Amber Rose vs. the Kardashian clan wasn't the only intense back-and-forth Twitter theater this afternoon. Jessica Williams, The Daily Show's youngest and arguably most popular correspondent, delivered a hubris-filled sermon to a particular brand of armchair critic who believes Williams is obligated to assume the soon-to-be-vacant throne once belonging to Jon Stewart.
Williams took to Twitter to offer genuine appreciation for the outpouring of support from fans who celebrate her presence in a late night television landscape dominated by a white male hegemony and who would love to see her be the fresh new face of Comedy Central's talk show circuit:
Strangely enough, this act of humility and grace was mistaken for weakness and submission, as The Billfold published an article rejecting Williams' self-determination and agency as a free thinking woman. The author let Williams know that in the snarkiest, smuggest way possible:
How modest! How self-effacing! You can almost hear all the old white people who benefit from the status quo nodding their approval. We did it, they whisper. We have succeeded in instilling in yet another competent, confident young woman a total lack of understanding of her own self-worth! We didn’t even need to undermine her; we gave her the tools and she undermined herself. Well done all. Good show. Let’s play eighteen holes and then hit up Hooters for lunch.
Jessica Williams, respectfully, I reject your humility. What on earth does “under-qualified” mean when it comes to being a comedian? You’re smart, you’re funny, you’re self-possessed. Is there something I’m missing?
Yes, there is something you're missing. You're missing the fact that it is not Jessica Williams' karmic responsibility to become the woman of color we all so desperately would love to see in a leading late night television role. Supporters of her work cannot, and will not, deprive of Williams of her humanity and self-possession to decide what is best for her own career. And for that, Ms. Williams offered the greatest of clap backs:
There should be nothing further to discuss. While many fellow white, liberal progressives truly do have their hearts in the right place, we must not forget we aren't entitled to co-opt the direction of change and cultural shifts. Jessica Williams is great and we should remain steadfast in supporting her greatness, no matter how she chooses to deliver it to the world.
We are still looking forward to Jessica's next move, because we know it will be huge.