Go home, Joey Barton. You are drunk

1. In 2010, singer John Mayer gave an interview to Playboy magazine, in which he explored an ‘interesting’ philosophy regarding his penis and black women: “I don’t think I open myself to [black women],” he said. “My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock.”

2. Also in 2010, I wrote a piece about race (not necessarily racism) and online dating. It got a few comments, and I got a few emails. I went on Woman’s Hour to discuss the piece. You can read it here, if you like.

3. I like to watch Take Me Out from time to time. In case you don’t know, Take Me Out is a dating show that comes on Saturday nights on ITV1. It is hosted by comedian/actor Paddy McGuinness, who gently (and sometimes not-so-gently) mocks the intelligence of the 30 assembled women as they continue their quest for love on national television. Like a lot of my telly these days, I watch TMO with Twitter, adding commentary and reading the often hilarious tweets from my timeline. The longest-running joke is the fact that almost none of the black women on the show have ever been selected for a date. I am 30 years old, so maybe my memory’s already going, but I can personally only remember one black woman securing a date. One.

4. On February 4 2013, less than an hour after Beyonce finished a triumphant set at the Super Bowl Half-time Show, English footballer Joey Barton tweeted (and has now deleted) this:

Barton tweet

And that’s when I murmured ‘enough, now’, clicked ‘Close Tab’, blew a long and involved raspberry in the general direction of Joey Barton, and sighed so heavily Toni Morrison offered to write a short story about me.

Listen up, because – in the style of Michelle off Allo, Allo – I shall say ‘zis only once.

HAVE A SEAT. YOU HEAR? JUST GO OCCUPY A STADIUM OF SEATS. TAKE A TOUR OF THE COLOSSEUM  AND THEN TAKE AN EVERLASTING SEAT IN ITS LARGE ASSORTMENTS OF SEATING OPTIONS. PARK YOUR JANKY ARSE DOWN ON A PARK BENCH SOMEWHERE AND TAKE A LOAD OFF. FIND A CHAIR AND LAY ALL YOUR BURDENS ON IT.

SIRS. MADAMS. SIT. THE HELL. DOWN.

Joey Barton, thank you for condescending to offer your field for a game with the women who make up Destiny’s Child. I try my best never to speak for all black women, since, you know, we’re not a monolithic block, but following an emergency Black AGM (‘Sisters’ Branch) last night, I have been nominated to pass on some information. Here goes:

We, the Sisters, are not really “ones for you” either. We suggest you take that offer of a game and stick it, without muss or fuss, in a location where the sun does not habitually shine. We urge you to thoroughly, and thoughtfully, go fuck yourself.

Look.

I am not so naive or puffed up on ideas of my own (pretty fucking gorgeous) appearance that I start off with the assumption that everyone must fancy me and other women in the Mo’ Better Melanin Club. Fancy who you like, man. With any luck they’ll fancy you back. You’re “not really one for the sisters”? Oh, noes! *frets* WHATEVER SHALL WE DO? Here’s the thing: Joey Barton had no reason whatsoever to provide that little caveat at the end of his tweet. None. What does it achieve exactly? Is it a self-congratulatory ‘look how open-minded I’m being!’ signpost? Or is it a ‘look – lust has unlocked my racism curse!’ call for celebration? Why does/should it matter who you normally fancy? Shall we send word to Bey, Michelle and Kelly on their breakthrough with you? Fetch me Shadowfax – we ride at dawn!

bey shock

And what is up with the use of that ‘the sisters’ tag? Is that to show us you’re ‘down’, Joey? Oh, you. Look how well that turned out for John Mayer, who you may recall, “is just very. V-E-R-Y“.

I just… what even.

Go home, Joey Barton. You are drunk.

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7 Comments

  1. Pam
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Goodness. Love this. I actually asked the question re: Black women not being picked on TMO, where do they go? (in all seriousness…OK half joking) on my Facebook just last week. Nobody knew.

    And then I thought “someone [perhaps a Guardian writer type] needs to write about this”
    *looks at you*

  2. Pam
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    …and Barton is a chump

  3. Posted February 4, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    I could no agree more! :D

  4. anne
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    That was you?
    I read that piece in the Guardian at the time and the phrase “low hanging fruit” stayed with me a long time. In fact I was going to refer to it here. I’m slightly bewildered to find I’ve found my way back to you by circuitous means.

    Having mostly worked abroad I’ve dated Ghanaians and Togolese; also Israelis, Frenchmen, Dutch and English guys. Only once have I had to stop and wonder ‘Does he see me or am I being fetishized / exoticized? The guy was charming and much older. I felt myself being shown off and called him on it gently.

    Its complex; are you funny and attractive or an exotic novelty date?

    As well as representation and back handed racism, for me this is also tied up with internalised self hatreds and the hegemony of beauty culture. But having never seen TMO, I assume the line up is more WAG than self aware college grads, so I say pick your battles.

    In that now notorious interview John Mayer spoke of having a ‘hood pass.’ The dude jas problems. If Joey Barton ONLY dated black women, you’d STILL think he was a monumental f*ckwit.

    Joey Barton doesn’t fancy you? I say rejoice.

    We aren’t the norm here- representation is always going to be patchy and feel tokenistic at times. Thai and Indian women get similar treatment. Being anchored in self knowlegde and in your self worth is crucial, or else flipping through magazines or watching TV would leave you feeling invsisble.

    And a name check for Shadowfax.
    Class.

  5. Lynda
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Just wanted to confirm that I seconded your motion at the Sistas AGM.

    We all wait with baited breath for men to tell us they want to do us don’t we. Such a relief to know where Joey stands. Not too long ago I was on Brighton beach with a group of (white) friends. An Essex boy (he was a 20something from Essex) came and joined us and eventually told me “I don’t usually go for coloured birds but you’re well fit” quote unquote. My friends were shocked at his use of the word coloured (this was Sept 2012), me more that he thought i gave a monkeys what he thought. Same syndrome that Joey is suffering from. Scarily still so prevalent.

  6. Lanre
    Posted February 8, 2013 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    *shall be recommending YGD to the Black AGM (for the Sisters’ Branch) for a DBE. Dame of the Black Empire.*

  7. Posted February 8, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Bim! I love your Guardian article- and I totally share your opinion, having dipped into the Online Dating World, after being urged by my many white PS (Public School) friends to try it out. And so I did with a few sites, and afterwards I really felt my race was an issue but when I tried to explain it to my mates they just didn’t get ‘it’, and I kinda felt like that yawnsome black girl- you know the one that blames her race for everything…
    So here are my best memories from those sites. Bear in mind these were these dudes First Contact Messages-
    Match.com- You are ‘booetilicyous’- yup, the MF couldn’t spell but I got the message…
    Match.com- I want to chase you around the bedroom…

    OkCupid- Look, I jurst want to c wot it woold be like to fuckk a black gurl…
    My response to that was- I don’t fuck men who can’t spell.

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