Racism Doesn’t Work Both Ways and Neither Does Cultural Appropriation

katy-perry-appropriationSometimes people ask me really moronic questions. One that I get all the time is, “But, but, on your blog, aren’t you racist against white people though? Because you say some really bad things about us.” Short answer: no. I can’t be racist because I’m not…well…white. And, I also can’t – as a recent troll implied –1“appropriate white ‘culture’.” Why? Well, because when a racial group decides their normative choices are “respectable” thus setting their lifestyle as the best way for everyone else to live, they don’t get to play “backsies” when others emulate them. Cultural appropriation is wholly different from taking on presumably respectable behaviors to garner material or social benefits. It isn’t a game of backsides and it is most definitely used to demean, undermine, and disadvantage minority groups in society.

There is no such thing as reverse racism. Comedian and friend of the blog, Aamer Rahman, handled that in his viral comedy routine some time ago.  In summary, because minority groups don’t have inter-generational privilege we can wield against whites (thereby limiting their possible wealth, educational, employment, and/or environmental outcomes), we really have no way of being racist against them. Racism requires power. Without it negative racial feelings might be discriminatory but they certainly aren’t racist. Any racial animus held by minority groups toward whites cannot be set apart on its own as an initial offense because we have already experienced centuries of targeted racial oppression from whites. So, the point of reverse racism is moot.

Katy-perry-grillNow, cultural appropriation is the act of taking the very physical, mental, or social features of a minority group which are used to belittle, mischaracterize, and otherwise isolate them and embody those features for personal social entertainment or monetary gain. When Katy Perry – a white girl from Santa Barbara – dons bejeweled grill pieces, long fake nails, and gelled down ‘baby hairs’ to promote her new video for the song ‘How We Do,’ she isn’t appreciating ‘black culture’. She can’t be because she only features stark stereotypes of black women in her imagery. In the new video, while satirizing black women, she answers a phone call from her friend “Jessica Thot” or “Jessica That Ho Over There.” The term”THOT” is extremely demeaning to black women and has been used by street harassers seeking to devalue black women’s bodies. Surely Perry knows that.

Similarly, when Miley Cyrus danced around with hypersexualized black women, put on a ‘Blaccent,’ and promoted illegal drug use as a means of having fun, she wasn’t showing how cool it is to be black. She was showing how limited her view of black humanity is. Both artists – though Iggy Azalea, Justin Bieber, Macklemore, and a host of others could be slotted in to make this point – play on the worst stereotypes of black people to make a mockery of actual human beings. By wearing us as promotional costumes or draping us across their shoulders like feathered boas, they fetishize black bodies and make us into novelties for white consumption.

Minority groups can mock white people. They can mimic dominant culture. They can even completely assimilate into “respectable behavior” if they so choose. There are levels of social benefits and costs to doing so. But, minority groups will never be able to appropriate ‘white culture’ in a way that is harmful or damaging to whites in the aggregate. White complexity is never denied nor questioned while minority group identities are countered with dangerous and even deadly caricatures.

redlands-east-valley-high-black-faceFor example, making fun of President George W. Bush won’t undermine the accomplishments of every white male president this country has ever had. Why? Because we have 42 others to compare to. But, in the case of slain black teens, the overwhelming social narrative mischaracterizes them as “thugs,” and “gangbangers.” An entire Southern California high school cheer squad was recently pictured posing as gang members with pregnant bellies, sagging pants, and turf signs for “team building activities.” This notion about the black identity has been at least partly responsible for the onslaught of shooting deaths in black communities by police authorities. To deny that fact is to gloss over how powerful this imagery truly is.

On the whole, there seems to be a deep misunderstanding regarding how dangerous appropriation is. What whites in black face (which you don’t have to wear to appropriate black culture) call harmless fun, black folks call a further stripping of our humanity. Cultural appropriation empowers racial animus against minority groups. It emboldens law enforcement looking for the ‘suspect.’ And, it mentally indexes the black identity as violent, ominous, and inherently dangerous.

Cultural appropriation doesn’t work both ways which should make it that much easier to do away with altogether (ahem, white people).


The Slavery Argument & Interracial Dating

From Tired Sista: I posted this because white women’s racism needs to be called out more. Too many black people give their racism a pass. This article shows how wicked they were and still are to black people.

on June 5, 2013 at 11:12 pm

“Black men claim slavery is not an issue when choosing a white counterpart because white women didn’t play a role in slavery, but instead white men”

Many black women ask black men: Why date white women given the history of slavery? Though it may seem like a logical and fair question (hint holocaust Jewish dating Germans) instead of answering the question some black men have flipped the question asking black women: Why date white men? Implying white women were not responsible for any of the inhumane acts towards blacks during slavery it was all white men.

White women and their role

Though it is very true white men were responsible for majority of the killings and beatings the reality of it is majority of white women were just as guilty. How? It was never the role of women especially white women to physically kill or beat slaves because those matters were dealt with by their husbands or other white males. The woman’s role was to be a wife and mother and nothing more, though white women did have a more underhand approach in abusing black slaves.

slavery hanging

White women raped

Keep in mind it would have been unladylike to beat, or kill a slave, and white women were not physically strong enough to physically rape the male slaves so instead they took a more tactful inconspicuous approach. White women knew that black male slaves feared their husbands (white master) so the black male slave being tamed obeyed masters wife. She did not have to rape by force because the male slave obediently gave into her request just as they (male slaves) tolerated the sexual abuse performed by white male slave masters.white naked women with female slaves2

The white mistress would demand the black man in her presence when her husband was away from the home to engage in sexual activities, the black male slave knowing she was out of place and the consequences if he was caught also knew that if he denied the white mistress she would lie and accuse him of rape and he would still get killed so he did what any sane person would do if their only choice was to die. When a white woman became pregnant and wasn’t sure if it was her husbands or the black slave (and keep in mind abortion was not permitted especially if married, and condoms were nonexistent) when the child was born if the baby had black features she would squeal rape to save face and not only would the black male slave be killed, but the newborn baby as well. White men were not killing their white wives for having sexual intercourse with black men. Even if a white woman told the truth about being the initiator the black male would still get killed and nothing would happen to the white woman in most cases.

White women tortured black women

Though this is taboo and never discussed white women sexually abused black female slaves in absence of their husbands. White women would physically torture female slaves with foreign objects amputating their nipples, breasts, cutting or damaging the vagina so the husband would no longer desire them. Some white women like their husbands would force female slaves to perform cunnilingus and other sexual acts.

white women tortured


White women black slave children

Yes, the children were also physically abused, babies were suffocated, children were drowned, poisoned murdered in other ways and overworked by the white female especially if the child was a product of her husband. Like any woman she became furious at her husband’s actions but upholding her image as most wives did during that time she took out her anger on the offspring.

white slave father of black child


Purchasing slaves

White women played the exact role of their husbands, actively engaged in the trading and purchasing of slaves. Of course the property (slaves) would legally be the white males because women were not in charge of the finances but the selecting like any other merchandise was joint decisions, and even white children took part in it when they were of age. White females were always present. If the roles of women were different many of them would have behaved the same as the white males because the mentality of majority of whites, male and female, were the same. Whites felt they were superior, blacks were animals, and they treat them as such.

slave bill of sale

Black women raising white women’s children

If a mother had her children doing everything while she sat around and did nothing most people will say it was wrong, right? Well this is no different than what white women did to female slaves, black women raised their (whites) children, cleaned, cooked, and all the other household and outdoor duties, for free while being openly disrespected and abused.

black slave with white child

It wasn’t that white women didn’t play a part it was just the roles of men and women during that time were different.