Raven Symone is a well respected young lady, she is openly gay and African American but does not want the label of either of those terms. Recently she told Oprah just that and as Oprah predicted, twitter went HAM. I personally haven’t seen any of the comments but from the sound of her letter, things got pretty bad.
Here is what Raven wrote:
I don’t take offense to those that are mad at my personal opinion of myself. Like before, I’m glad there are conversations happening. Our generation tends to stay comfortable ,at times, with issues and topics that need to be addressed.
QUESTION: If we are taught not to repeat history by learning it. Why do we continue to repeat? We must not be learning it correctly.
What does irritate me is the bulling tone towards myself and other opinions in the blog. Keep your disrespectful, mean, hurtful, words in a diary for yourself. Personal attacking is not needed, and no matter what race, nationality, culture, or womb you came out of; strive for respect. Strive to be virtuous, so the conversation can lead to great things, other things.
Our ancestors of all races had the courage to stand up for what they believed in no matter what the fight. Back then I hope the motto wasn’t…”the more haters the better”
We have reached a standstill in our progression as Humans. Let’s have a floor of RESPECT, KINDNESS, OPENMINDED-nESS. Showing your disagreement with my personal comments by using language you were not allowed to use as a child is just.
My momma reads this, and so do others. #bully
She also defended herself by saying:
“I never said I wasn’t black… I want to make that very clear. I said, I am not African-American. I never expected my personal beliefs and comments to spark such emotion in people. I think it is only positive when we can openly discuss race and being labeled in America.”
To be quite honest I agree with Raven, if someone has an opinion that you do not agree with, berating them, and bullying them is never ever acceptable. We can simply disagree with her view keeping things positive and respectful and go have a seat.
I also understood Raven’s comments about not wanting the label of ‘Gay’ or African American and just preferring to be called ‘human’. My perspective is based on the simple fact that I know what wearing those hats will mean, especially for a celebrity such as herself.
There are stigma’s, good and bad, that come with being gay and African American, and sometimes a person does not want to lead that charge, they just want to love who they love and be who they are and not have a press conference about it. She does not want the burden, and that is perfectly fine, albeit unrealistic.
You will never ever get away from labels, because being human is a label, being a woman is a label, we have categorized the human race to distinguish ourselves amongst each other and other species of the world
Being American is also a label, I don’t want to be called American because I am Jamaican, I don’t mind wearing my culture on my shoulders even though I openly accept the American culture, I enjoy it, I live it, but I prefer not to be called American. The point is you have to wear something, you have to be identified in some manner whether that identification makes your life harder or privileged.
Does this mean that if you are a gay African American celebrity you are now responsible for the gay community or the African American community? Of course not! You don’t have to adhere to any rules because with or without that label how you choose to live within your ‘group’ is your choice.
I think Raven was a bit naive if she thought that her beliefs and comments would not spark emotion, I think she knew it would, how could it not? Even Oprah said it on the day of her interview.
To say you don’t want to be called gay when you are gay comes across as total denial, the same goes for saying you aren’t African American but then you are black. It creates unnecessary confusion, when you could just simply accept who you are and move on.
Being American or human alone, will not remove your heritage or who you choose to sleep with you will have to wear those things squarely on your shoulders, because no matter how you slice it, you ARE gay and you ARE African American.
Check out the video interview below if you need a refresher: