Tiffany Haddish has become a shining star in Hollywood. Her role in Girl’s Trip catapulted her to fame. Since then she has been collecting checks and awards. From her hosting gig on SNL, to her new movie Night School with Kevin Hart, Tiffany is everywhere.
Last week, she won the Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, for her hosting on SNL. After the ceremony, a report asked her a question about diversity. The reporter said: “The opening was great with all the talks of diversity and how its the most diverse group of nominees ever. But Twitter right now kind of seems to have a backlash about how there have only been white winners tonight, and how we still have so far to go, and how we have so many wonderful actors and writers in the categories that were nominated,” she added. “Do you have thoughts of how we could kind of get to that next hurdle?”
Tiffany’s answer set the internet ablaze, she said:
“Girl, no. I don’t know how to do that, and I didn’t go to college for that.” “I didn’t go to college at all, nor do I know how to solve problems like that. If you was asking me how to structure a joke, I could help you with that part.”
“But what you talking about now, I don’t know,” she added. “I don’t know. All I know is how to do my job. That’s somebody else’s job. I don’t know that. Can’t answer that for you, but I won.”
Her response was called ghetto, ignorant, and inappropriate. All because she said she did not know the answer.
To respond, ‘I don’t know’, to any question is seen as ignorant because we as a society have it drilled in us that we have to know everything and if we do not know, we have to pretend we do. By society’s standard, answering a question with ‘I don’t know’ makes you look bad, and we all know appearance means everything in this world.
I couldn’t even tell you how Hollywood, a century old institution, could fix their diversity problem. In all honesty, people have already told Hollywood how they could fix this problem, but Hollywood has not listened. So what can Tiffany Haddish add to the conversation? Not much, which is what she said. Yet, people got all up in arms about it.
Answering a question with ‘I don’t know’ is valid especially if you genuinely do not know something. I don’t know astrophysics, so I cannot answer a question about it. I am not a fortune teller, so I cannot tell you what will happen 5 years from now. It may sound good to answer every question posed to you, but if that is not your expertise, then you will look more foolish giving some long drawn out answer, when you could have saved yourself the trouble and just said ‘I don’t know.’
So be more like Tiffany and answer with a solid ‘I don’t know.’ If you don’t know, then you don’t know. No need to beat yourself up or have everyone else beat you up by answering with that.
3 thoughts on “When ‘I Don’t Know’ is the Best Answer”
I wish I could give this post a standing ovation but you’ll just have to imagine me doing that! I love Tiffany but I also side-eye people and the media who make it seem like she got lucky and came out of nowhere. She’s been around for years and she’s worked her way up. Also, I think you hit the nail on the head. I think her answer was perfect. The media is so eager to make one POC speak for all and she was diplomatic and intelligent enough not to let them pin that on her.
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Tiffany started as a comedian, so this acting thing is new to her. Let her get some more acting credits under her belt. Hollywood and by extension, white folks, need to stop expecting Black people to have the answers for a problem their racism created. Thanks for the comment.
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Couldn’t have put it better myself. Thanks for writing about this.