I knew the name Mia Love before it appeared on the RNC speakers list. On Tuesday night, I listened to her speech with an open mind, genuinely curious to hear what a black Republican female mayor in Utah running for Congress has to say. I’ll admit her speech is good. Although I don’t really agree with her on anything, I was happy to see a woman of color cheered on by the enthusiastic RNC crowd, because it tells cynical me that America is OK.
In spite of say-anything-do-nothing agendas on both sides, we have finally come to the point that anyone can stand by their ideals and not be feel obligated to one party or another because of race, color, or creed. And that made me smile.
However, my smile disappeared on Wednesday morning when I learned the sad truth: that America is sick. Sicker than I realized, even, because no healthy environment would cultivate something like this.
Someone thought it was ok to call her a sell-out.
Someone thought it was ok to call her a whore.
Someone thought it was ok to call her a house n•••••
Someone edited Love’s Wikipedia page to add those insults as descriptors of her character.
All of these insults are atrocious, but the last one is the real problem.
For those who may not know, calling Love a house n***** is a slap in the face to any African-American. The term often lobbied at (and by) black people based on skin color. Rooted in slavery, it makes reference to the fact that lighter-skinned slaves worked in the house and did “less” physically demanding work than their darker counterparts out in the field; they were often shown favoritism by their white slave masters. The “house” reference implies problems of colorism and racism that still exist in the black community, as well as the idea that people of color are mere puppets for white people’s amusement.
Though they have already been deleted, the burn still lingers. Those words should have never been written.
There is no word on who the authored these changes. Right-wingers blame liberals, liberals point the finger at extreme conservatives, and blacks blame whites, even when most whites don’t even know the connotations of the insult.
But this blame game hides the real perpetrator: us. We’ve created an environment where people think it’s fine to throw peanuts at a videographer, or crack jokes about black people drowning in Hurricane Isaac.
Racism is racism and there’s no excuse for it. Whether it was a Democrat, a member of Love’s own party, or just a random idiot, there’s no reason for any of this.
Clearly, I’m upset. I’m sad to say that it’s not my first time hearing someone use “house” in an insult to demoralize a black person, to reduce the love they have for their heritage because they have a lighter complexion.
But seeing it written for all the world to see — knowing that the intent was only to hurt Love by defaming who she is with such words — is unacceptable. America can do better, be better, and it’s about time that we get better. Until everyone is as upset about this as I am, America still has a long way to go before it really is OK.