Awkward: Mark Ruffalo Calls Blacks ‘These People’ During Oscar Awards Pre-Show


There has been a fascinating and revealing cultural tug-of-war over this year’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy, and Sunday night’s Oscar Awards pre-show provided one more jerk in the direction of clue-deficient liberal celebrity. Best Supporting Actor nominee and openly white liberal Mark Ruffalo was trying to show support for black people, and in the immortal words of Don Adams, missed it by that much:

“Yeah, the, the uh, there’s the Oscars so White this year and that’s, um, that’s a real issue. And I think it’s time for our country to have this discussion in an earnest way. It’s happening in the criminal justice system, the education system, it should be happening here in the Hollywood. Who else to represent the needs of these people than their fellow liberals?”

Setting aside the fact that Ruffalo seems to have missed the memo that these people don’t like to be called “these people,” there has never been a black activist anywhere who has thought that white Hollywood liberals were the best people to “represent their interests.”

What makes this doubly hilarious is that it seems Ruffalo actually did get the aforementioned memo. On Friday night’s episode of Real Time, Ruffalo sent host Bill Maher into a white liberal panic when he broke the host’s balls for referring to black people as “they”. In a weird, telling twist, Maher then immediately accused the lone black panelist of calling him racist:

Maher: Why is that a problem? Do they have to be everywhere giving you money?

Ruffalo: Who’s they?

Maher: The black people.

Ruffalo: (recoils) Whoah!

Maher: Really? I can’t…

Prof. Michael Eric Dyson: (to crowd) Yes, we should be everywhere! Yes we should be… no, no, no

Maher: Oh, oh, I can’t use the term “they” when I’m, that makes me a racist?

Prof. Dyson: Come on, Bill. You and me, bro.

Maher: Yeah, I’m the problem, too.

Prof. Dyson: You know I’m not… Not at all!

Maher: You reacted when I said “they.”

Prof. Dyson: No, no, I didn’t react, bro. That was him. (indicates Ruffalo)

Ruffalo: It was me.

Prof. Dyson: I know I’m a light-skinned negro, but I’m not a white guy.

It’s not exactly racist to say things like “they” and “the black people,” but lashing out at the only black guy in arm’s reach is also not a good look.

Chris Rock is right, though, black people do have much more important things to worry about than who won an Oscar, or than which well-meaning liberal celebrity is talking about “these people.” Maybe it’s the white people who should worry about being better allies.

(h/t TR)

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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