Hijacking the Conversation: Please Be Quiet

I was going to discuss the “Men’s Rights Movement” today, dispel a couple of myths, and explain why women do not see men as “the enemy”, but I got sidetracked by something else.

It is a small firestorm of reaction to something one actress “tweeted” about another actress, and it has caused anger and disappointment amongst some segments of fans, and dismissiveness amongst others.

The Emmys were on TV the other night, and one of the people who won was an African-American actress by the name of Viola Davis, for her performance as lead actress in a show called “How to Get Away with Murder”.

She gave a moving acceptance speech, in which she quoted Harriet Tubman, saying

“ ‘In my mind, I see a line. And over that line I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me over that line, but I can’t seem to get there no-how. I can’t seem to get over that line.’ Let me tell you something: the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” – “Emmys 2015: Viola Davis Makes History as First Black Woman to Win Best Actress in a Drama Series”, Megan Daley, Entertainment Weekly, 9/20/215.

Aside #1: Harriet Tubman was a leader in the American abolitionist movement – she led slaves to freedom, helped house escaped slaves, was a scout/spy/nurse for the Union during the Civil War, wrote books and gave speeches, and established a home for the aged (if I missed any other achievements, please let me know).  

This is the first time in 67 years that an African-American woman has won an Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama Series.  That is a really big deal, and I know I do not need to explain to my readers why it is.

Aside #2: It’s not the first time an African-American woman has won an Emmy, ever – that honor went to Gail Fisher in 1970, who won for her portrayal as Peggy Fair in the TV show “Mannix”.  She won Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in Drama.  She was also the first African-American woman to win a Golden Globe (in 1971 for Actress in a Supporting Role, and in 1973, for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – those were for “Mannix” also).

At any rate, she gave a terrific speech, and that should have been it, along with congratulatory “tweets” from others and so on.

But it wasn’t.

Along came a daytime actress (read that as “actress in a soap opera”) named Nancy Lee Grahn, who plays a lawyer/mobster’s girlfriend in the soap opera “General Hospital”.   She tweeted this:

“I’m a f—-ing actress for 40 yrs. None of us get respect or opportunity we deserve.  Emmys not venue 4 racial opportunity. ALL women belittled.” – “General Hospital Star Slams Viola Davis’ Emmy Speech”, Jacob Bryant, Variety Online, 9/21/2105.

And, if that isn’t bad enough, she continued with this:

“I heard harriet tubman and I thought Its a fucking emmy for gods sake. She wasnt digging thru a tunnel.” – “General Hospital Star Rips Viola Davis’ Emmy Speech: ‘She Has Never Been Discriminated Against’ “, EURPublisher01, EurWeb, 9/22/15.

So, not only did she inject herself into someone else’s happy moment, she also tried to hijack the conversation and make it about all women.  Which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is pretty dismissive and ego-centric of her.

She then goes on to reduce the achievements of Harriet Tubman (whose name she doesn’t even capitalize – and, no, I don’t think that’s a small error, as she manages to capitalize “I”, and the first word of a sentence) to a “tunnel digger”.  A tunnel digger!!  Grrrrr.

What on earth is the matter with this woman??

This is what this actress tried to do – hijack the conversation and make it about women.  In fact, she praised Patricia Arquette that same night for addressing women’s issues in her Emmy speech.

And it didn’t stop there.  She also “tweeted”

“I think she’s the bees knees but she’s elite of TV performers. Brilliant as she is.  She’s never been discriminated against.” – “General Hospital Star Slams Viola Davis’ Emmy Speech”, Jacob Bryant, Variety Online, 9/21/2105.

So, Nancy Lee Grahn knows Viola Davis’ life history??  Of course not, she doesn’t even know the woman.  Yet she thinks she can declare that someone has never been discriminated against. How does she know this?  She doesn’t.  A clue can be found in her characterization of Ms. Davis as “elite of TV performers”.

She’s jealous, pure and simple.  Not only that, she’s an example of one of those idiot white people who says things like “we live in a post-racial America”, or who cites the fact that we have an African-American president to “prove” that racism doesn’t exist anymore.

Now she has just proven, very publicly, that racism is alive and well.  As if anyone needed reminding.

Well, apparently some do need reminding, actually.   Because I see this all the time.  And it infuriates me.

I won’t go into all Ms. Grahn’s subsequent attempts to apologize and backpedal.  Suffice to say it was pathetic, and indicative of her ignorance.  She wasn’t apologizing because she knew what she said was racist, she was apologizing because she wanted to squirm out of her remarks.

You know how I know that?  Her “apologies” were basically her saying she is an advocate for all women and she rephrased things badly.

Those are not apologies.  Those are defensive statements that dismiss the reactions of all the people who understood exactly what she was saying and were outraged by it.

So she continued to try to hijack the conversation about race.  To make it about her, and what she sees are important issues, and the hell with anyone else trying to address anything she doesn’t understand or think is a big deal.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s