Here's Why Raven-Symoné Has A Thing Or Two To Learn About Racism In America

Screen-Shot-2015-10-21-at-2.36.32-PM.png If I could gaze into the future, I would never have guessed that Raven-Symoné—known to be one of the few Disney stars who hadn’t gone off the rails— would turn out to become someone so lost about her race and full of self-hatred.

Raven first made her appearance as the adorable Olivia Kendall on The Cosby Show. From a very young age, she captured our attention not only with her cuteness, but also with her comedic timing. Eventually Raven became the star of her own hit show, That’s So Raven, where she played a high school teen dealing with being psychic. Raven had a legacy of being a great role model, especially one for Black girls. However, her reputation went downhill when the public began to learn about how Raven felt about her own race.

First, in an interview with Oprah she said she didn’t consider herself African American, just American. She then called Africa a country, yes a country, and claimed not to be from there because she is American. As a host of The View she launched into a rant about she would never hire someone named “Watermelondrea.” Raven- Symoné, a woman that chooses to have a hyphenated name with an accent mark that plays no part in the pronunciation of her name, was judging the quality and seriousness of other people’s names.

At this point of frustration, the Black community is making memes about making her an unofficial Black person and trading her with Rachel Dolezal. While that may appear to be funny, I think it is something people are seriously thinking about. Even her father agrees with most, claiming that his daughter talks a lot of bullshit. In a world where Black people are discriminated against in most aspects of society, it is disheartening to hear someone who has been supported by the Black community since before she could properly tie her own shoes, put them down with no remorse.

She consciously acknowledged known stereotypes about Black people and only made it worse, by fueling it with her own negative and incorrect opinions about her own race. The lack of knowledge she possesses is seen as crazy, but it is almost her way of believing that she isn’t associated with being Black. To deny your race, deny where your ancestors came from, and then deny how your own name fits into a stereotypical representation of Black names is more than just being crazy. This is the result of someone who has lost her sense of self and an appreciation for her people.

The real problem is that Raven has a major platform being on The View, giving her the opportunity to sprout these “Raven beliefs” to millions of people. If she says that certain stereotypes about Black people are factual, then someone listening in may actually believe that she is telling the accurate Black perspective. While her kookiness gains ratings, it both encourages racism among viewers and negatively effects Black people like Raven who have a low opinion of their race and a self-hatred about being Black.

In a time when Disney Channel actually talked about serious issues, That’s So Raven aired an episode about how Raven did not get a job at a retail store because she was Black. It was an episode that taught young children about racism and discrimination based on the color of ones skin and not based on one’s talent. In the past, Raven has spoken about how she has been discriminated against. Now, it seems she’s taken that discrimination within and is continuing the cycle on other Black people.

It is sad that Raven herself has yet to learn the lesson that we learned from her own TV show. Unfortunately, those of us who grew up with Raven are beginning to learn that it seems that Raven Baxter may need to teach Raven-Symoné a thing or two about racism.

CultureJanelle JamesComment