You would think after the Lena Dunham/Odell Beckham Jr. fiasco that a memo would have been released.
To: Entitled White Girls Everywhere
From: Lena Dunham
Re: Black men and attraction
Despite the fact that societies across the world lift us up as thee beauty standard and Black men, famous and non-famous alike, seem to have an affinity for us, it does not mean that every Black man will find us attractive, engaging or alluring. Despite the hyper-sexualized image of the Black man in mainstream media, be informed that not all of them will be interested in dating or sleeping with us. We should not take such rejection personally and certainly shouldn’t discuss it publicly. Tell your friends.
But that didn’t happen. And as a result, another White woman who believed she was entitled to the attention and the affection of a Black man got caught up and then subsequently embarrassed after she tried to shame him for his disinterest.
The story came to the attention of the media when Leah McSweeney, founder of streetwear line Married to the Mob, called “Saturday Night Live” comedian Michael Che “arrogant” on her podcast Improper Etiquette. Do remember that word “arrogant” as we’ll discuss it later. Why did she call him arrogant? Well, McSweeney said that when she stumbled upon Michael Che on a dating app, he was a bit of a jerk.
More specifically, she said,
“I met a comedian. I’ve dealt with a few comedians. They are the worst. I don’t even know why I entertain this but I have to say…Michael Che is so arrogant and so rude and disrespectful that I cannot even believe that someone…you’re like a D-List celebrity to me. Whatever, that’s why I don’t even care that I’m saying his name. I’m not like blowing up Jay Z’s spot. Why are you on a dating app if you hate women? Literally, you’ve never met me and you’re texting me like I’m a stupid bitch … texting me and being mad rude. He kept just texting me, going, ‘I’m fat. Does that turn you on?’ And I’m like, ‘you’re fat? I think I’ve seen you and you’re not fat, OK.’ “You’re trying to f–k with me? I don’t get it. You’re just a f–king dork wearing Air Force Ones [sneakers] at the end of the day. Like, cause you’re sitting up there writing your jokes on a little card, trying to figure out what the f–k. His Netflix special [“Michael Che Matters”] is actually funny … arrogance is ignorance to me. You don’t know me, you don’t know nothing about me, you don’t know we have mad friends in common and like, you’re gonna treat me like some stupid bitch? Like f–k you. I just can’t deal.”
No girl, we can’t deal. If you didn’t know, anyone who claims not to care and then spends a good minute talking about that topic does indeed care…a lot. Not only did she care enough to make it a topic of discussion on her podcast, the story, for which the whole discussion was based, was entirely made up.
When Page Six, reported on Che’s “arrogant, rude and disrespectful” behavior, based on McSweeney’s story, he came through with a way to clear his name.
He sent Page Six a series of screen grabs of all the text messages he and Leah had exchanged. And trust me, there was nothing rude or arrogant about them–on his part.
Well, isn’t this something. He wasn’t rude at all. He was disinterested and then honest. Can we be real? Her texting game was pallid at best. Personally, he entertained her for far longer than many men would have. Other women would have recognized that their texting buddy wasn’t feeling them the same way. But perhaps Leah’s Whiteness emboldened her to persist. Or maybe she went into this whole thing just to get the story and when Che didn’t respond to her not so subtle advances she got in her feelings.
Later, after Che dropped the receipts and isht hit the fan, she tried to claim that this was all some type of grand joke, a publicity stunt on her part.
I doubt it. Particularly since before she admitted it was a joke, she doubled down on the fact that she thought that he was rude and had belittled her. Furthermore, while this much online discussion might make someone want to look you and your brand up, I doubt it will inspire anyone to buy a t-shirt mostly because homegirl comes across in these text messages and in her podcast rant as an unhinged liar. The public doesn’t generally like to support those types.
But I really want to get to the word arrogant. In the Twitter discussion, I saw that Hot 97’s Ebro Darden wondered how the discussion about Michael and Leah turned racial. I’d point you back to her word choice arrogant. Perhaps you’ve heard it before, it’s the word White folk often use when a Black person is moving and acting outside of their will. There’s a history of its use. During Jim Crow, when a Black man saved up his own money and opens up his own business, and finds himself making more money than the White folks, suddenly he’s arrogant and worthy of being lynched. A Black woman challenges a racial construct meant to oppress her, she’s arrogant and angry. A Black child corrects a teacher about a bit of misinformation and the child is arrogant and disrespectful.
The word arrogance has a history of White people insinuating that the insubordinate Black person deserves some type of punishment. While, in this day and age, Leah’s words wouldn’t have gotten Michael Che killed, like they would have in the past, her words still had the potential to compromise his reputation. Because White women and their accounts of events are readily believed over the word of a Black man. Had Che not had these screenshots, there would have been quite a few people who would have written him off as another disrespectful and out-of-touch celebrity. That’s the racial piece that your words as a White woman would be believed. That your lies against a Black man are more credible than the truth of your limited interaction with one another. Thankfully, we’re living in a new day when the screenshot has the power to shut down an entitled, fable telling White girl.