Tag Archives: social media

Leigh Anne Tuohy Update: One Of The Teens Responds

19 Dec

One of the two teens involved in Leigh Anne Tuohy’s recent social media stunt has spoken out on Instagram (his name has been blurred out for privacy):

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Person One aka Teen Leigh Anne Tuohy approached at KFC:

Yeah people don’t know what really happened because I actually had money I have a job and have had one for over a year I was gonna pay for my brother the other guy in the picture but he was insisting on waiting on his uncle but his phone was dying so we were charging it which is the reason we were in KFC in the first place.and the game was only a 3 min walk up the street I don’t see why she said bus fare that kinda ticked me off a little but the way she worded it is making us sound less fortunate and that isn’t the case at all & when she came over to us she never mentioned her initial reason was because of her friends comment im just now finding that out

Person Two:

May I ask how she asked for the photo?

Person One:

Yeah she never actually asked for it as she was handing us the money she was like “hey you know what I think this would be a great picture” and everyone with her was yeah totally so we just kinda went along with the situation like sure why not your Michael Oher’s mom but the whole time I was thinking you know why’d she come up to us in the first place I was still clueless up until she posted the picture on social media and stated “the person with me said I bet they’re up to no good.”

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a Black teenager, especially a boy, just trying to exist in a public space. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have to constantly wonder what white people might find threatening about you, and try to adjust your appearance and behaviour accordingly. There’s no right answer, of course – there’s no actual magic formula that Black people can apply in order to not trigger a racist reaction from a white person. It’s like trying to hit a moving target – once you think you’ve got things figured out, the earth shifts again under you and you have to add yet another must-not-do to the extensive you already have. Ijeoma Oluo recently catalogued 25 things Black People Shouldn’t Do Around Cops, and I know that this list is by no means exhaustive (nor does it just apply to cops). It seems like every day there’s something new to add to it – apparently the most recent one is “don’t charge your cell phone in KFC.”

For anyone defending Leigh Anne Tuohy, I want you to consider how absolutely mortifying this must be for those kids. Think about what it would be like to have some white woman come up and pepper you with questions about who and what you are while you’re just sitting there trying to mind your own damn business, and then think about what it would be like to wake up the next day to find your picture being used by a quasi-celebrity as some kind of race parable. Not only that, but in the picture you are being misrepresented – instead of a middle class kid trying to charge his phone, you’re a have-not case, taking charity bus fare to get to a basketball game. And now think about all the comments you get to read from racist white folks making assumptions about where you got your necklace from and why you were loitering in a KFC in the first place and you were probably just going to use that money to buy drugs like every other Black kid and look, honey, here’s a perfect example of what’s wrong with Black people today, they’re always hanging around wanting hand-outs.

All of this because you dared to be Black in public.

In response to all of the uproar, Tuohy took the haters-gonna-hate route and shared the following image on Instagram:

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 3.38.47 PM

I’m not here to disagree with any great Greek philosophers or anything, but I’m willing to bet that even Aristotle would have a few words to say about the value of criticism. Criticism isn’t fun, but it’s what helps us grow and learn – it challenges us to change our perspective and be better people. I’m not saying that all criticism is valid, and of course it can be challenging to figure out how to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to people calling you out, but it’s incredibly vital that we learn how to do so. In this case, I would really encourage Leigh Anne Tuohy to take a hot second a listen to all of the Black people explaining why her actions and words have been hurtful. Because if your end goal is racial equality, then a good starting point is treating People of Colour as equals who deserve to be heard and not just objects in need of your gracious white help.

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Leigh Anne Tuohy, Racism, and the White Saviour Complex

15 Dec

Leigh Anne “That Nice Woman Sandra Bullock Played In The Blind Side” Tuohy recently posted the following picture and caption on her Facebook and Instagram accounts:

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We see what we want! It’s the gospel truth! These two were literally huddled over in a corner table nose to nose and the person with me said “I bet they are up to no good” well you know me… I walked over, told them to scoot over. After 10 seconds of dead silence I said so whats happening at this table? I get nothing.. I then explained it was my store and they should spill it… They showed me their phones and they were texting friends trying to scrape up $3.00 each for the high school basketball game! Well they left with smiles, money for popcorn and bus fare. We have to STOP judging people and assuming and pigeon holing people! Don’t judge a book by its cover or however you’d like to express the sentiment! Accept others and stoping seeing what you want to see!!!

The comments on both posts are full of people praising her – telling her how awesome she is, how open-minded, how kind. Reading these responses is completely baffling – like, did these people and I all read the same words?

Let’s break down what happened here:

1. Two teenagers were sitting alone and completely minding their own business.

2. A white woman decides that based on the fact that they are “huddled” in corner “nose to nose,” they must be “up to no good.” Because obviously whenever Black people (especially Black men) gather in public, it’s bad news for the rest of us!

3. Another white woman, one Leigh Anne “I Adopted A Black Boy So I Can’t Possibly Be Racist” Tuohy, decides that White Lady #1 is wrong. Which is actually the correct assumption for Ms. Tuohy to make, so I guess this is where some people are getting confused because we see that her intent is good, and that makes us want to believe that the action that follows will also be good. She’s at a crossroad here – two roads diverged, etc. Had she taken the road less travelled, Ms. Tuohy might have said to her friend, “Wow, you’re being really racist right now! I’m not comfortable with how this conversation is going.” Instead, she decided to confront the teenagers who, as a reminder, have done absolutely nothing wrong.

4. Leigh Anne Tuohy walks over to the two boys and sits there in silence. I’m sure that wasn’t scary for two Black teenagers at all, especially given recent events.

5. After what was certainly the most awkward ten seconds of those boys’ lives, Ms. Tuohy asks what’s “happening” at the table. Like, other than two teenagers sitting there talking like anyone sitting at a table might do? Some kids are hanging out and chatting. That is what’s happening.

Unsure of the correct answer to this question – other than “we are two friends sitting together and not causing any trouble,” which probably seemed too obvious for them to point out – the boys remain silent.

6. Leigh Anne tells them that this is her store and they need to “spill.” Again, these kids have done nothing except be in public and be Black.

7. After being interrogated by this woman, and probably afraid that at the very least she’s about the call the cops, the boys show her their phones. This part just breaks my brain, like, these two kids had to show this woman evidence that they are doing exactly what they seem to be doing: sitting at a table and having a conversation.

8. Apparently satisfied with the evidence the boys have presented her with, Leigh Anne Tuohy gives them bus fare and money for popcorn, but not before she has White Lady #1 take her picture with them.

9. Ms. Tuohy then posts this picture to social media and receives thousands of responses lauding her for being such a good person.

Leigh Anne Tuohy profiled two Black kids, invaded their privacy and interrogated them, but somehow people are behaving as if this is some kind of wonderful social justice moment. No. Not even a little. This is some fucked up racial profiling combined with white saviourism, and it is racist as hell. Assuming that those kids were doing something bad was racist. Assuming that she could take up space at their table was racist. Insisting that they talk to her was disrespectful and racist. Wanting evidence that they weren’t up to no good was racist. Treating those boys as props to make her look good and then posting this picture publicly (and honestly, I wonder if the boys consented to that) is incredibly racist.

Also, can we talk about how problematic using the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” is when it comes to talking about race? First of all, it begins with the assumption that the “cover” (or in this case, skin) tells you something unappealing about the contents of the book or person. It also implies that there is something unattractive or bad about the “cover” (or, again, skin). I can’t believe that I have to say this, but: there is nothing wrong or bad about Black skin. Black skin is not unpleasant or ugly, and to imply that dark skin might devalue someone is really, really fucked up.

Black people aren’t things. They don’t exist just so that white people can make a point about themselves. These are two real kids who not only had to endure this woman’s microaggressions but have now had their image splashed all over social media – the Facebook picture alone has 150,000 likes and over 12,000 shares. Step away for a hot second from this white woman’s narrative, and think about how those teenagers must feel – having their privacy invaded, having assumptions made about them based on their race, and now having a white woman use their images to get praise for herself.

Now tell me again about how Leigh Anne Tuohy did a good thing.

UPDATE:

One of the two teens involved has responded on Instagram (his name has been blurred out for privacy):

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Person One aka Teen Leigh Anne Tuohy approached at KFC:

Yeah people don’t know what really happened because I actually had money I have a job and have had one for over a year I was gonna pay for my brother the other guy in the picture but he was insisting on waiting on his uncle but his phone was dying so we were charging it which is the reason we were in KFC in the first place.and the game was only a 3 min walk up the street I don’t see why she said bus fare that kinda ticked me off a little but the way she worded it is making us sound less fortunate and that isn’t the case at all & when she came over to us she never mentioned her initial reason was because of her friends comment im just now finding that out

Person Two:

May I ask how she asked for the photo?

Person One:

Yeah she never actually asked for it as she was handing us the money she was like “hey you know what I think this would be a great picture” and everyone with her was yeah totally so we just kinda went along with the situation like sure why not your Michael Oher’s mom but the whole time I was thinking you know why’d she come up to us in the first place I was still clueless up until she posted the picture on social media and stated “the person with me said I bet they’re up to no good.”

Dear Wil Wheaton – Only YOU Can End Mansplaining

5 Feb

Hi Wil,

I know, I know, this is the second open letter I’ve written to you in, like, a month. And I know, you didn’t even read the first one, even though I poured my heart and soul into it, and tweeted about it extensively (and by extensively, I mean obnoxiously).

The thing is, Wil, I need your help. I know we don’t know each other very well, or, really, at all. I’ve tweeted at you a lot while drunk, so you already know how funny and awesome I am. I’ve watched a lot of Star Trek, so I know what you look like in terrible sweaters. One time you tweeted back at me (actually, you tweeted twice, but the second one was to correct a typo), so I am pretending that means that we’re internet buds. That’s how these things work, right?

So anyway, here’s the whole story:

Last night, I was wasting time on twitter (as is my wont). You tweeted a link to something on his tumblr, and since I think you’re aces, I clicked to check it out.

Guess what I discovered on your tumblr? Oh, just something that you reposted about women’s reproductive rights.

“HOLY CATS!” I yelled, scaring our actual (unholy) cats.

Matt, naturally, asked me what the hell I was yelling about.

I told him that I had just stumbled upon a trifecta of the the three things I love the most – Wil Wheaton, women’s reproductive justice, and social media.

Matt wanted to know why he and Theo weren’t part of that trifecta.

I told him that they were part of a different trifecta.

He tried to argue that if it was a trifecta of three things that I love the most then he and Theo should be on it.

I told him that there were two trifectas of things that I love the most. There’s the one I mentioned above, and one involving Matt, Theo and cake. He told me that I couldn’t have two trifectas of things that I love the most. I told him that I can have as many damn trifectas as I want, because I am the boss of trifectas. I told him that he gets no say in how many trifectas I have.

He just rolled his eyes and left the room. Then he came back and asked if, out of all my trifectas of things I love the most, his came first.

“Sure buddy, whatever,” I said. I wasn’t really paying attention to him, because I was having an IDEA.

See, the thing is, I get mansplained a lot. Maybe not here, on my personal blog, but on posts that I write for other sites. My post about that rape joke on The Oatmeal that went viral? You better believe I got mansplained to hell and back on that one, both on BlogHer (which picked it up and featured it), and on various other Serious Business News Sites that linked to it. Oh and the mansplainers and misogynists came here, to my post about The Oatmeal’s 5 Super Neat Ways To Use A Hooker, intent on proving that I don’t know anything, ever and am just silly feminist who likes to get worked up over nothing.

So now that I know that you love protecting the rights of lady parts (and, hopefully, ladies themselves), I have this brilliant plan. See, I realized that if only I had a picture of you holding up a sign that says “STOP MANSPLAINING”, I could just post that picture whenever dudes are mansplaining. And they would be like, WELL, if WIL WHEATON says I should stop, PROBABLY HE IS RIGHT.

I know what you’re thinking – a picture like this is a powerful tool. In the wrong hands, it could definitely be used for evil. But just think of how much good I could accomplish with it!

An added bonus is that if you ever happened to catch yourself in the act of mansplaining, you could look at the picture and be like, “Oh, great, advice from someone I trust.”*

So please Wil? Just one little picture?

Remember when you told everyone not to be a dick, and it was great, and world peace was achieved?

Now you can do the same for people facing mansplainers everywhere!

Anyway, that’s all. I’ll let you get back to your whatever it was you were doing.

Sincerely,

Anne

p.s. You could also take a picture of yourself holding a picture that says “Anne Is The Best,” and it would be great because it could mean your wife OR it could mean me. Everybody wins!

p.p.s. Sorry again for all the drunk tweets

p.p.p.s. Sorry for all the annoying sober tweets, too

p.p.p.p.s. Here is a picture of me in a Star Trek-inspired sweater I found at a thrift shop. I thought maybe you would like it? In like a geek solidarity kinda way? I really tried to 80s up the makeup to make it more TNG authentic

star_trek_sweater

p.p.p.p.p.s. This is the face I make when I am getting mansplained

*The credit for this joke goes to Jesse Dangerously, who is way funnier than me on social media AND in real life

Facebook! Social Media! I have no idea what I’m doing but I’ll run with it!

31 Aug

Hey lovely readers!

I made a Facebook page for my blog – you can like it if you want to!

You can dislike it, too, but there’s no convenient button for that. I guess if you want to dislike it you will just have to do that from the privacy of your own home. Sorry.