People in social media have been up in arms over the photo of Ellen DeGeneres riding the back of 100 meters (and soon to be 200 meters) Olympic champion Usain Bolt. In the infamous photo , DeGeneres captioned it with “This is how I’m running errands from now on.”
People have responded to the photo with pointed comments of their own, calling the photo “offensive” and accusing her of implying that a black person’s proper place is as some kind of pack animal.
And my personal favorite…
My eyes rolled so far in the back of my head after reading those comments. It’s almost as if those offended parties do not know the concepts of CONTEXT and INTENT.
DeGeneres is a comedienne/daytime talk show host. It’s her job to make silly jokes about events in pop culture. All the woman was saying was that to expedite her errand running, she was going to roll with Bolt.
Let me offer some personal insight into this discussion.
I used to run track in high school AND college – CERTAINLY not on Usain’s level, but I could more than hold my own. There were cats in high school – white AND black – who would joke about using me to get from point A to point B due to my fast 100 and 200 meter times.
It wasn’t to dehumanize me. In fact, it increased my popularity a bit.
It was reaffirming what I already knew (and what others later learned), that I was a bad mutha-f$&@er who could get down on the track. I surely wasn’t offended when my popularity allowed me to harvest phone numbers from girls who were otherwise out of my league.
Again, it’s all about CONTEXT.
And sure, I get why the offended parties would complain. My very intelligent and loving wife shared with me a link discussing the historical context behind those complaints (and is also a good read).
However, I still have a hard time believing that Ellen DeGeneres, of all people, would go down this road with bad intentions. In fact, her track record would prove otherwise.
So for those looking for a cause to rally behind, there are plenty going on in this world (i.e., police brutality, #BlackLivesMatter) that are more than worthy. The Ellen/Usain photo is not one of them.
After all, since Bolt himself retweeted the photo and thought it was funny, why the hell should we give a damn?