THAT'S ENOUGH OF THAT!!
The biggest non-political domestic news of today is, the decision by ABC Entertainment to cancel ROSEANNE, its highest rated comedy show and also its biggest money-maker, because of a racist tweet by its star, Roseanne Barr, comparing former Obama White House, Valerie Jarrett, to an ape. Later in the same day, within hours of the release of Ms. Barr's tweet, comedienne, Wanda Sykes, a gay black woman how is also a consulting producer on Barr's show announced she was stepping down from the show.
Today's decision is a reminder not only of the coarseness to which the public mood has descended over the past year and a half, but also of what the national conversations about Diversity, Inclusion and Macro Aggression and Micro Aggression have all been about. The current head of ABC Entertainment is an African-American woman and she sent down the directive that pulled the plug on the ROSEANNE cash cow.
One can only think what must have been going through her mind when she saw Ms. Barr's tweet and even later when she witnessed the national uproar the tweet created. She was integral to the decision to greenlight the show in the first place. And she had done so in spite of all the earlier controversies Ms. Barr's tweets and public statements had made. As far back as 2013, she was quoted once before comparing the physical features of a black woman to that of an ape. And before that this same woman honored an engagement to sing the National Anthem at a major league baseball game, by walking onto the field, grabbing and holding her crotch and spitting as she deliberately sang the Anthem as loudly off-key as she possibly could. There were other statements that were seen as homophobic and, of course, there was her very public decision to support Donald Trump's presidency.
Well, plenty of Americans support Trump and most of them are Conservative in their thinking. That alone is no real cause for alarm; people are entitled to their opinions. But, opinions are one thing, bigotry or intolerance is quite another. All of this brings me back to the decision to let Ms. Barr go and the delicious irony that her demise was ordered by someone who happens to share the same race and gender as Ms. Jarrett; for that decision could not have happened except that a black woman sat atop the network and issues involving race, gender equity and intersectionality are all gaining a broader hearing in our country today because people who come from these backgrounds are moving from invisibility to boardrooms and other places and positions for authority where decisions are being made about what will be appropriate for public consumption and what will not.
The underrepresented have to be in those spaces, not merely because it is the right thing to do - it is.; but also because voices that reflect those different perspectives, experiences and points of view deserve to be heard - need to be heard - if any entity that sells to the public is going to give itself the best chance possible to reach the widest markets, and most especially in a country rapidly moving toward a demographic reality in which no one race will constitute a majority of the population. Racial antagonism - deliberate or otherwise - has no place in the America of the future, nor does sexism, gender discrimination, workplace bullying and inequality or any other kind of bias. Roseanne Barr proceeded from an old paradigm, one that is slowly but inexorably coming to an end. Sadly, for her, she did not realize that. Happily for the rest of us, there was a woman at the top who did.