Dear Groupthink, What are your thoughts on Nicole Arbour?
Reminder: she’s the woman who made the video “Dear Fat People” shaming fat people under the guise of “I just want to help you realize you’re disgusting and can change!”
Cut to now, I have friends posting this new video of hers on Facebook - “Dear Black People” and talking about how great it is - friends that are typically level headed liberal people whom I trust and respect.
Okay, so technically it’s saying that discrimination is bad? I think? I dunno, she talks an awful lot about how appropriation of black culture on small things (long nails, jerk chicken, black men’s penis’) isn’t that bad, and it reminds me of that time everyone was all up in arms when the Oklahoma Governor’s daughter wore a Native American headdress and claimed she merely liked to adorn herself in the beautiful things of other cultures so it was totally fine, right? Nope.
So this video tries to not be as horrible as the Dear Fat People, but it still bothers me. I’m not sure what it is, though. One person (again, these are people I like) indicated that people find it more offensive because she’s a woman, and that if a man made these jokes, it would be NBD. But I like plenty of female comics who are WAY more offensive and I don’t have the reaction to them that I do to Nicole Arbour. I chalk it up to her talking about her opinions on people in situations she’ll never be in (fat, black) and basically using those people for attention whereas the other comedians I like use their own personal experiences ALONG with their observations, not just their observations of other people’s experiences. Is that it?
I don’t know, the whole thing kinda smacks of a serious lack of authenticity to me. The video is all “racist thing, racist thing, racist thing... but I totally don’t believe that guyz!” and I’m not sure that this gives her a pass.
The guy who originally posted the video replied to my comment that it gets right down to how one can be an ally and be part of the change if they aren’t in the group to which they are allying themselves with. How we can’t get past racial division if a white girl isn’t allowed to like “black” things? Is he right? I don’t even know what to say to that. I mean, yeah, I’m a white girl and I consider myself to be an ally, but I would never go about it this way, and I don’t purposely try to appropriate culture just to have something to say I appropriate in a video. I also don’t joke about appropriating something when I know I’ve done it. But do I appropriate it unknowingly? Probably (and yes, of course). So is this woman speaking MY truth now too - that it should be totally okay to appropriate the little things as long as you still say “Too many black people are being gunned down by the cops”? I’m just not sure I can get on board with that even if people I respect tell me it’s totally fine.
But what do you think? Really, I want to know! Nicole Arbour: yay or nay?