What’s In A Name?

Quvenzhané Wallis is a smart, talented 12 year old black girl. She starred in Beasts of the Southern Wild and the 2014 remake of Annie. When she was nine years old she became the youngest Academy Award nominee EVER for best actress for her role of Hushpuppy in Beasts. It was also at this age that her childhood was taken from her by a writer at The Onion.

Black children do not have the luxury of being seen as children. Delicate, fragile, emotion filled children. There are tons of studies that prove this. These notions that black kids are tougher, and less childlike than their white peers comes from, in my opinion, media portrayals of black kids. Black kids are almost always shown negatively on tv, movies, and in the news. Black kids are portrayed as bad, thugs, tough kids that get in fights, do drugs, and get pregnant at young ages. This is why when Trayvon Martin was murdered the media tried to paint him as a thug, because this is the only narrative they have of black kids. They forgot to mention that he did well in school, loved his parents, and went to space camp.

I think this is why when she was only nine years old The Onion decided to call Quevenzhané Wallis a cunt.

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The tweet came after a reporter failed to pronounce Quevenzhané’s name and instead elected to call her “Annie.” Quevenzhane corrected her and that’s when sh*t started to pop off. Imagine a reporter failing to correctly pronounce Benedict Cumberbatch’s name. It would be completely unacceptable and unprofessional for a reporter to mispronounce the name of anyone they are interviewing, and instead try to call them a completely different name. So why is it ok to do so to young Quevenzhane. She was nominated for a freaking Academy Award, she deserves respect. The fact that The Onion then decided it was completely ok to call her a cunt for correcting someone for mispronouncing her name, is very telling about the disrespect society has for black girls, and people in general.

It is no secret that black people often times have names that are not Eurocentric, and are therefore outside the norm. Sometimes these names might be difficult to pronounce, but seriously how hard is it to learn? Society conditions us to think some names are wrong or ghetto and others are perfectly acceptable. Think about how difficult it is to pronounce Tchaikovsky, Saoirse Ronan, Joaquin Phoenix, Zach Galifianakis, but somehow society manages not to fuck those names up. Those names arent considered weird or ghetto, and the people who claim those names aren’t called cunts for correcting reporters who mispronounce their names. So let’s give the same respect to black people who have hard to pronounce names as we do towards white people with hard to pronounce names.

 

 

 

 

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