Let’s start by saying: racism and the use of the n-word, as we delicately call it, are not acceptable. We have no business using the n-word, and we have no business hearing it. But comedian Lisa Lampanelli thinks she’s exempt from this moral standard, and makes no apologies for using it, so we’re not waiting around for an apology from her. We’re talking about how we don’t need one from Lena Dunham.
Once upon a time, Lisa Lampanelli took a photo with Lena Dunham. When she posted said photo, she used the n-word in the caption. Lena Dunham said nothing. Should she have said something? As a figure in the public eye, did she have the responsibility to say something? It wasn’t her photo, and she had no control over Lisa Lampanelli’s caption. She could have tweeted a “whoa, not cool!” about the situation, but ultimately, it wasn’t her job to do so. A blogger, Shayla D. Pierce, disagreed. Vehemently. And publicly.
Let’s back up. Have you guys ever seen Lisa Lampanelli do standup, or open her mouth? Being racy and foul-mouthed is just her thing. I’m not defending her, just stating fact. I imagine she can’t order a Subway sandwich without cracking a racist joke or making a homophobic comment. But she probably can’t imagine that, either. If you didn’t know, now you do.
Anyway, back to the story. Lena’s silence upset Shayla, who grew madder and madder, 140 characters at a time, until she shared a post about her personal experience with racism. It was a beautiful and sad and touching post. And it solicited the response from Lena that Shayla was looking for. But Shayla bullied Lena into apologizing on behalf of white society for something she had nothing to do with. While Shayla brought an unfortunate story to light, that everyone should read, she directed her anger at the wrong celebrity.
@lenadunham‘s first reply to @ShaylaDPierce. I want to make my opinion clear: Shayla’s piece IS beautifully written. It’s beautifully sad and touching and enlightening, all at once. But Shayla’s story has nothing to do with Lena Dunham – it has all to do with Lisa Lampanelli, and it rubs me the wrong way that she immediately went after Lena. It appears she felt that Lena had a responsibility to say something about the incident – which I disagree with. Imagine a world where we all spoke freely about everyone’s actions, more than we already do. Wouldn’t we get flack for mouthing off? Be told to keep our mouths shut and our ideas to ourselves? We wouldn’t be respected for sticking up for what’s right, we would be told to mind our own business.
Instead: imagine a world where we’re all responsible enough to just take responsibility. Oh, if only.
I’m not going to speak for Lena, but can I just say that silence DOES NOT equal unspoken agreement? Could we all agree that maybe Lena Dunham saw the photo, and figured “that crazy ol’ Lisa Lampanelli, running her mouth again”? Lena had little responsibility, if any, to respond to Lisa’s comment.
Shalya, you were being kind of a Twitter bully. It doesn’t sit well with me that after your exchange with Lena, you tweeted “now I <3 her again”. Also – you had Lena Dunham’s Twit-tention. She even read your article. If you were really trying to start a conversation about racism, why on EARTH did you end your exchange with “*hugsies*” ?
Featured image via Girl Talk HQ, Twitter image screengrabbed from my computer