Quevenzhané Wallis, for those of you who haven’t been following the media buzz recently, is a 9 year-old-girl who is, in my opinion, a superhero. She’s one of those people you read about in magazines or see on TV and feel simultaneously impressed that they’ve accomplished so much at such a young age and terrible about yourself for being so comparatively inadequate. In her short life, she’s become the youngest Oscar nominee for Best Actress, stood up to people who refuse to pronounce her name correctly, and accumulated quite the collection of puppy purses (but seriously if anyone knows where to get one of those, please let me know because they are just about the cutest things ever). She’s also had to experience something completely unthinkable – being called the C-word.
From what I can gather, The Onion tweeted last night “Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quevenzhané Wallis is kind of a c***, right? #Oscars2013″ as a satirical observation on our hyper-critical celebrity culture. Fine, okay, we realize that they weren’t ACTUALLY calling her the C-word, but it doesn’t change the fact that they specifically chose a 9-year-old black girl and called her arguably the worst word in the English language in order to make their point. They could have used any other universally adored, older acress (for example “Isn’t Jennifer Lawrence such a b****?!”) but they instead chose a 9-year-old black girl, someone who will have to put up with the patriarchy for her entire life, starting right now.
The Onion released an apology earlier today, but quite frankly, I’m not buying it. They can apologize to that little girl all they want, heck, they can go to her house and apologize in person, but it will never change the fact that they subjected her to a level of racism and sexism unfit for an adult, much less a child. Meanwhile, the author of that tweet is content to hide behind The Onion’s CEO as he makes an apology on behalf of the company, which shows, at least to me, that he’s not really sorry at all.