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Didn't Think We'd Have to Say It, but Here's Why We Shouldn't Compare a Black Woman You Don't Like to an Alleged Abuser

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Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced domestic violence, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline online by selecting “chat now” or calling 1-800-799-7233.

Two of the biggest moments in pop culture happening at the moment are Will Smith having slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars over an ableist joke at his wife’s expense, and Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s ongoing domestic violence court case. These two situations are inherently very different, one dealing with a man defending his wife and the other with two people who have both made abuse allegations against one another. 

This isn’t about whose side of what case in what scenario you’re on. Rather, it’s about how we shouldn’t compare apples, oranges, and these two highly publicized relationships. 

Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith have been the headlines for years for various reasons, whether it be because of how much they love and worship one another, entanglements, near divorce, and/or healing. Through Jada’s talk show, Red Table Talk, she spoke candidly about her relationship with her husband in regards to the highs and lows that they’ve experienced together. 

Social media relationship critics have mixed feelings about Jada and Will’s matrimony, simply because they dislike Jada. Some feel she’s being too public and it’s disrespectful to their marriage. I’ve heard arguments in my personal life saying that they feel she’s emotionally manipulative based on how she’s handled their personal business publicly. 

Personally I don’t agree with any of those claims, however, people are entitled to feel how they feel. That being said, regardless of how much you dislike her, comparing her to a woman with tangible evidence of non-consensual marital misconduct (to put it lightly) is a bit of an unfair reach that doubles down on negatively highlighting Jada, a Black woman (because that does matter) in an unfair way.

Seeing memes that say “Fuck Jada and fuck Amber Heard” on Facebook and Twitter feel gross and wrong because at the end of the day we have to remember a few core things:

1. Jada and Will have both publicly and candidly spoken about their marriage individually and collectively. 

They’ve said they’ve been on the brink of divorce, but chose to stay together and the driving factor of their near divorce was miscommunication and compromises gone awry. That’s not exactly abuse, but maybe I’m wrong (yes, that’s sarcasm). They have both talked about healing, therapy, and wanting to do and be better for one another.

While we don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors, I like to think that these two people have the wherewithal to know when enough is enough. 

2. Jada is not on trial for abuse with tangible proof that she was very out of line.

So the comparisons don’t have as much of a leg to stand on, especially when the main argument is “she’s disrespecting him for being too public about their private issues.” As if we all haven’t had a moment where we go to Twitter or our Finstas talking negatively about someone in our personal life before. 

3. Comparing a Black woman who you don’t agree with to a white woman who is, once again, on trial for abuse, is a nasty ass punch down moment that shouldn’t happen.

It’s giving misogynoir, racism, and sexism. You’re comparing someone who has decided to speak openly about rough parts of their marriage or even just y’know, her own life, to someone who has put hands on someone. The weight of the two situations are incomparable.

Dislike Jada and how she’s handled her marriage, her situations, her entanglements, whatever. Disagree with her vehemently even, but let’s not compare a Black woman who openly talks about her life (which her husband has also actively supported and done the same) to someone who is currently on trial for abuse. Let’s not vilify a Black woman just because you dislike her.

I don’t know, just an idea.

Lead image courtesy of Facebook Watch’s YouTube channel, and LiveNow on Fox’s YouTube Channel

Originally published: April 26, 2022
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