The Erasure of Black Womanhood: Why Anthony Cumia's Twitter Rant is About More Than Race
On Wednesday, July 2, 2014, "Opie and Anthony" radio host Anthony Cumia went on a disgusting rant that lasted several tweets in which he used abhorrent language to describe an interaction he had with a Black woman in Times Square, New York City. He used words and phrases like “whore b*tch,” “c*nt,” “c*ntrag,” and “animal pig fuck c*nt b*tch,” all to describe a woman he claims attacked him. He claimed she attacked him because he was innocently taking pictures of a construction site at 3 a.m. (in the middle of Times Square) and she walked into his frame. He posted pictures of her—and from what we can see, there was no other focus of the images other than the woman herself. She did not appear to be casually walking into his frame, but rather, she seemed upset at him as she walked toward him, for whatever reason. He did not report the incident to police.
I’m not going to speculate too much about what happened during their interaction because like everyone else, I was NOT there. Interestingly enough, there are hundreds of people who believe the undeniable “facts,” as provided by Cumia, that he was “attacked” by this woman, with no evidence other than his tweets. I’m not sure how that works, but cognitive dissonance is a hell of a drug.
I’ve read several articles and tweets about this incident over the last five days. Almost all of them are focusing on the racial bigotry in his rant. To be clear, Cumia’s language is heavily coded in racial antagonism, as he uses words commonly used to denigrate people of color, especially Black people: “savages,” “illegals,” and “animals.” He also makes several references to the inherent violence of “that community” and charges Black people with using "instinctual violence"—using violence as a go-to response to any communication. He clearly has terrible ideas about Black people and they came out during his rant.
Cumia’s rationale for why she allegedly punched him several times? He is White. He made it clear in his tweets that she allegedly attacked him because he was a White man. He then lambasted several Black men who allegedly came to her defense during the incident, calling them “violent savages” who came to defend the woman he called a “pig.” Cumia continued to refer to the woman as a “c*nt animal,”“pig,” and “whore” in his Twitter tirade, and made suggestions that he would kill her himself were he an “illegal savage.” He referenced having a gun on him at the time, and said he was tempted to use it, but instead he wished that a “homeboy” would “beat her to death.” When asked if a “female” beat him, he responded, “No, an ANIMAL BITCH” used “instinctual violence” and he had to restrain himself from put “IT” to sleep. He doesn't seem to want to admit that during the alleged attack, he was bested by a woman so he instead makes her out to be a savage beast against which he could not defend himself.
Racial bigotry isn’t the only thing that was present in his tirade. What is going virtually unchecked—by his supporters, at least—is the unbridled sexism in his train of thought. I was hoping to see more aggressive articles about the blatant sexism, and to see more rallying behind this woman, or at least AGAINST him, from mainstream feminist publications. I found casual mentions of the sexism, but most of the focus was on the racism. Historically, Black women, especially, have felt excluded from the mainstream feminist movement—and at times like this, when Cumia clearly went on one of the most sexist tirades I’ve seen or heard in YEARS, I haven’t seen many of the Feminists-For-Pay speaking out in condemnation of his blatant sexism. Even in some of my followers' efforts to be supportive, they, too, are ignoring that this was a sexually charged, loaded rant attacking this woman’s existence as a woman.