We all know how much you love the web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, but recently a few members of the Crunk Feminist Collective, a group we also love, has called out the show for using the word “tranny” and the phrase “no lesbo.”
Although very few people get spared the comedic jabs of Awkward Black Girl, the men and women over at the Crunk Feminist Collective (CFC), found the usage of such terms to be offensive and divisive.
The CFC explains:
In episode 11, CeCe calls Angelina Jolie/White Jay’s ex a “tra**y bitch in heels.” The word tra**y perpetuates violence and divisiveness amongst women by relying on the idea that trans women are not “real” women; it suggests that White Jay’s ex is somehow less than the main character J.
The word “tra**y” has a very real history of violence and discrimination, often targeting trans women. It has been used as a slur, as a way to objectify women, and as a way of denying the personhood of trans women on the basis of appearance.
We have seen your responsiveness to the fans of ABG and we hope that by raising this concern you will respond accordingly by not using such language in future episodes. There are so many awkward queer, trans, and disabled folks who love the show and it hurts to see and hear our lives used as punchlines. For those of us, the awkward black, queer folks who have lived at the intersections of our awkwardness, our blackness, and our transness, words like “tra**y” erase our lives, and our humanity. Phrases like “No lesbo” and the use of affected speech to imitate hard of hearing people detract from the vision of creating representations for the rest of us who are all too often maligned in mainstream media.
Upon hearing of the letter, Issa Rae tweeted: “Respectfully, “Awkward Black Girl” was never meant to be politically correct. We poke fun at ignorance. Response letter coming soon.”
While I understand the intention and the concern of the CFC (and appreciate the respectful brillance of their letter), I’m left to wonder if our personal speech–and by extent–our comedic voice should always be politicized and politically correct.
So what do you think Clutchettes? Should ‘Awkward Black Girl’ and other shows be more mindful of the language they use? Is the show being disrespectful to the transgender community?
Let’s talk about it!