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Hart-felt statements about violence against women

February 19, 2010 |  1:17 pm

Kevin Hart Comedian Kevin Hart was probably upset about not being invited to the UCSD-area Compton Cookout, where white college kids apparently had a ball acting out their ghetto fantasies. So Hart, who has had roles in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and other stuff, decided to Twitter a little self-hatred Thursday and aimed his “humor” at dark-skinned black women.

Here’s his wit:

Dark skinned women take a punch @ da face better than light-skinned women…u soft as yellow bitches…lol

And:

#handsdown Light-skinned women usually have better credit than a dark-skinned women…Broke ass dark hoes….lol

The man is taking a bashing on websites that write about black news and events, and it’s possible these gems may not have crossed over into mainstream blogs or news media. I don’t mind bringing them to you.

Hart, who himself is quite dark and has talked of his happy marriage to a woman who certainly is not light- skinned, is flabbergasted at the backlash and crying foul -- he’s just a comedian! It’s all in fun!

But I bet that’s just what the frat kids at UCSD are saying too. We were just joking, people, lighten up.

Because this is still Black History Month, I’ll include a bit of background on the beating stereotype. Because Hart is reaching waaaaaaaaay back, back to the turn of the 20th century. Author Zora Neale Hurston captured this traumatic, distorting longing for light skin (and the privileges that come with it)  with style, wit and realism in her 1937 classic, “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Here is a man talking to the husband of her main character, light-skinned Janie, after he beat her.

“Tea Cake, you sho is a lucky man. …Uh person can see every place you hit her. Ah bet she never raised her hand tu hit yuh back, neither. Take some uh dese ol’ rusty black women and dey would fight yuh all night long and next day nobody couldn’t tell you ever hit ‘em. Dat’s de reason Ah done quit beatin’ my woman.”

At the time, black male critics hated the book, saying Hurston was creating “pseudo primitives” for people to gawk at. She had had the audacity to write about black attitudes and black life in the South, leaving discrimination implied but not addressed head on, rather than the hell white people were giving them.

Hurston’s book was a love letter to a traumatized people. Her words about the beating are, yes, funny. But they’re also pathetic and tender and reveal a level of scarring and dysfunction that has taken generations (and a few James Brown songs) to combat. And if Hart doesn’t understand why he’s getting lots of criticism, it’s because that stupid little acronym so popular with Twitterers -- LOL -- doesn’t fool anyone. It isn’t really love at all.

Photo: Kevin Hart appearing at the South Beach Comedy Festival in Florida in January. Credit: Mitchell Zachs / Acsoociated Press/South Beach Comedy Festival

-- Lisa Richardson

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