racism

Why Katy Perry’s AMA “Performance” is Racist

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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.

Exactly.

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.

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Propaganda About Muslim Women: How Does it Fit into White Oppression?

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If you live in America, then no doubt you are aware of the “politics” surrounding what Muslim women choose to wear on their bodies. I wanted to write this blog post about it, because it is actually very important.

Usually in topics such as these, whether it’s white people speaking about sexism in the black community or what Muslim women choose to put on their bodies- notice how there is always a need to make it appear as if somehow these cultures are any more sexist than their own.

They will always try to make it seem as if their culture is somehow the pinnacle of appropriate behavior, overlooking their own flaws and instead choosing to focus on those in PoC communities, because those flaws they find only serve to feed how great white culture is as compared to those of PoC.

Also is a need to “save” brown women from brown men, (or other PoC). Here we also see how many white people view MoC (Men of Color) as beastly, uncouth, and uneducated. The idea that WoC would be “better off” if they simply emerge themselves in white culture or just stay away from men of their own race is also present- as if somehow things are always better if they are white.

The very fact is that white people are offended that you will not shed your own beliefs and culture and be more like other Americans. (White) This is also coupled with the propaganda the U.S. is using in order to fuel it’s interference with the Middle East, under the guise of fighting terrorism. The U.S. has a history of painting other races and cultures as barbaric, lazy, uncivilized masses in order to fuel it’s political agenda- today is no different, albeit in a much more subtle form. 

Hatred, misunderstanding, and down right LIES about what is and what it means to be a Muslim only serve to rile white America up into outrage, building anti-Islam into a smear campaign against Middle-Eastern Americans.

The idea of a white Nun being the epicenter of purity and devotion but a fully covered Muslim women being oppressed is no coincidence.

Because the idea that women’s bodies- especially those exotic, foreign brown women- are covered from white male eyes is literally throwing white America into a tizzy. Because in American culture, women’s bodies only exist for the gratification of white men, to serve as their own sexual fantasies and conquests.

The idea of a Muslim women- or any other women- is refusing to please the white male gaze is like an unmentionable crime.

Also present is the confusion that sexual freedom somehow equals power, because if  you please white males and entertain their white male privilege, everything ill be a-okay. Just don’t mention their privilege. Or your culture, other than those “exotic” adornments. Or expect him to take your customs seriously. Or honor your family.

THE LIES TOLD TO BLACK PEOPLE TO MAINTAIN WHITE DOMINANCE

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If you ever wondered why African Americans are portrayed so negatively in almost all media sources, please look no further than this.

African Press International (API)

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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PSA: Please Stop Romanticizing the Romani People and Using the Slur G*psy

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Over and over again in the Pagan community I see people who constantly romanticize the Romani people. Despite multiple discussions on the subject and information provided by Romani themselves people continue to romanticise them, stereotyping them and refusing to understand the struggles and discrimination they underwent.

It’s extremely rude, inconsiderate, and oppressive.

I am sick and tired of the excuses of Pagans make as to why they continue to use the word “G*psy”- “Oh, some G*psies don’t care if I use it”, “I’m actually part Romani, you know” “It’s not a slur”- all excuses. There are Native Americans who may use the word “Indian” to refer to themselves, but that does not mean that, because some don’t mind it, that others don’t. I don’t care what the shows on television are called, how many books use the title, and how many other dozens of pagan books use the slur. I do not care how the word is spoken, I do not care in what reference it is used- it is a FUCKING SLUR, often combined with ROMANTICIZATION .

The fact that the Romani have been DISCRIMINATED AGAINST, SYSTEMATICALLY MURDERED, should be REASON ENOUGH to stop these stupid stereotypes of them being some type of card-reading, crystal gazing beings- not to mention that they’re are homogenized, much like Asians.

Stop. Using. Slurs.

Here is a Tumblr blog that describes exactly what is mentioned above: http://thisisnotromani.tumblr.com/

Public Service Announcement over.

Dear White Feminists: If You Know That You Should Say Something About Race, Then Say Something About It

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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.

#OpenSeasonOnBlackGirls- What I Have to Say About It

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This is sad. This is very sad.

For all of those who will say that racism is a “thing of the past”, state that “I’m just being sensitive”, that you “don’t see race”-

This is for you.

Let this “OpenSeasononBlackGirls be an example to you, an example of just how my blackness, my gender, is still seen by a joke by people.

So tell me- if this is the 21st century and racism is behind us- why is it that in order for another race to prosper and feel good about themselves, another one must be torn down, deminished, and dehumanized?

This is not just a string of black girl stereotypes- these are people degrading women’s black woman’s  bodies, comparing them to animals,to furniture and to food- for what?

Because being black is a joke to some people.

This outlines the main reason Black Girls Rock is needed in the first place. This illustrates why safe places for minorities are needed in the first place.

This is why feminism is needed in the first place.

Oh, wait.

Where are those feminists?

Because apparently when race and feminism meet, I’ve found that many white feminists go silent. Why? Why has the feminist community gone silent, when under other circumstances they are quick to comment, quick to protest, quick to demand change.

Because apparently, this is a black issue, and has nothing to do with them.

Despite the fact that we continue to fight and comment about how society continues to comment, grade, and shape the perception of the female body, it has nothing to do with them.

Because apparently, despite the long history of black women’s bodies being used as a joke to humor others, it has nothing to do with them.

Because apparently, despite stripping a group of human beings of their human status and turning them into nothing more than a joke at their own expense- has nothing to do with them.

Because, instead of continuing to fight for the freedom and equality of all women, what you are really saying is that youa re fighting for freedom and equality for yourselves.

And to the rest of you in the ‘racism doesn’t exist crowd”, I have something to say to you:

This is what I am fighting against. Yes I am angry, yes I am black, and yes, I am a woman. I am tired of watching my race be swallowed up by hatred, racism, and sexism. I am tired of a community of people being pitted against them selves- black women against black women, black men against black men- because of the mandates and expectations placed on them by a society that would rather see us fall than to see us rise.

I am tired of my experiences being cast aside, thrown away, and misinterpreted, because someone felt “guilty” or “attacked” whenever I speak about racism in America. I will not be silent, and if screaming is the only way I will be heard, then so be it.

Because apparently talking isn’t going to do it anymore.

I will not “calm down”, “learn to take a joke”, “stop being so sensitive”, and “stop bringing up the past”. I WILL hold my head high, wear my curly hair with pride, love my beautiful brown skin, and continue to shatter each pervasive stereotype as I continue to fight for equality in ALL forms. Let this be a reminder to you on how society and those within it view black women- and let this be a reminder to you that self hatred in the black community is also as prevalent.

 

Done.

 

 

Don’t Hold Back- Say It!

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I’m sure many of you reading this have thought about it. Someone says something racist, sexist, or prejudice- and there’s that moment where you’re not sure if you should point it out.

Point it out.

Flipping through YouTube, I find racist comments everywhere. As soon as I hit the ‘reply’ button, I hesitate. Should I really start a conversation here? What will people say in response?

I no longer care. What can they call me?

Bitch? Whore? Slut?Nigger?

They’re all futile insults, meant to stifle you, you’re voice. They want you to sit down, shut up, and know you’re imaginary place.

I won’t.

For most of my early life, I allowed myself to be bullied into silence.

I won’t let it happen again.

So the next time you stop by, say, YouTube comments that some off as racist or sexist (or both!) Stop! You don;t have to engage in a super long, two week argument- simply stop and say:

That’t not right: many painful stereotypes exist about women that continue to be detrimental to their well being. Then maybe provide examples or something.

I don’t mean to say that words cannot harm people- because I know they can. In your mind, just imagine your voice teamed with many other people’s. Imagine what a difference that would make.