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People who look like me could learn a thing or two from Lizzo

People who look like me could learn a thing or two from Lizzo
People who look like me could learn a thing or two from Lizzo

Lizzo did not concern some half-arsed non apology (Getty Images for Youtube)

I have to acknowledge, Lizzo managed to surprise me this 7 days. The rapper and singer employed an terrible phrase in her most recent single, Grrrls – s**z. Not everyone understands why it is a challenge, as this episode demonstrates, so a temporary explainer: it is most offensive to people today with cerebral palsy, remaining derived from the (mercifully out-of-date) professional medical terminology utilized to describe a type of the condition.

The slur is also aimed at disabled people today extra usually and there are variations similar to the regrettable items a disabled system can do to you also. So, for example, the phrase “having a…” (but I really never need to go there, do I?)

Now, it is not remotely “woke”, or “politically correct”, or regardless of what time period is favored by appropriate-wing knuckleheads and trolls (and jerks who would leap up and down screaming have been an insult at any time directed at them) to have a issue with it – since the simple fact is that it’s just plain awful. It may possibly not be very so offensive in the US and Canada as it is in the British isles but that doesn’t alter the actuality that it is in those people countries way too when you look at its origins and the way it is utilized.

But (and this is the position): when that was produced recognized to Lizzo, she acted with extraordinary speed. She did not situation some half-arsed non apology. There was no: “I’m sorry if any person is offended by my lyric. This was not intended. Hugs to the earth.” Vitally, crucially: she changed the lyric.

For a movie star to do that, and with this sort of rapidity, is pretty exceptional – though perhaps it’s fewer stunning if you think about the context. Lizzo said this in a statement, posted to Twitter: “As a fats Black female in The usa, I’ve experienced quite a few hurtful phrases utilised in opposition to me so I overstand the electric power words can have (regardless of whether deliberately or in my scenario unintentionally).”

That was very well put since, well, shall we be straightforward below? Would a white singer, especially of the male persuasion, have acted with these alacrity? Ok, most likely some would have. But several would have whinged and moaned and complained about absolutely everyone being imply to them, and then appeared on Fox Information to grouse about “cancel culture”.

There are people today who appear like me who could understand a factor or two from Lizzo. In some ways, she may well finally have accomplished disabled people a favour – albeit unintentionally – by drawing consideration to the problem, making a conversation and raising recognition.

There’s a likelihood that the phrase will be utilized much less as a final result of this. It is not quite a slam dunk, specially in Britain wherever the federal government indulges in shameless ableism – see my past column on Grenfell, and the failure to enact steps to ensure the evacuation of disabled people from high rise buildings – but if it does lead to a improve in behaviour, it would be a convenience to those on the obtaining conclude.

Why do I say that? Well, there are people out there who could have flippantly used the word in the existence of people who are harm by it. And it is still used casually, together with in Britain.

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I recently attended the London Sci Fi film competition (of course I’m a geek, sue me) where by I witnessed an viewers laughing loudly just after a character – supposedly comedically – insulted a few of her reduced-amount criminal acquaintances as “S**z and Dave” in a single of the movies on show.

I approximately wheeled out there and then – I really should have. It was a quite terrible movie (I lifted the situation with the competition and was told they would warn the programming group, which was welcome). But to the “woke is killing comedy brigade”, I like edginess as substantially as the upcoming particular person, but if a little something like “S**z & Dave” is what you have you have to do to get a chuckle, you ain’t considerably of a comedian author.

If Lizzo’s music, and her willingness to act on it, do lead to folks like the writers of this film to feel a little bit in advance of they use the phrase, then so a great deal the much better.

If nothing at all else, Lizzo has at the very least proven there’s a improved way to react to this kind of challenge than indulging in the typical celebrity dance, generally educated by overpriced publicists compensated to convey to folks what they want to hear, with no fascination in the welfare of folks who society stomps on.

So yes, this was a surprise. But in a fantastic way – which is exceptional. Great on Lizzo.