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That’s so rude, Raven!

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By Diego Cagara


Actress, singer and “The View” co-host Raven-Symoné has recently received backlash for making controversial comments regarding race and police brutality on the talk show.

Her name may sound familiar to young people who grew up watching her hit Disney Channel television show “That’s So Raven,” while older generations may recognize her from “The Cosby Show” from around the early 1990s. Now she’s getting attention for a negative reason.

Perhaps the most recent controversy involved Raven-Symoné commenting about the viral Spring Valley High School incident in which a sheriff violently sent a student to the ground during class time.

While reviewing the viral video during an episode of “The View,” Raven-Symoné believed that teens “should put [their] phones away” and that they “have to understand authority.” This stirred up angry and negative responses from viewers over Twitter who believed that Raven-Symoné was saying what the sheriff did was O.K.

Both the student and the sheriff were at fault for their individual actions. While I understood how Raven-Symoné argues that teens should respect authority, I would have focused on the sheriff’s actions more than the teenager’s.

When the incident grew viral, the hashtag #SpringValleyAssault was used. This hashtag’s wording focuses on the sheriff’s assault on the student, not the phone-wielding student. So, to deviate from the main issue – the sheriff’s violence – seems to ignore how the sheriff truly treated the student.

Raven-Symoné’s comments, regardless of causing controversy, did actually touch on how teens need to learn when are the appropriate times to use their electronic devices, something I thought was the only redeeming thing about her take on the incident.

I believe that teens should understand how imperative getting an education is. While I know how tempting it is to secretly use my iPhone in class, I try to push it off because getting a higher education costs a lot of money. So, it’s important to recognize and embrace the fact that we, as University at Albany students, are lucky to go to college in the first place. But we should still never be victims of police brutality.

Raven-Symoné also was the center of another controversy during another episode of “The View” when she said she would not hire anyone who has a “black-sounding” name, a statement that deals with institutional racism.

“I’m not about to hire you if your name is Watermelondrea,” she said, “It’s just not gonna happen. I’m not gonna hire you.”

Her comments came off racist and discriminatory against people with such names and I am completely against what she said. It is tragic when a person, despite potentially having a great resume, still would not be employed because a potential employer may equate their “black-sounding” name with a lack of intelligence.

Growing up, I vividly remembered that a 2005 “That’s So Raven” episode dealt with racism and that the Disney Channel had been praised for addressing such a dark subject to young viewers. The episode titled “True Colors” was about how Raven-Symoné’s character, Raven Baxter, attempted to get a job at a store but was rejected despite proving how qualified she was. Instead, her character’s best friend, Chelsea Daniels (played by Anneliese van der Pol), who is white, got the job despite lacking experience.

Raven-Symoné then deduces that she was rejected only because the manager was racist and she and Chelsea eventually confronted the racist manager. The episode managed to educate viewers that racism is wrong but is still present in modern times. Fast forward 10 years to 2015, when Raven-Symoné says she would not hire someone with a “black-sounding” name. It is heartbreaking that this is where she has come.

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