In the wake of the racist and sexist comments that Bill O’Reilly made about her, California Congresswoman Maxine Waters seems to be getting the last laugh. Last week, sponsors fled his show in response to new revelations of sexual assault claims, and Waters’s voice was resonant and clear in dubbing Fox a “sexual harassment enterprise.” Waters pulled no punches, saying that O’Reilly “needs to go to jail.”
This is the second round in the ongoing war of words between the popular and influential Fox host and his most recent black woman target. As you’ll recall, the first match began, ostensibly, when O’Reilly made fun of Waters’ hair. But it wasn’t really ever about her hair. When O’Reilly made fun of the Congresswoman’s coif, he wasn’t doing so because he took issue with her styling choices. He did it to deflect attention from Waters’ agenda, and, in doing so, illustrated how easily Black women’s concerns are silenced in the public sphere. And, he took his place in a long history of focusing on Black women’s bodies in order to ignore the substance of what they’re saying or doing. Black women are often invisible in American public life, especially in our representative politics―and even when they’re seen, they’re not heard.
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Riché Richardson is currently an associate professor of African American literature in the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University.
Source: The Huffington Post