As always, I try not to say anything about moments like this until they totally blow over. I cannot wait. I am SO going to talk about this thing right here, because it is indicative of one of the by-products of systemic racism–white denial.
I was there when it happened, so to speak. I was watching that episode of The Talk. Let me clarify: my TV was broadcasting the show in the room I was working in. I liked The Talk better in the beginning, when it was supposed to be about mothers confabbing around the table, and the mothers all looked different. Years later–and many switch-outs later–The Talk has become a different kind of show. I don’t know what kind of show that is, but I know that I don’t like it.
For the sake of brevity, I’ll stick to the two main players in the video. I have never liked either of them 100%. Sharon Osbourne became everybody’s “Cool Mom” when The Osbournes came out. White America couldn’t get enough of her. I didn’t get it then, and I don’t get it now. I have openly criticized Sheryl Underwood for playing too much to the stereotypes that White America has about Black Women, namely the fat, country mama who can only talk about food, being broke, and all of her cousins. I respect that she was/is a comedian, but she would lean too often to a quick, cheap laugh when we needed an intelligent argument from a Black woman. She has gotten better with that. I’m not mad at her anymore.
What happened on The Talk this week should not keep happening to Black women (and men!) who are just trying to do their jobs.
It started very benignly, with the setup that poor Mrs. Osbourne had been getting backlash on social media for supporting her friend, Piers Morgan, who could not stand the heat of being confronted by his own racism and misogyny. This was supposed to be a Kumbayah moment: there-there, Mrs. O, it’s okay, Mrs. O. We love you over here, Mrs. O. It went all the way left when the two black women on the panel, led by Sheryl, tried to explain to Mrs. O that if you support your friend in his wrongness without checking him for his wrongness, then you get lumped in with him as supporting that wrongness.
It’s called guilt by association, and for some reason, this 68 year-old wife, mother, and grandmother needed to have that explained to her.
That was when everything exploded. Because no one was buying into her total innocence or defense of her loudmouthed, pompous ass of a friend, Sharon became a “Karen”, accusing the two Black women who never raised their voice at her of attacking her, being disrespectful, profane, and condescending to Sheryl, who had to measure every syllable coming out of her mouth while being told “Don’t try to cry!”.
It was a gross display of White Entitlement that should cost her her job…just like her friend Piers.
Don’t talk to me about her canned apology. This is something that your boss makes you do when they really don’t want to fire you, thinking that it will appease the people you have offended.
A real apology would have been directed at Sheryl. Live. In public. This, like other “apologies” before it, is meaningless.
This is apparently not the first time that Sharon has taken issue with her co-workers of color, according to Holly Robinson-Peete.
I’m not even getting into that. I just noticed that The Talk has had an interesting turnover of co-hosts, most of which were minorities, and the implication is that they did not get along with Sharon–or she did not get along with them.
And what is this sudden nonsense of letting her dogs roam around the set like they pay rent? If I signed up to do my job in a germ-free, Covid-free environment, then leave your nasty little dog at home! This is a place of business. There’s a reason Sheryl sits so tight and rigid in that chair, while everyone else engages with this walking mop of fur and drool.
Let’s keep up the backlash. Backlash makes Sharon a liability, and liabilities get fired. That is what I would like to see.