What starts out as a fairly partisan-free assessment of comedian and nouveau activist Chelsea Handler’s visit to Bucknell last week, quickly devolves into a politically correct distribe about racial identity.
Last Thursday’s editorial in The Bucknellian refers to Handler as a “strong personality” who utilizes “controversial, unfiltered rhetoric,” and says her foray into political activism is “admirable.” It “respects” the comedian’s “attempts to advocate” for matters such as feminism and marginalized populations, but finds some of the efforts troublesome.
Somewhat remarkably, the editors point out that Handler’s political knowledge isn’t all that prodigious, as evidenced by her (lack of) response to what Hillary Clinton’s achievements were as Secretary of State, not to mention her “remedy” for voter apathy: becoming a one-issue voter.
But what really was beyond the pale was … how Handler talked about her attraction to black men:
On another note in response to a question about her brief fling with rapper 50 Cent, Handler dove into a description of his intimidating sexual prowess, to put it tastefully. This isn’t unfamiliar territory for Handler, as she often brings up her sexual attraction to black men on her show.
The problem with Handler’s comments on black men is one of fetishization. Though she advocated for the accountability of white cops who murder black men at disproportional rates, and commented on the importance of supporting the fight against institutional racism, she turned around and made comments about being sexually attracted to black men as a result of the dirty nature of their sexuality. This comment is a propagation of a prescribed sexuality assigned to many black men based on preconceived notions of racial and bodily stereotypes associated with them, including their sexual aggression. To promote a message of racial equality, and then participate in the perpetuation of stereotypes harming black men seems at least counterproductive, and at most, quite detrimental. In this way, she embodies the nuance of white liberalism: she attempted to advocate for marginalized communities, but ended up contradicting her message with misinformed microaggressions.
The editorial concludes that Handler’s heart “was definitely in the right place,” but it is the editors’ — brace yourself! — “duty as journalists” to point out her contradictions and “set [her] straight.”