D.L. Hughley bashes women on NPR, reveals urgent need to sit down
In the latest addition to the Please Have a Seat files, actor, comedian and political commentator D.L. Hughley has publicly declared his dislike for women—and specifically, angry black women, which apparently includes all the black women that exist.
During an exchange on NPR’s Tell Me More, host Michael Martin read the following excerpt from Hughley’s new book, I Want You to Shut the Fxck Up: How the Audacity of Dopes is Ruining America:
Being a dad to daughters is very different from being a dad to sons. The dangers are different and the way they listen to you is different. I’m sure every father feels the same way that I do about his daughters. I love them, but I don’t like them. Who likes women?
That prompted the following discussion:
HUGHLEY: Really, darling. Really.
MARTIN: You don’t like women?
HUGHLEY: I don’t like the way they process – no, I don’t. I enjoy their company. I do not like the way that they reason. You can’t understand them.
MARTIN: Well, for a man who has been married for 26 years and has two daughters – you have three children overall, two daughters and a son – you don’t think you’ve figured it out?
HUGHLEY: Do you think any man has figured it out? Anyone? Anyone? Name me a man who says I’ve figured women out, I got it.
My daughters, who I love immensely, are so certain, like if a man can have a face only a mother can love, then women can have personalities only fathers can love.
MARTIN: OK. That’s fine. But I have to ask you, though, and throughout the book, though, you do make some impassioned discussions about just how cheap you feel black life is viewed in this country.
HUGHLEY: It is viewed.
MARTIN: OK. But then to go on and in many parts of the book have some very harsh things to say about black women – African-American women.
HUGHLEY: Like what do you think is harsh?
MARTIN: I have to ask, you don’t think that’s a contradiction? Well, this argument that you’re saying that….
HUGHLEY: I don’t – I think my life has been a contradiction.
MARTIN: …black women is – the only black woman you could be married to is your wife.
MARTIN: …black women are so messed up? I mean what – or because she’s so great?
I mean I’m sure she’s great but…
HUGHLEY: Well, in her ability to kind of tolerate my – it’s her ability to tolerate me, A) and B) I’ve never met an angrier group of people. Like black women are angry just in general. Angry all the time. My assessment, out of, just in my judgment, you either are in charge or they’re in charge, so there’s no kind of day that you get to rest(ph).
MARTIN: I have to ask whether is it because black women are an easy target?
MARTIN: And so you can say these things because nobody is going to…
HUGHLEY: Do you think black women are an easy target?
MARTIN: Well, I mean I’m thinking you or – one of the ways you came to public attention is your defense of Don Imus for calling the Rutgers women’s basketball team nappy headed ho’s…
MARTIN: …and I understand that your defense was free speech, which I think many people understand. But if you think he’d said that about another group of women, that that would’ve been considered funny?
HUGHLEY: I can’t, really, that’s like, I can’t disprove or prove a negative, but I can say this: that I have defended any number, I have defended Michael Richards for the N-word. I’ve defended Tracy Morgan for his comments. I defended Rush Limbaugh. You know, to me, you know, what people are talking about has never really kind of worked its way into my mindset. It is the idea that they have the right to say it. So I think that’s really kind of an unfair – optically, that looks different than the way I see things. But…
HUGHLEY: …I don’t think black women are easy targets at all. I respect them great – a great deal. I think that to pretend like I don’t see things the way that I do is to do a disservice to them.
So in short, Hughley enjoys women’s company, but doesn’t like the way women reason or process. He openly questions who would like women. And though he thinks black life is viewed cheaply, he proceeds to state in a nationally broadcast interview that black women are angry, all the time, and are in fact the angriest group of people he’s ever met.
All in an interview to promote a book about how dopes are ruining America. Pot, meet kettle.
I’m not particularly familiar with D.L. Hughley. I’ve never seen his sitcom, or his stand-up routines, or his political commentary, or anything else he may have done. But I am familiar with sexism, stupidity and damaging stereotypes.
Hughley’s comments are a weak and rather disgraceful effort to lump all women into one category, and lump all black women into an even further restricted category and turn them into flat, one-dimensional beings who live in a constant state of anger, rather than multi-faceted, complex and beautiful individuals with a variety of emotions and a right to feel them all.
I don’t know if Hughley had an overly domineering mother who emasculated him on a regular basis, or if he watches too much Reality TV, or if he’s just really good at pissing off the women in his life. The idea doesn’t seem that far-fetched in light of his recent comments; sensitivity and respect clearly aren’t his strong suits.
I don’t know if he’s had bad luck with black women, or if he’s treated them badly and now speaks harshly about them in a misguided attempt to mask his guilt.
But I have to wonder what kind of black women he’s meeting and where he’s meeting them to come to the conclusion that all of them are angry. I’ve met a lot of black women, and I wouldn’t describe any of them as “angry black women.” In fact, I wouldn’t use any blanket statement to describe black women, or any women, or any group of people. We are complex individuals, and deserve to be seen and respected as such.
Then again, if some black women do seem angry, maybe there are legitimate reasons why.
Maybe it’s because more black men are in prison than in college, and while those black men are in prison, or running the streets, or otherwise abandoning their families, black women are left to hold everything together, bearing the world’s burdens on their own.
If some black women are angry, maybe it’s because mainstream rappers objectify them and call them bitches and hoes instead of sisters and queens.
If some black women are angry, maybe it’s because the men in their lives, whether their pulpit is the street corner or a national radio program, use their platforms to tear down, embarrass and generally degrade the black women they should be protecting, supporting and uplifting.
If some black women are angry, maybe it’s because men like Hughley feel completely comfortable publicly assassinating the black female character, thereby opening the door for others to feel they can make similarly denigrating comments with impunity. If a black man has so little respect for his women that he verbally abuses them in public, then why can’t anyone else? And how short is the leap from casual verbal abuse to physical violence?
If some black women do seem angry, maybe it’s because they are and maybe they have a right to be. Maybe anger is their last defense against despair in a society that regularly tells them in subtle and not-so-subtle ways that they’re not beautiful and they’re not worthy, and perhaps these sentiments are echoed by the black men in their life.
Or maybe they are not angry at all. Maybe they are simply strong.
I can’t speak offhand about the mind state and tendencies of a vast and diverse group of people. I can only speak to my own views and leave broad generalizations and sweeping slurs to the would-be oppressors among us.
As for Hughley, while he’s busy branding whole groups of people angry and dopey, he comes off a lot like an angry dope. I know the comedian/actor/commentator is accustomed to having the microphone and using it to say whatever he pleases, but maybe what he needs right now is a mirror.