by Yvette Carnell
Jamie Foxx is a talented entertainer, and because of that, I’ll eventually get around to watching DJango Unchained. What I won’t do is join in the chorus of black people Amening Jamie’s “Black people are the most talented people in the world” comment.
‘Black people are the most talented people in the world. I, it’s, I can’t explain it,’ Foxx said at the NAACP Image Awards. ‘You can’t sit in this room and not watch Gladys Knight sing and go like, “Golly, what in the world?”’
I get where Foxx was trying to go, I think. Based on the context, it seems to me that Foxx was trying to express how, based on the Black Experience, black people are more sensitive to certain impulses, and how we tend to mold and refine those increased sensitivities until they become perfect tools for our art. That’s what he meant. That’s true. But what he said was that we’re the most talented people in the world. That’s a lie.
That comment by Foxx, which takes one race, black people, and sets it high above others, based solely on sketchy anecdotal evidence and vague preferences, is vexing because it brings to mind other similar pronouncements made by blacks, like how we all “came from kings and queens.” Truth is, some of us come from kings and queens, while others of us derive our DNA from spear chuckers, slave traders, and common crooks. Some of us are the descendants of philosophers, mathematicians, and activists as well, but the honest truth is none of us are just one thing. We’re all descendants of different classes of people, with varied achievements and abilities.
As black people, we are no better – and certainly no worse – than any other race in terms of our humanity, even though we do have certain evolutionary differences based on our environment, which are expressed through our adaptations (or lack thereof).
Jamie Foxx should be especially careful with these sort of boastful race based declarations considering that he has mixed race children. I’m sure Mr. Foxx would lash out at anyone who implied that his daughters are less talented just because they are less black than their father, and rightfully so.
Problem is, when you make the argument that Foxx is making, then it’s hard to rebut the flip side of that very same argument. If Foxx says blacks are the most talented, then what do you say when someone, as Richard Herrnstein did in his book The Bell Curve, says that blacks are less intelligent than whites? Either you want equality or you don’t. You can’t have it both ways.