“J.K. Rowling defends Donald Trump...” Read the part of the article’s headline I read and that’s all it took. I was incensed! A kind of hysteria crawled across my mind, not dissimilar to the hysteria that weaved its way across the twittersphere as news hit of Rowling’s betrayal. This defence could not be coming from the same J.K. Rowling who many of my friends have pointed to as evidence that the hardships I have faced will not be in vain. How could she defend a man with such repugnant, divisive, downright racist views? Woe betide the feminist who would defend this orange face buffoon making a mockery of the US political process. My heart wept, cracked, broke into a million pieces- all before I actually read the whole headline, what was said or even listened to her speech at the PEN America Literary GALA.
Skip to the 1:49:00 for Rowling’s speech.
Oh. LOL. One day, I will learn not to be sucked in by click bait headlines designed to raise my blood pressure and turn me into an irrational monster who jumps to conclusions, fingers stuck in ear shouting “WHITE PRIVILEGE! WHITE PRIVILEGE!” armed only with a 5 word headline as evidence of Rowling’s betrayal of the people of colour targeted by Donald Trump’s hatefulness.
Yes, there is a school of thought that argues the only reason Rowling is so willing to defend Trump is because as a wealthy, white woman she is not a target of Trump’s hatefulness. How could she forget that under Trump’s proposal to ban the entry of Muslims into the US, our newly elected Mayor of London Saddiq Khan himself would fall victim? Of course Rowling would invite Trump to come and share his nonsense here in Britain, she isn’t Mexican and does not acknowledge how damaging it is when Trump states boldly Mexicans are rapists and claims he is determined to build a wall to keep them out of the US. Hmmm. I’m not too sure, you know. This isn’t Katie Hopkins, or Anne Coulter. This is J.K Rowling. The J.K. Rowling who came to Serena Williams’ defence when a troll said she looked like a man. To judge her speech as simply the ramblings of an over-entitled windbag is to do an enormous disservice to someone who in the past has articulated opinions surrounding social justice causes that do not wholly benefit her.
Bette Middler asked why Azealia Banks had suspended from Twitter while Donald Trump remains able to use the social media platform. The only difference between what Azealia Banks and Donald Trump say is nuance. While Donald Trump does not overtly come out and call Muslims and Mexicans the deplorable racial slurs Azealia Banks used to refer to Zayn Malik, his rhetoric is just as dangerous and damaging. To say otherwise is to ignore that calling me a nigger is just as problematic as being told that my hair in its natural state is unsuitable for the workplace. Both sentiments are racist, but Azealia Banks might be banned from the UK while Donald Trump is invited here with open arms it would seem.
Ultimately, I agree with Rowling about the freedom of speech. In order for Freedom of Speech to be truly free, it must be enjoyed by the prejudiced and righteous alike. However I wonder if she would extend this same invitation to Banks. For me, problems arise when one group of people’s allows them the unfettered ability to determine how society feels about minority groups.
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