Please Don't Let Stacey Dash Speak on Black People Anymore

by Kimberly Foster @KimberlyNFoster

I'll admit that I view Black conservative talking heads with a level of distrust, disdain even. They are paid to affirm the absurd claims of white supremacy, and often do so on platforms that do not value their humanity beyond the absolution they can offer oppressive structures.

Alternative viewpoints can enrich conversations about complicated social issues, but that is not what viewers get from conservative programming like Fox News nor is that the goal. Just look at the folks these outlets hire.

Stacey Dash is, perhaps, Fox News' most unlikely political contributor. The actress we came to love in the 90s classic, Clueless, has no credentials to warrant her position as a serious news host. In fact, when the network trots her out to discuss Black issues, she comes with little more than a self-loathing that makes her palatable to the target demographic.

Today Stacey Dash asserted that calls for greater diversity among Oscar nominees are "ludicrous" because things like BET, the BET Awards, the NAACP Image Awards and Black History Month exist. Dash says that this "double standard" invalidates claims of discrimination.

Not only is her argument weak, but she struggles to deliver it convincingly. It is painful to watch the white host, Steve Doocy, lead Dash down the rabbit hole of incoherent thought as she seems to forget the script.

Dash, who has appeared on BET and other Black media platforms throughout her career, conveniently forgot that these spaces offer Black talent rare opportunities to work, and that it was Black media that kept her culturally relevant so many years after her single box office hit.

Though it will always be valuable to have platforms dedicated to the uplift of Black cultural products, these platforms are less about self-segregation than survival. Before the Internet broke down the barriers of accessibility for enterprising creators, these were the few avenues for Black voices to consistently reach broad audiences.

Now television seems to have finally embraced diversity at most levels, but film has yet to catch up.  Color-blind casting is a far off reality. The Washington Post reports, Minorities make up more than 36 percent of the U.S. population but represented only 10 percent of lead characters in movies and sat in 12 percent of director’s chairs in 2011.

Black History Month and Black award shows are vehicles for visibility of Black Excellence. If left to the mainstream, the innovation, brilliance, and creativity of Black people would remain unrecognized. For example, 32 Academy Awards have been given out to Black winners in the 87 year history of the ceremony. This makes the Image Awards and BET Awards so vital. There is no conflict in calling out this prejudice and fighting to build sustainable platforms that primarily serve Black people.
In large part Black spaces are incredibly gracious to non-Black entertainers and have always been. They have never been only for Black people, as Dash argues. This year Scandal's Guillermo Diaz and Master of None's Aziz Ansari are among the many non-Black nominees for NAACP Image Awards.  Sam Smith won the Best New Artist BET Award in 2015.

Opposition to Black spaces is founded entirely in needless contrarianism by those who most often preach personal responsibility to Black folks. They find fault in initiatives to build for ourselves things that do not aim to reinforce white supremacy. Because they have no use for them, they demean them.

Dash presents old, tired views like they're new to an audience who knows no better. Perhaps she, herself, knows no better. But she deserves all of the Black community ire that comes her way.
Stacey Dash is officially an ideological pariah, and she earned that position.

We know when we're being trashed for a check.
Kimberly Foster is the founder and editor-in-chief of For Harriet. Email or

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