Well, no doubt many of you are scratching your heads or shaking them with disbelief over Perry’s AMA performance. Most likely, however, you’re confused as to why so many people are getting their panties into a knot over it. What’s wrong with it? Wasn’t she just dressing up? Why are people so sensitive about race? It’s just a costume.
She’s dressing up- using someone else’s culture as the costume and a bunch of random Asian props as her background.
For those of you who don’t seem to understand, the East has long been plagued by exotification and appropriation of it’s many diverse cultures. Many Asian women-especially Asian American women- are turned into sex objects, as stereotypes of the sexy, submissive, stereotypical Asian girlfriend/lover plagues the mind of many men.
Also is the tendency to ignore the fact that Asia is not limited to just China and Korea and Japan- it is also made up India, Vietnam, and Thailand, just to name a few. These are all different countries, each with their own individual cultures, food, and ways of life.
So the very fact that one privileged white pop singer feels as if she has the right to get up on stage and ignore the cultural diversity of an entire continent is extremely disrespectful. Picking a bunch of “Asian Inspired” clothing and props is disrespectful to those people who you are stealing from especially since homogenization of Asian cultures is extremely prevalent in the United States.
Taking a “kimono” and sexing it up for your viewers also plays into the “sexy Geisha” stereotype that America can’t seem to get enough of. Geisha led very complicated lives, and yet people still believe that Geisha’s were prostitutes or some type of sex workers (not that there is anything wrong with being a sex worker). By dressing up and pretending to be one, what you are doing is playing into harmful assumptions and stereotypes that many people still believe, reinforcing the image of sexy, exotic Asian women.
Also important to note is that when members of a particular race practice cultural activities, they are met with scorn, distrust, disgust, and racism. Because of white privilege, it is always okay for a white person to practice a cultural activity belonging to a certain culture, but when a person of said race does it, it is no longer okay.
For those of you wailing, here is a list of examples:
- Black women who wear braids are seen as ghetto, white women who do it are seen as edgy or stylish.
- Indian women who wear Indian clothing are seen as “too ethnic” and unwilling to except white American culture, white women who do it are seen as fashionable or exotic.
- Black women who twerk are seen as ghetto and un-classy,white women who twerk are seen as just dancing or even as sexy.
- Native Americans who dress in their respective traditional clothing are seen as being old fashioned, unwilling to “give it up” and just accept white American culture- white people who dress up as stereotypical, homogenized versions of Native Americans, complete with random ass paint markings and feathers are seen as (by a lot of people) edgy, boho, unique, alternative
The list goes on and on.
Not to mention the overt racism that also happened when Psy, an actual Asian- get’s up on stage, que the racist ass chanting.
So basically the lesson is that it’s okay for white people to take the pretty parts of other people’s culture, but it’s not okay for people of that culture to do them. Because everyone knows that white people just do everything better.
If you ever wondered why African Americans are portrayed so negatively in almost all media sources, please look no further than this.
By F. Jones
Many African Americans now holds the opinion that in the face of greater gained opportunities that many within their race became their own worst enemies. It is not uncommon to hear these negative sentiments about their own race now echoed by many African Americans themselvesthey that consider themselves as being exceptions to this norm. This perception often engenders profound feelings of immense humiliation, racial self contempt, and disunity among many African Americans in the 21st-century. But are these self contemptuous views among so many African Americans correct?
And if so how have African Americans, the racial group that demonstrated an unprecedented degree of Black racial pride and unity during the 1960’s civil rights movement now become living contradictions of their former selves? The common response, when presented with this daunting question is to take the position that the core problem lies with something to do with Black…
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Dear White Feminists: If You Know That You Should Say Something About Race, Then Say Something About It
Nothing is more frustrating than having someone leave a comment on my blog telling me how they know that “xyz issue is a problem, and that yeah, you’re right, more people should speak about it!” and then not say anything about it themselves.
Then say something.
If you understand the intersection of race and feminism, than why don’t you blog about it? Why don’t you speak up, speak out, and attempt to create change?
It only seems to reinforce the idea that racial feminist issues are “not your problem” or the idea that race does not belong in feminism.
Because it is a problem, and it does belong in feminism.
The reason many Black feminists (and other feminists of Color) decide to identify as Womanist instead is because they have a unique set of issues and problems that are rarely addressed in the mainstream feminist community. As long as white feminists continue applauding things that harm women of color, while then ignoring other issues that are important to address.
Get. It. Together.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t any white feminists that tackle both race and woman’s issues, but it is not a universal thing. It is less common to see a white feminist tackle issues pertaining to PoC than to do so.
If you really want to fight for equality for all women, then you need to address issues that apply to ALL women, not just white women.