Seriously, How Are YOU Doing Wendy?
BY: JENNA CALDWELL
The 2016 BET Awards will forever be memorable due to the remarkable speech Jesse Williams delivered. His speech addressed issues on police brutality, the senseless killings of black men and women, and the overall struggle of the Black Lives Matter movement. His speech was bound to cause controversy and even offended some, but interestingly enough, this pro-black speech seemed to have hit a nerve with television host Wendy Williams. Voicing her opinions to an all-Black audience Williams stated:
“I would be really offended if there was a school that was known as a historically white college. We have historically Black colleges. What if there was the National Organization for White People, only? There’s the NAACP.”
Williams might have been better off sipping her tea on this issue as she has been dragged on social media for her comments. Technically, Williams comments have nothing to do with Jesse Williams’ speech, but as an opportunity involving pro-blackness presented itself, she was going to let her thoughts on black institutions be known.
First and foremost, simply because we do not refer to historically white colleges as historically white colleges does not excuse them from being historically white colleges. The only reason historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) exist is because Black people were not allowed to attend White colleges, or what we refer to them now as predominantly White institutions (PWIs). In pursuit of an education they were denied, Black people took the matter into their own hands and voilà! The HBCU was created out of necessity, not the desire to be separated.
Now onto Williams’ next problematic opinion: the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Founded in 1909, the NAACP was very much so created out of necessity similarly to HBCUs. The key word here is “Advancement.” With Jim Crow laws in full swing and slavery having ended just 40 years prior, it was essential that Blacks were able to be accepted and advance in society. According to the talk show host, there is no national organization for white people, but the NAAWP is a real thing (not surprising). Yet, White people in America have never needed a White organization. They do not need to ban together to be heard and advance in society. They are society.
They are not only the most dominant racial group in the U.S. but the most successful because they have defined what success is and how it must be achieved.
Therefore Wendy Williams, please take the advice of Jesse Williams, “If you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do.” HBCUs and the NAACP are not forms of reverse racism. If we were to rid of these establishments of their titles, it would only slow down the progress that so many minorities within the U.S. have fought and will continue to fight for. Whether we attend predominantly Black schools, join predominantly Black organizations, or are even pulled over for being predominantly Black, it is our existence that seems to offend more than our strive for success.
Williams’ views have not only sparked backlash from nearly everyone with access to the world wide web, but from also Chevrolet. The car company has pulled their sponsorship from the Wendy Williams show and it should be noted that Andrea Thompkins, president of ACE Media Corporation (the company responsible for the Chevy partnership), is a graduate of Howard University.