Raven Labels Self “Colorless and American.” World Replies “Colorless And American’ Is NOT A Color, Raven” » VSB

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Raven Labels Self “Colorless and American.” World Replies “Colorless And American’ Is NOT A Color, Raven”

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images


Raven-Symoné recently waxed poetically about labels on Oprah’s “Where Are They Now?” special, and has (old) Black America in a tizzy.

Raven expressed her dislike of labels, stating that she would not like to be labeled “gay” or “African-American.” She confirmed she is simply American, colorless, and human. Which are all labels, by the way.

Colorless, stood out to me, in particular. I have a feeling Roy G. Biv especially feels some type of way about her wanting to be colorless. A brotha just tryin’ to pay his light spectrum bill, ya’ll.

Anywho, in keeping with Raven’s theme, I figured we should all apply non-labeled labels to things from now on. Let’s be free with this shit!

For example:

1.  Water is no longer wet. How constricting! I hereby declare water is now, “sopping.”

2. I don’t want “to be or not to be” to simply be a question anymore. That mofo should be a run-on sentence. “To be or not to be or nah, due to the fact that I can’t make a choice so I’m going to get philosophical on that ass forthwith, heretoforth, and so on… also, I have a skull in my hand, so I’m deep, so answer me this: is you is or is you ain’t my baby?”

Roll Call

Roll Call is a daily collection of interesting news stories, articles, blogs, and thinkpieces, curated by Tonja Stidhum and Natalie Degraffinried. They both have big hair, but they are not the same person.

  • Being new black must be so nice. You don’t have to worry yourself about your blackness because you have money and apparently once you level up in tax brackets, you get the opportunity to be “colorless” and say things like “we’re all human” and “we all bleed red”.

    • Val

      Yep and just like in OJ’s case, when ish gets really real they all of a sudden become Black again. Except maybe us Black folks have learned our lesson and when Raven tries to come home we’ll lock the door, turn out the lights and pretend we’re not home.

      • I hope the black LGBT community is listening. Raven isn’t for you. She doesn’t want to be compared to you as gay, lesbian, etc. and she surely doesn’t want you to ever get confused and make the horrible mistake of referring to her as a black woman. Ok Raven, you got it girl.

      • Epsilonicus

        “Except maybe us Black folks have learned our lesson and when Raven tries to come home we’ll lock the door, turn out the lights and pretend we’re not home.”

        Thats that Jehovah Witness treatment right there

    • Rachmo

      *puts a crisp ten dollar bill in the collection plate*

    • Wild Cougar

      It can be just a matter of a label when your white besties pressure you to endorse their color blindness by being as invisible as possible. If they (the liberal white entertainment industry that breads your butter) really REALLY need you to erase your blackness to make them feel comfortable, and they really REALLY need you to make it look like it was your idea because, well, they are absolutely not racist, then you just go ahead and do that. Cuz bread.

      [Pimp voice] Break yoself of that blackness, bish!

  • TJR

    This is why I love VSB!

  • My friend Drew just said this about Raven’s…ummm…statements.

    “Maybe it is a good idea to drop the the label “African” and force white people to call you American.

    That would create a different dynamic.
    All of the statistics they track by “race” would simply vanish.
    All the racial stereotypes would be nullified on paper.

    Not only that, when all the bad things they associate with black people are lumped into the title “American” then some action is going to be taken.
    The moment you change the phrase “black women are more likely to to be single mothers” to “American women are more likely to be single mothers” then you have a problem that needs to be addressed that wasn’t being addressed before.

    There’s a little something to that line of thinking no? But too bad that’s clearly not what Raven was thinking when she decided to be a human-lover and colorless….. *whistles and walks away*

    • That line of thinking is dangerous in my opinion. Mainly, because it sets up these situations for white people to say they’d feel more comfortable if people of color would try to be more like them and dissociate themselves from who they are in an effort to be this nice clean blank canvas void of anything that sets them apart from white people.

      • Epsilonicus

        “dissociate themselves from who they are in an effort to be this nice clean blank canvas void of anything that sets them apart from white people.”

        And once they do that, the systems of inequality continue to exist as is, without challenge.

    • Omar

      “There’s a little something to that line of thinking no?”

      No, not really. Us dropping the label wouldn’t stop people from labeling us.

    • Jay

      I see the positives in that line of thinking but I think it’s pretty close to using the term “post-racial America” and the simple fact is we’re just not there yet. Pretending that we are is just being in denial of what we have to overcome and change to actually get there.

  • SimplePseudonym

    I didn’t get to watch the video/interview for the entire context, but I don’t understand why so many people are quick to jump down Raven’s throat b/c (from the quotations I’ve read) she is simply rejecting marginalization. Whites in this country don’t have to call themselves “European-Americans,” so why do blacks (and other non-whites) have to accept a qualifier tacked on to their “Americanness.” These qualifiers are just a way of marking our second-class citizenship and suggest that we don’t *really* belong here. Until every person in this country has a hyphenated “-American” label, then all of this “African-American” stuff is just a way to mark us a “other.” This country should be just as much ours (black people) as theirs (white people), so I’m baffled as to why everyone is going so hard against her and in favor of being pushed to the fringes in their own country.

    Just like the “one drop rule,” the title of “___-American” (colored, black) as opposed to “American” was GIVEN TO US for a reason. Given who insisted that we get a hyphenated name, this was probably not created to serve our best interests and should be liable to scrutiny.

    • Val

      Labels don’t marginalize people, people do. So, it doesn’t matter if we call ourselves African American or American those who have always marginalized us will continue to do so.

      • SimplePseudonym

        The labels have marginalization built into them. There are countries (eg. Malaysia, Guyana), where people of different races co-exist and the label of citizenship isn’t reserved to a single group as it is in the U.S.A. As I said, it should be open scrutiny and these hyphenations definitely convey a certain message which everyone can choose to accept, reject, or remix. I don’t think her statements are cause to jump down her throat. Even if you don’t necessarily agree- one should be able to understand where she is coming from and recognize that it’s not simply someone trying to “deny their blackness” (whatever that is.).

        I see the labeling as analogous as to how they do citizenship in Japan. If you are not born to Japanese parents in Japan, even if you move there as a 1 year-old and spend your entire life in the country, there’s a certain label that you get that is not the same as someone born and raised in the country. It is- in fact- a second class citizenship. I see the “African American” vs. “American” as analogous.

        • LadyIbaka

          whatever floats her boat……..she out here aligning with other groups, but wants to distance from the VERY same group that gave her start. #bishhaveseveral

          • So should she be MANDATED to identify as Black? Once you accept that premise, there’s one slippery slope to complete control of human tastes and thought.

            • LadyIbaka

              She can call herself Jesus if she wants to.

            • SimplePseudonym

              I really liked this comment on Gawker:

              “I like eating peanuts. Peanuts are great.

              I wouldn’t be keen on always being introduced as ‘peanut-lover, PootMcFruitcakesJr’ in every newspaper story about myself, or every story to reference my peanut loving, or people to talk about me as ‘Oh, the one who likes peanuts, I know who you’re talking about.’

              I’m not ashamed of my peanut loving. I wouldn’t be ashamed even if generations before me had been imprisoned and tortured for their peanut eating. But my liking of peanuts isn’t the be all and end all of my existence.

              So basically what I’m saying is ‘I get you, Raven,'”

      • pls

        but people marginalize others with labels, soooo…

        and all of us ain’t from africa. think about why yt would want us to believe we aren’t from here.

        every other land mass has indigenous peoples of dark complexion, but we’re supposed to believe America is somehow different?

        calling yourself african american relinquishes your ownership of this land and subjects you to THEIR rules cuz you acknowledge you aren’t from here.

        stay woke!

        • Amber

          The problem with saying it relinquishes your ownership… is that none of us are really from here except native americans. We are all on borrowed or stolen land that is the history of America. Nothing is wrong with identifying with the African diaspora and being an American at the same time.

          • Epsilonicus

            *shakes church tambourine in agreement*

          • pls

            some black folks were brought here, but some were already here. there was much to be gained by convincing all black people that they were from another land.

            slavery def happened, but not every black person in America is a descendant of an African slave.

            take it or leave it.

    • LadyIbaka

      I hear you SimplePseudonym, and oh mi gosh, nice to see you here!!! But disagree.

      • SimplePseudonym

        No prob. :) We all have our own lenses and we all interpret the world in different ways. The whole point of discussion is to be able to share and consider alternative points of view.

        Given that she is an actress, I can TOTALLY see why she gets annoyed by the label (though Shonda Rhimes is giving black actresses the play that they should have been getting a long time ago).

    • ALM247

      We should keep the “African” in our title. We had a history before we were forcibly brought to the United States, and we should never forget that.

  • LadyIbaka

    American she is…colorless she will never be, no matter how much poetic she waxes. Color is an issue, because THEY make it an issue.

    Embrace your color. It doesn’t have to be political. Whatevs. *rolling eyes*!!!!!

  • RewindingtonMaximus

    I no longer care about Raven. Instead, thanks to yall, I’m going to watch Tom & Jerry.

    • Neptunes presents The Clones

      Have you watched Gotham

      • RewindingtonMaximus

        I like it so far. But its on Fox..and Fox screws stuff up. A lot. So I’m going to be patient.

  • RewindingtonMaximus

    Actually I would say this: what did you expect from the only Disney alum to make it into adulthood without being a thot AND being Black at the same time? That girl has been as famous as long as the Olsen Twins…..yall really thought she would be normal? Are the Olsen Twins normal?

    • SimplePseudonym

      True. She’s definitely a little OFF, but [so far] she hasn’t had to stoop to the “Love & Hip Hop” franchise.

  • Pillows McGee

    isnt being/calling oneself American a label in and of itself?

    • Epsilonicus

      That sounds too much like sense lol

  • I don’t see what the big deal is. We live in a world where Black people are free to live as they wish. If Raven wants to see herself as colorless and American, more power to her. The freedom of choice we have implies the freedom to not identify with Blackness. That’s fine. I have no issue with it. Better that than forced to identify with Blackness at gunpoint.

    • Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. I wish it was, trust me.

      The current rise or momentum that has led to the prominence of African Americans on the world stage since the 60’s/70’s did not come from an embrace of individualism or non-comformity (in terms of being black, not in terms of being American), but in fact came from a fierce, and at times militant conformity that came at the risk of being ostracized from the race, for those who did not fall in line. It’s hard to be an individual, when every action you take, especially the more famous you become, is associated with either uplifting or destroying your race, and not risk self-exile to stand alone by yourself.

      And that is in fact the major intellectual issue that black people are dealing with today, forget about the white influence for a second. On one hand you have in the era of Barack Obama, the idea that though racism still exists, black people have a symbol and an image which lets them define themselves on their own terms (People forget that until the Pres. won Iowa, he was considered as not “being black enough”, today only people like Cornell West and Tavis Smiley still make claims as such, and they have ironically been the ones who have been ostracized, which is why Tavis ended up on Dancing With the Stars), and yet on the other hand, you have the Trayvon Martins, Mike Browns, Oscar Grants incidents, that still show that black people still need to operate as a strong collective unit, for the sake of survival and political relevance.

      It’s a paradox that we’re just going to have to sit and watch how it all turns out.

      • Epsilonicus

        Very apt description

  • ALM247

    “She confirmed she is simply American, colorless, and human. Which are all labels, by the way”.

    LOL….Don’t forget that Raven is a product of the “two hours a day on set” education, so I’m not surprised that she still ended up using labels.

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