Dear Raven-Symone

Dear Raven-Symone,

 

 

I want you to remember those words because you claim that you do not like labels, yet with the same breath, pride and tongue you have labeled the same individuals you accused of labeling you. I didn’t exactly know how to say this before, but I’ve thought about it for quite some time now. I wasn’t sure who to blame for your grave choice of words and blatant disrespect toward the African American community for nontraditional names. Originally I gave you the benefit of the doubt, because no one really likes labels, but then you said the inexcusable.

 

Implicating that names that are not traditional carry a ghetto stigma. Honestly since we’re being frank about things, both your name and look could be considered “ghetto," and still The View hired you.  The scariest part about this whole ordeal is your comfort level, and for that I blame both your co-host and the rest of the show's staff.  They have made you a little too comfortable to the point where you actually believed what you said was somehow “ok.” Shaking their heads in agreement. I looked at the recording of this specific episode a few times trying to make sense of what you said, but that’s just it -- what you said made no sense at all.  

Sadly, this does not shock me, I honestly should have seen this coming, all of the signs were there.  From the first comment you made about not being black: 

 

After hearing this ignorant comment, your self hating spiels made a little more sense to me. Seeing as how you do not know that Africa and Europe are continents with countries within them. *Sips tea* So how could I and so many others expect you to understand the hard concept of systemic oppression that African Americans face on a daily basis and the role you now play in that. 

For someone on such a high platform as yourself you should know better, truth is you should be able to articulate yourself better. In the future please refrain from saying things that suggest your detachment from who you are. Even though you are pushing close to thirty your lack of understanding concerns me. The privilege you grew up with has somehow clouded your judgment and led you to think that you are not black. African Americans need someone who can be a great spokesperson attesting to the everyday struggles of blacks in America, instead we received someone who says the things white people want us to think.

I am in no way acting as the spokesperson for African Americans by writing this piece, but my issue with the things you have said stem far deeper than the generalized comments you’ve made. I grew up having to continuously correct people on how to pronounce my name, seemingly scared to write it down on an application for fear that I would not be selected. I spent the last 21 years of my life thinking my name was pretty but never pretty enough. Shame on you for making those of us with non-traditional names feel less, and to think I was so proud of “That’s So Raven” for addressing hard issues like bullying. Do you remember that episode on the show called “True Colors," back in 2005. When your character and Chelsea (Anneliese van der Pol) applied for the same job, and you nailed it while Chelsea bombed it, and still she got the job. Back then it looked like you had an understanding of how hard things can be for African Americans, and looking and listening to you now it sounds like you lost yourself.

I guess in more simpler terms I just want you to "think before you speak." Think about your audience, your supporters and your generational fans. I know you don't want to be classified as black, but in some ways you do represent the black community, and trust me we do not want you to represent our community any more than you want to represent us.

Sincerely,

Saiounia Hughley (Say-OHh-Knee-Ugh)