Macklemore’s useless apology: Grammys and the myth of meritocracy →
#The 2014 Grammys
Though I don’t entirely agree with Professor Cooper’s reading that Macklemore and Lorde’s lyrics are a specific critique to hip hop culture and not hegemony at large, her point that the folks who vote for the Grammys (and I’d add the Oscars particularly as well) cannot see the trees for the forest: where white privilege, which allows white artists to access Black cultural aesthetics with startling commercial success, gets read as progress and gets hailed for it.
This kind of liberal conceit often rewards the message, or the messenger, who has—as many will insist—enlightened the mainstream. Aesthetics take a backseat. (The Oscar example is the film Crash). Thus in terms of aesthetics, was Macklemore more Grammy Award-winning worthy than Kendrick Lamar? I don’t have the answer for you (though Macklemore himself seems to believe Lamar is more worthy), but like our other institutions—social, cultural, legal, etc.—we cannot continue to gaze past the helping hand of white privilege and the rewards they reap.
Stupid me. And Here I Thought Racism Was Just Racism.
In all honesty, I am thanking Lindy West for her Complete Guide to ‘Hipster Racism.’ If there were ever a more idiotic way to brand racism (as if racism needed more cultural/commercial penetration in our society), someone thought up “hipster racism” because, what, (white) hipsters need their subtle racism to have a name for itself? [West snarkily writes: “There’s been a lot of talk these last couple of weeks about “hipster racism” or “ironic racism”—or, as I like to call it, racism.”] Though West’s thrashing of “hipster racism” rests primarily on the assumption that hipsters means white hipsters, clearly there is room to here to indict hipsters of color who, for example, embrace tokenism, do nothing to challenge institutionalized racism.
But West does forget one entirely virulent sort of racism that thankfully, one commenter points out:
"[Minority Culture] is racist for not letting White People participate!"
What this statement goes after is the idea of “racial entitlement,” and is not—as racists would like you to think—“reverse racism.” Why this is not reverse racism are the same reasons why affirmative action isn’t racial entitlement. And those reasons are institutionalized racism and existing white privilege, which already affords white folks more access, more opportunities, more sources, etc. that all but ensures a substantive leg up in living in our society. This advantage—power, if you will—that demands access to “minority” cultural spaces/practices is another tactic of white supremacy.
"Being a white, feminist ally is not about being recognized for one’s good work, being congratulated or receiving an honorarium. It’s about saying what needs to be said without any expectation of recognition, simply because it is the right thing to do. It is the right thing to stand up for voices missing in the room, the same voices that are easily ignored when they are present. The white allies I trust the most are the ones I know are talking about race not only for the benefit of the people of color in the room but for the benefit of their white peers."
#people of color
The story that needed to be told about the victims of the 2004 Tsunami in South Asia:
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WHITE PEOPLE????
The story of a vacation cut tragically short.
One family thought they were just going on an exotic vacation. They were wrong.
Homeward Bound IV
Escape from Sri Lanka
Well nothing is more “universally touching” than a disaster narrative as told through white privilege.
Yes, Travyon’s Death Is an LGBT Issue. No, LGBT Politics Aren’t Limited by White Privilege →
Akiba Solomon’s op-ed at COLORLINES.COM is an important call out on the political myopia of those in the gay rights movement. In particular, Solomon takes down Washington Blade editor and co-owner Kevin Naff for his recent opinion piece, “All aboard the Trayvon bandwagon,” where he is all too self-righteously privileges LGBT struggles over racial injustice, as though both things never intersect. Naff concludes:
But portraying Martin as a hate crime martyr is premature and irresponsible. We don’t know the facts and in the weeks since the Martin shooting, LGBT people have been attacked, shot and killed in the U.S. without a press release or peep of protest.
Only through his own racial privilege could he hierarchize sexuality over race as though LGBTIQ people of color don’t experience discrimination because of both things often at the same time.
Naff, of course, is just a mouthpiece to elements in the gay rights movement who clearly do not see the broader vision of social justice: that even when LGBTIQ attain the same “rights & privileges” as our heterosexual/gender-confirming counter-parts, the fight isn’t over because racial injustice remains in the lives of LGBTIQ people as well.
Trayvon Martin, White Denial and the Unacceptable Burden of Blackness in America →
Essayist Tim Wise’s analysis on Trayvon Martin’s murder and the working of white denial is spectacular. Thanks Manny G. for the lead. Below are two great quotes; The first on empathy, which is underlines the progressive perspective of politics and society:
Empathy — real empathy, not the situational and utterly phony kind that most any of us can muster when social convention calls for it — requires that one be able to place oneself in the shoes of another, and to consider the world as they must consider it. It requires that we be able to suspend our own culturally-ingrained disbelief long enough to explore the possibility that perhaps the world doesn’t work as we would have it, but rather as others have long insisted it did.
And below, a reminder of how racial privilege contours political postures.
Yesterday, I received an e-mail from someone suggesting that perhaps we should begin to sport buttons like those that became so ubiquitous in the case of Troy Davis last year. You know the buttons, right? The ones that said: “I am Troy Davis.” The ones that aimed at solidarity with an unjustly executed man, but which, on the lapels and t-shirts of white people seemed, to me at least, more banal and offensive than anything else, since we were not, in fact (and would not likely ever be) in the position of Troy Davis.