Yesterday was a busy day. As I often do, I had the TV on for white background noise. As I got my computer work done, I was feeling quite accomplished. As the day clicked away, I was due to be in Tri Cities to spend some time with my youngest grandson and I still had a couple errands. I grabbed my handbag and headed out the door. The TV still on in the back ground. As I sat behind the wheel, I noted I had left my phone.. back into the house I ran…. as I climbed the stairs of our 70’s split level I could hear Sarah Gilbertson – THE TALK – saying that those who didn’t like Beyonce’s appearance on the CMA’s the night be fore were racist. I stopped in my tracks.
Now, I normally like the Talk.. and while I certainly don’t agree with everything they say, I also do not put them into the column of The View- a show I stopped listening to years ago. SO I was a little taken a back. But, I grabbed my phone, rolled my eyes and headed out once again.
Her scathing verdict stayed with me. Like a bee sting, where after you spend the rest of the day trying to find the stinger in hope of some kind of relief. Relief never came.
Just the night before I had sat and enjoyed the CMA’s. Probably enjoying them for the first time in a long time. I don’t always like where Country Music has gone in the last few years.. being more pop then Country. And every year I comment. While I don’t often like collaborations – admittedly I loved Chris Stapleton and Justin Timberlake. Go figure. Had I not liked Justin – would I also be a racist? I love Darius Rucker and Charlie Pride – so I wonder how that fits the narrative? I don’t like them just because they are black.. but because they are talented.
I thought of all the ways I knew her verdict of me was not true. Starting with the fact that being a minority as whites are something we feel here in the Yakima Valley. It isn’t as if we are not part of the diverse world on a daily basis, we are. And, we do it well.
I thought of all my friends… Black, Brown, Red, Yellow…. and took comfort in the fact that THEY would not say I was racist. I thought of our son 2.5 whose brown, and our youngest son’s girlfriend who is as well. I thought of how much we love them and they are as much part of this household as any of the rest of us.
My irritation was now hurt. I know for a fact that I do not live my life sorting out colors as if opening a package of m&m’s and only eating the blue ones. Even as a middle class white girl, I have enough going for me to know that no matter the color of the shell… those m&m’s all taste the same. Like my friends of color, we all cry, and hurt, and struggle and laugh and….. love.
Then, as my emotions simmered down, I felt sad. Oh, not for me. I was clear once again on who I was and am. Who I have always been. But sad for the world that Sarah must live in to see the world as racist. To take comments such as mine… “I don’t feel Beyonce added anything to the CMA’s” and make that about race.
My truth is that it is not. It is about cultures.There is a huge difference between the Hip Hop Culture and the Cowboy Culture. The cowboy world I live in embraces diversity. Includes anyone who saddles up.We still believe in respecting our elders, and saluting the flag, and respecting police officers and loving God and our nation. Not attributes always shared by Miss Knowles. Add that to preforming with the Dixie Chicks and well it was a hot emotional mess. As they too have not always embraced these qualities, and the country world has let them know… and they are white.. So… does that make us racist too…? Im confused.
Here is the thing… those qualities, those attributes, those Country Cultures don’t come in only one color. And it is so narrow for Gilbert or anyone else to assume that they do.
This morning as I sit at my computer trying to purge this awful accusation from someone who doesn’t even know me.. or frankly know enough about the outside of Hollywood world… I began to wonder…. “when did we as a nation start allowing the ill-informed.. to inform us?” I think back to the great news orators of the day – like Walter Cronkite. I see the image of him reading from the paper just coming across the wire. He delivered news. They are gone now. In country singer Clint Black’s new song he brilliant asks, “and we still call this news?” I get that shows like The Talk are opinion pieces. And, in yesterdays show I think Sarah Gilbert showed exactly how little experience on the topic she really knew.
I found myself wondering too, if Miss Gilbert were at a LGBT event and for what ever the reason someone was there performing or giving out an award who she had heard didn’t necessarily share her LGBT views, and they were of color, and she commented about not really “feeling” them… would she then be a racist? or would she have some cultural differences with them? I am guessing that she would claim the latter… however, not afford me the same verdict.
If truth be told, the whole performance felt like another verse of the Dixie Chicks singing, “I’m not ready to make nice.” and no it didn’t set well with me, and I still don’t think Beyonce added a darn thing to it. And I still don’t get why you would have them come do a Beyonce’s new album song the same time we are honoring the legends in the COUNTRY field.
I am not saying that I do not believe we as a nation do not have a race issue. Personally, I feel that there are racist huddled in every color group. You don’t have to be white to be racist. You can be Brown, yellow, White, Red and every color in between. But, if we are ever really going to work through that, we have to stop calling EVERYTHING racist. I am not a racist for simply holding different values than you, and I am certainly not racist because I don’t bow down to Queen Beyonce, or the things she sings about in her songs, of the way she conducts herself on the stage, or the messages she puts out there about police officers and the like. It is still a free world and I get to express my opinion just as much as you do Miss Gilbert.
And, oh Miss Gilbert, anytime you want to venture out into the real world let me know.. I’ll give you a tour.