Wendy Williams Has No Right to Blast Paris Jackson for Calling Herself Black

Wendy Williams calls Paris Jackson identifying as black
Wendy Williams/YouTube

I was a huge Wendy fan back in the day, often making sure I lingered in my home office in the mornings so I could hear the talk show host ask, "How you doin'?" to the television. One of the things I loved about Wendy and The Wendy Williams Show was her candor and her willingness to speak her mind. But as years passed and I grew older, so did my taste, and I lost that desire to listen to people tear someone down -- even if it's all for the sake of entertainment. You can "say it like you mean it" all you want, but Wendy Williams's ridiculing of Paris Jackson for identifying as black on a recent episode of her show is just not cool, on any level or at all.

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Like all of us, Wendy is certainly entitled to her opinion -- including her disagreement with Rolling Stone magazine's choice to have Michael Jackson's daughter grace a recent cover

Maybe the 18-year-old doesn't "deserve" to be on the cover or tell how life has been since the passing of her father in an exclusive interview inside. But that's for Rolling Stone to decide, and obviously, they wanted her.

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What I don't get is how a 52-year-old -- who admittedly says she was joking by calling it "terrific" to see Paris on the cover as her audience applauded -- would think it's okay to mock an 18-year-old for identifying as black and call it "cute."

"Black is not what you call yourself, it's what the cops see [you as] when they got steel to your neck on the turnpike," Wendy said during a segment. "It's what they see ... but that's cute." 

Listen ... I get when talking about racial injustice and prejudice that, in most cases, it's easy make the assumption that someone like Paris wouldn't have to deal with being racially profiled based on her blue eyes and blonde hair. Statistically speaking, black males are three times more likely to be killed by police, and blacks and Latinos more likely to be stopped and arrested.

... But that doesn't make it right -- or okay -- to judge the authenticity of someone's blackness because he or she doesn't look exactly like "us" or have the same features as "us." And speaking of all this "us," when it comes to race or ethnic background, there is no one size fits all.

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(Um, have you been around the world to see all the shades of black, Wendy?)

I really wish Wendy would've thought about the words she said -- or even picked up a copy of the Rolling Stone issue she had a problem with. Because maybe if she read it, she would've learned that Paris Jackson (who knows Michael Jackson as her dad despite all those rumors that he's not) has had a history of trying to commit suicide, because of "self-hatred" and "low self-esteem." While I'm so thankful that Paris seems happy and full of life today, the last thing any teenager needs -- let alone one who's still trying to figure out life and being famous because of her dad -- is more ridicule and prodding for not looking a certain way and (in Wendy's eyes) coming up short.

There are so many people (kids and teens) who are struggling to fit into the world, and the last thing they need is for any one of us to cast judgment on them based on how they look or identify.

Part of my ire comes from the frustration of growing up and experiencing firsthand what it's like to not feel black enough. With lighter skin and a curlier hair pattern than most of my friends around the way, I was constantly called names and made to feel less than qualified to consider myself black.

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I see the same thing with my husband, who's a black Latino man (shout out to Panama!), as he constantly has to defend that he is in fact "authentic," even though he has darker skin. And what's funny is that he's darker than me (he and my father have the same complexion) -- and his maternal grandmother is a white Irish woman!

No matter how you slice it, comments like this can be hurtful -- even if they make for good television. Sadly, I have one too many biracial friends who've struggled all their lives to fit in (they either looked "too black" to be white, or "too white" to be black) -- and it needs to stop.

Race is a social construct that does not paint the entire picture. And unless we plan on bringing back the South African "pencil test" to prove whether we're white or black, we need to start embracing every shade.

... Because that's what makes us beautiful.

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