Karen Belz
October 20, 2017 10:51 am

This past Sunday, comedian Charlyne Yi revealed that David Cross made racist comments to her the first night they met. As might be expected, many fans of Amber Tamblyn, David Cross’s wife, were curious about her thoughts on the matter.

In a series of direct tweets,  Tamblyn said she believed Yi — and a response like this is incredibly important.

In case you missed it, Yi initially wrote,

Yi went on to say that after Cross saw she was insulted, he asked her if she was going to fight him with “karate.”

Cross addressed the accusation in a series of tweets, stating that he’d never say such things.

While he claimed that perhaps both of them were misremembering events, many people believed that his response was not an apology at all and included a lot of red flags.

Initially — and disappointingly — Tamblyn asked to be removed from the dialogue.

This caused many of Tamblyn’s followers to question whether she fully respected the voices and experiences of women of color. Her tweet felt a lot like a blanket dismissal.

Tamblyn then clarified her comments, writing:

It took so much courage for Yi to come forward and speak her truth about a white man who also has the power of fame behind him, and we’re glad Tamblyn (eventually) stepped up to the plate and acknowledged Yi’s experience — though we sincerely wish it had happened sooner.

These events speak to a much larger conversation about the dynamic between privilege and allyship in our culture. We live in a time when many who come forward with stories of harassment, racism, and discrimination are doubted, dismissed, or shamed into silence by those with the privilege if ignoring their pain. We also live in a society where victim-blaming is all too real, and many people — especially women of color — are ignored and spoken over by those with more systemic power. This is why it’s critical for those with privilege to listen and believe when others come forward with stories of abuse and discrimination.

We thank Yi for speaking her truth and hope this serves as a reminder that we can always do better when it comes to listening to the experiences of others — especially when those others have traditionally been ignored for generations.

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