New York Times Contributor Roxane Gay has written a column in defense of humorlessness in which she argues that black women like actress Jada Pinkett Smith shouldn’t have to tolerate jokes made at their expense like the one Chris Rock told at the Oscars on Sunday, prompting Will Smith to charge the stage and punch the comedian in the face.
In his column, Gay compared Jada Pinkett Smith to Supreme Court nominee Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, saying the two women shouldn’t have to endure insults and disrespect while under the control of the public.
“It’s a thin-skin defense,” Gay wrote. “It’s a defense of limits and of being human and of having your limits respected. It’s a repudiation of the relentless valorization of taking a joke, of having a sense of humor. It’s a rejection of the expectation that we laugh at everything people want to say and do to us.
Gay hasn’t excused Will Smith’s physical assault at the Oscars. But she tried to rationalize his behavior, saying he ‘most likely saw his wife’s pain, and it’s possible he himself experienced a moment of frailty, thin skin’.
She added: “It was also a rare moment when a [black] woman was publicly defended.
I wrote a defense of thin skin and how are you if you don’t want to joke, https://t.co/kIZVIsyy7U
– roxanne gay (@rgay) March 29, 2022
At the Oscars, presenter Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head, remarking that she should star in a sequel to G.I. Jane. The quip prompted Will Smith to storm the stage and slap Rock in the face.
When he took his place, Will Smith shouted, “Keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth!”
Look below (Warning: Bad language):
— Adam Silverstein (@SilversteinAdam) March 28, 2022
Gay compared Jada Pinkett Smith’s alleged ordeal on Oscar night to Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s recent confirmation hearings.
“For many [black] women, it was a painful sight because we know what it is like to experience this kind of scrutiny, questioning and disrespect in personal and professional contexts. We know what it’s like to withstand scrutiny without intervention.
As reported by Breitbart News, Jada Pinkett Smith demonstrated that she did indeed have thick skin when she said in a TikTok video days before the Oscars that she didn’t care what people thought about her baldness.
“I don’t care what people think of my bald head, because guess what, I love it,” she said.
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