Last night, actress Regina King received the highest honor in Hollywood as the 8th Black woman in history to ever win a best supporting actress award at the Oscar’s. The industry vet made her way to the stairs for her well deserved moment, when she stumbled just a bit on her dress. Actor Chris Evans stepped up to quickly assist the star.
As news of King’s win hit the web this morning, her moment was suddenly eclipsed by the shadow of white male mediocrity.
Fans took to Twitter to gush about the moment, lauding Evans, who depicts Captain America in the Marvel Universe, as a real life superhero.
A headline on AOL reads “Chris Evans helps Regina King to the Oscars stage, proving chivalry isn’t dead.” Mashabe proclaimed, “Chris Evans being charming is the Oscar moment of our swoon-y dreams.” E! News said,” Chris Evans Just Won Best Supporting Seatmate for Helping Regina King at the 2019 Oscar Awards.”
Buzzfeed mentioned he in fact, even helped Betty White up the stairs in 2015.
Jamie Lee Curtis took to Twitter to compliment him on his heroically kind behavior.
The virility of this moment speaks to the obsession our culture has with praising any act of human decency from a white man as some sort of valiant deed. Here King was, walking into the shining culmination of her career in the footsteps of her ancestors, yet a simple kindness by a rich wealthy actor suddenly outshined the light of history. The overwhelming response to Evan’s normal actions is evidence that our standards of respect are so starved that we are hungry for any nobility we can grab. As women, particularly Black woman, we are forced to overachieve in every field of endeavor just to break even, while our White Male counterparts skate by on a freeway of privilege. To add insult to injury, we are continuously reminded that the bar is set so much lower for everyone else while we survive through “twice as good” pressure.
Our society is so deeply submerged in the wounds of #metoo and #timesup, that a man simply existing within the bounds of basic mortality can be twisted into courage. We mustn’t lower our expectations to such sub terrain levels that the line of “great” moves to basic level.
While Black America took to the internet to celebrate the long-fought wins of some of our own on Hollywood biggest stage, mainstream Oscar fans, always thirsty for another opportunity to celebrate the white savior trope, found their white knight on the heels of Regina’s win.