I Can’t Hide Mine, Please Don’t Hide Yours: An Open Letter to Ben Affleck

24 Apr

I’ve been wanting to weigh in on the Ben Affleck/Henry Louis Gates stuff but didn’t have the energy to devote to it. This writer/chef sums up much of what I’d say about it. Affleck asked Gates not to reveal what Gayes had uncovered in Affleck’s past: slave owners. Clutch the pearls. This news is hardly shocking to Black folks & while I get he’s “embarrassed” we all have to face & own our past if we’re ever going to become “one country.” I used to have a friend, a very close friend, my first white friend. After about a decade of friendship we discovered that our mothers had the same unusual last name & came from the same tiny South Carolina town. This news initially elated her. It immediately made feel sick. She said, “this is amazing. We’re so connected, now it makes sense that we’re related.” I said: yes, perhaps we are but I can promise you that it’s not because of some kind of consensual relations. Details for another post and/or story but in the end our friendship didn’t survive her refusal to acknowledge that chances were that her family had owned mine. (This was typed on my phone so pls forgive typos, etc. I just needed to get this out right now). #welcometomybreakdown#edwardball #slavesinthefamily

Afroculinaria

Dear Ben,

Its unfortunate because of a massive internet hack we are in this particular place discussing your ancestral past. It’s horrible that your private matters were exposed because of something beyond your control. That’s untenable in any situation, but we need to address something right quick…this slavery thing.  You were embarassed, and that’s reasonable given the situation and the circumstances that produced it. But Ben Affleck, take it from a Black guy; with a platform like yours, don’t you dare be embarrassed to come from an ancestor who held enslaved people. Because….We need to know.

I don’t think many Black people really understand the profound guilt, shame or embarassment some white descendants of slave holding families feel. It’s not just that many assume personal responsibility for the past or that they grasp that their privilege or power is not just based on perceptions based on skin color.  Clearly these…

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2 Responses to “I Can’t Hide Mine, Please Don’t Hide Yours: An Open Letter to Ben Affleck”

  1. theunsualbeauty July 2, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

    He is not responsible for the racism of his ancestors.

    • Benilde Little October 25, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

      No, he is not, but denying that they were racist is the problem and is the problem with face in American right now. The refusal to acknowledge our country’s painful history.

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