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 James Thomas Jones III, PhD, MA
James Thomas Jones III, PhD, MA

There is a saying within the African-American community that states, “A Child is to be seen and not heard.” It is in honor of that saying that I am pleading for anyone who knows the parents of Raven-Symoné Christina Pearman, also known as Raven-Symoné, to please come and get your child, remove the microphone that she communicates to the world through, because she is quite simply making a spectacle of herself every time that she speaks.

In case you missed it, during a recent episode of “The View”, Raven-Symoné Christina Pearman displayed a level of stupidity that impressively surpassed her earlier contention that a recent DNA test proves that she is “from every continent in Africa”. This time Raven-Symoné managed to offend the vast majority of African-Americans with her contention that she would never hire an African-American assistant with a “Black” name such as “Watermelondrea”.

I must give it up to her, in one swoop, Raven-Symoné Christina Pearman was able to prove that she lives in an alternative universe that very few individuals will ever experience. It is only in this “bizarre world” that Raven-Symoné Christina Pearman is able to cast disdain at fellow African-Americans for their names yet drop the last two aspects of her name “Christina Pearman” and accentuate the very ethnic, dare we say Afro-French needlessly accentuated portion of her name. One must remember that the alternative spelling of Symoné, with accents and all, does absolutely nothing to change the pronunciation of Symoné.

Just as troubling is the manner in which Raven-Symoné is able to forcefully criticize “Black” names with one hanging around her neck and in the presence of the comedic genius and highly accomplished Whoopi Goldberg, another member of The View, sitting across from her. Ironically, if Raven-Symoné were the hiring agent for The View, neither Whoopi nor herself would have been hired for the daily talk show.

In what amounts to as a half-hearted defense, Raven-Symoné issues what amounts to an idiotic defense by relating that “it’s not ‘racist’ to judge people based on their names, it’s simply ‘discriminatory.” Raven continued by stating, “I am very discriminatory…I’m not about to hire you if your name is Watermelondrea. It’s just not gonna happen. I’m not gonna hire you.”

It is Raven-Symoné’s repeated verbal offenses against African-Americans that illuminates a deep-seated psychological issue that she holds against the Black community. In many ways, the larger lesson to be learned in this tired tale lies in what it tells us about the dangers of allowing those with absolutely no qualifications to speak from a public platform as that provided by The View.

Raven-Symoné is operating out of an unfortunate tradition that has ensnared many ‘well-to-do’ African-Americans. That being, a tendency to psychologically separate themselves from the masses of their people while castigating this same population for their lack of success. Put simply, if we would only conform to dominant society in every cultural fashion, we could also experience success. Such beliefs are a fantasy.

What Raven-Symoné fails to realize is that all African-Americans are inextricably linked together and the racism, prejudice, and discrimination that some segments of the White community has exhibited against one of them can be applied to all of them, including her, regardless of the name that their parents have chosen for them. I would suggest that she take a moment, before she is rudely reminded by an entity outside of our community, and examine her Afro-French overly hyphenated name as well as her extremely colorful and eclectic, dare I say ‘ghetto’ hair styles, pause for a moment and realize that when the chips are down, your people, including those with names such as Oprah, Whoopi, and Barack are all that you have got.