve. Look at the straight white male balls on you.

You make a good point, good sir. But you shouldn’t have been the one to make it. Instead of hiring one more white man, SNL could’ve hired ANY Black female comedian to call white women out. But no, they paid a white man to call us bitches.

Burr is one of the many privileged white male comedians pissing and moaning about the PC police for the last several years. He joins the snowflake ranks of Seinfeld and Tom Segura and avid masturbater Louis CK, conflating freedom of speech with freedom to be hurtful and reckless and entrenched from a cozy monied public platform. They’re all self-made. I’ll give them that. But they haven’t earned the right to talk to women the way we sometimes talk to each other.

Had he said “women, my fellow white people”, he wouldn’t have diluted the argument to recenter people of color in the whole movement by being sexist.

Movements for equality can coexist. White women can advocate from the sidelines when the fight is Black Lives Matter. We do not need to be center stage. And when the fight is Me Too we can all advocate together - men and women of every color.

But we don’t need Bill Burr or Mark Ruffalo telling us how to be feminists or dictating our activism.

We don’t need bossy white men hogging one more stage telling us what to do.

You know who could’ve made the same point with more authority and from a place of experience? A white woman. A white female comedian. Iliza Schlesinger or Hannah Gadsby can say, “I don’t mean to speak ill of my bitches,” and earn a laugh and command our attention.

A platform is a place of privilege. If the true critique was that POC, and women of color, in particular, have been marginalized in the very movement to combat and correct that marginalization, let a Black female comedian speak for them. You know — the ones SNL hires in such representative numbers.

If the true invocation was to recenter POC at the forefront and listen to them speak from the spotlight while the cultural attention span is still focused on pursuing equality, Bill Burr should’ve answered his own call — and stepped the fuck aside. With comedic timing, he should’ve said, “but as a white man, I’m going to take my own advice,” and literally passed the mic to any prominent Black woman — an SNL alum like Leslie Jones, an industry fighter and survivor like Mo’Nique, a media darling like Issa Rae or a non-entertainment activist like Tarana Burke, whose mainstream celebrity is limited but her advocacy is well respected.

A Black woman has the right to say “my bitches” when pointing at the camera and addressing white women. A Black woman has the right to laugh and be flippant if that’s how she wants to make her point. It’s not sexist when she does it.

But a wealthy white male celebrity was the last voice who should’ve been on stage calling anyone bitches. Let alone in the name of equality.

You can advocate for people of color without making glib jabs from the patriarchy.

With Liberty

Americans for Equality

Heather M. Edwards

Written by

twitter @h_m_edwards unsplash @heathermedwards

With Liberty

We don’t have to be experts on racism, international politics, refugee resettlement or gender equality to try our damndest to do right by one another.

Heather M. Edwards

Written by

twitter @h_m_edwards unsplash @heathermedwards

With Liberty

We don’t have to be experts on racism, international politics, refugee resettlement or gender equality to try our damndest to do right by one another.

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