Tag Archives: is it racist

When White People Should Say N–

Once and for all I want to settle the controversy of White people using the n-word.  There actually is a rule and it’s very, very simple:

Never.

NEVER.

Say it with me….white people should never say N*gga, n*gger, or any permutation of the word.

No, Bill, I mean you too:

This woman running for local office who called police about “N– outside drinking Hennessy?  Heeeeelllllllllllllllllllll no, no matter what Eddie Murphy said.

How about stars who act like they’re cool with Black people? Nope.

But, wait, what about if you’re a teacher and you’re just trying to teach the youth about the N word with your old ass ideas saying the word over and over until you get checked? That’s on you, teach.

What if you have really good intentions, and you’re woke as fuck and you care about black people like you really love them and deeply care about black empowerment and you are committed to supporting black people in the struggle for justice?  Like you dedicate your life to ending racism and you work hard every day to make the world more just and every once in a while in love and solidarity you want to refer to your black friends as my n–?

Trick question–if you’re really woke af, you know white people shouldn’t say the n-word.

So no matter what you’ve heard, no matter how extensive you think your hood pass is, no matter how noble your intentions or how great your cultural knowledge, if you are white the rule stands.

Never.

 

Pepsi’s Not Tone Deaf, They’re Assholes

Last week in the can opening heard round the world, Kendell Jenner solved racism in Pepsi’s crap ad posted below–please watch at your own discretion and preferably not while you are eating.

The ad takes the markers of recent civil resistance and boils it down to some musical hipster millennials that conveniently come in a one-of-each variety pack.  As you can imagine, the internet, led by the beacon of black twitter, lost its mind and Pepsi pulled the ad off the air within 24 hours.  A flurry of news coverage and talk show segments roundly condemned the ad as tone deaf, as brilliantly portrayed in this skit on SNL (below).  The week ends with a bunch of high fives as we congratulate ourselves on a moment of shared outrage across racial lines.  We can all agree here–tone deaf.

But you know your girl here has a different opinion.  I disagree that Pepsi was tone deaf. And SNL’s skewering of the ad? It seems to portray the ad’s producers as hapless creatives who didn’t listen to their black friends–of course, they couldn’t be expected to see the problem on their own, and of course, there was no ill intention.  That’s not a skewering, that’s an excuse.

Pepsi has a long history off co-opting outsider youth culture and dragging it into the mainstream, redefining it for the masses in the process.  More than mere celebrity endorsements, Pepsi’s slogan of Pepsi Generation, and later Generation Next specifically seeks to align itself with and define youth culture. Ads like those starring Brittany Spears or Michael Jackson intentionally seeks to mirror a more mainstream, palatable and- profitable–version of whatever that year’s young people like.

Whether it is the hippies of the 70’s, the magic of Michael Jackson in the 80’s or even the girl power of the Spice Girls in the 2000’s Pepsi’s brand is all about creating a reductionist version of youth culture to sell to sugar water to the masses. Decade after decade, Pepsi has traded on what young people think is cool, targeting products at various youth subcultures–like Mountain Dew for motor-bikers.

What’s more, Pepsi also has a long history of targeting black consumers.  In the 1940’s Pepsi even had a negro marketing department, according to this fascinating article about how soda is racist af.   So no, Pepsi is not tone deaf, they are crafty, capitalizing on the very cultures they misrepresent and have been for decades.

And that brings us back to this latest disaster of social-justice-y porn.  In the Kendall Jenner ad, Pepsi hits every corner of a very diverse youth demographic–every race, a good mash up of random instruments and dance steps, a Muslim woman–enamored of course with Kendell’s stunning display of white feminism–hipsters with and without beards, gentrifiers with and without signs, and activism decidedly without any ideology. Pepsi sucked the life, passion and meaning out of the very real revolution happening in this moment of time and turned it into a moving stock photography image.  But taking the depth, meaning, and messiness out of life to sell product isn’t going to stop with this one ad getting taken down.  Look around you.  Everywhere advertisers are cashing in on our deepest feelings and most fervent hopes.  As altruism, connection, activism, and awareness have become trending ways of being, advertisers are increasingly using these most meaningful qualities to sell shit.

This State Farm ad is touching and heartwarming, and like the Pepsi ad features a diverse cast of characters starring a white savior with the power to transform the life of the poor, downtrodden, and brown.  While this ad is moving and inspiring as opposed to Pepsi’s abomination, both ads seek to use your positive feelings towards creating a better world to sell you product.  Both ads ignore any structural analysis of what social movements are seeking to disrupt.  Both ads put the power of individual white people as the simple answer that can eradicate widespread social injustice. Pepsi’s ad went too far and was condemned, but the State Farm ad was embraced

Ads selling us back the very essence of who we are are everywhere. When ads with social themes are done poorly, it’s good to see that consumer pushback can force advertiser accountability.  When they are done carefully, they make us smile, feel nice–and buy more.  In order to have broad appeal, the complex and controversial edges of life are sanded off in favor of a lighter, happier look at our world–one where products can often solve the worst problems in 30-60 seconds. Staying woke means making sure that you don’t allow capitalism to sell you back your fight against capitalism and other unfair systems.  Now that Pepsi has your twitter fingers warmed up, stay on the look out for capitalists in activists’ clothing.

 

 

 

 

 

Blackface: Neva Eva Eva

If there’s one rule you can bet your lunch money on it’s that putting on blackface will get you flamed.  It may get you lots of hits–you’re sure to get attention, but it may not be the attention you crave.  Quick-someone send a link to smntks to Boglarka Balogh before she keeps helping African woman show off their beauty to the world! The Hungarian photographer, well travelled across the continent (of Africa) wanted to bring attention to the wide diversity and beauty of African women.  In order to show African’s finest she took a bunch of pictures of…herself.

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Yup, that’s right.  Despite having a bunch of pictures of beautiful African women, she chose instead to don blackface and mimic her photoed beauties. Slowly for those in the back–in order to show how beautiful African women are she took their style and showed picture of herself a-la-“enough about me! What about you? What do you think of me?”

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This is where appreciation becomes appropriation.  The women are beautiful–so just show their pictures!  To assume that their beauty is only accessible when filtered through the lens of a white body is racist.  While I do believe that she believes that she is showing their beauty, she is little more than a thief, knocking off their looks and turning the authentic inauthentic. Boglaka, I admire the intention–and a dope set of passport stamps–but check you ego at the  door and let the true beauty of Africa that you’ve captured shine!

Not to throw shade, but duck: In a head to head match up of the women she copied, I’m sorry but Balogh loses to every one.  She looks best as herself, but most def can’t best an African beauty at being, well, an
African beauty.  You be the judge: who takes the cake?  Weigh in in the comment below for most beautiful African.

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2016 Terror Attack!!

Someone forget to rest the chill button for 2016.  Just few days into the new year we have a terrorist attack right here in America, and what’s worse, there seems to be some sort of news blackout going on. What’s the haps?!

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is that….?

Here’s the scoop:

On Saturday afternoon about 300 Muslims gathered to protest government abuse.  After a peaceful march, a splinter group of jihadists–some known to police and the FBI for previous radical activities–broke off to head to a federal airport.  They occupied a local federal building-an empty airport terminal-and reports of 15-150 people with an unknown quantity of guns have said thy are now prepared to hold the airport hostage for “years.” One of the leaders involved told a reporter they are willing to “kill and be killed” in the name of Allah.

Wait, no that’s all wrong. There is no armed muslim extremist group holding federal land.  Besides, if there was, would Fox news be referring to them as Patriots? Hell no.

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hold on a sec.

On Saturday afternoon about 300 Black Lives matter protesters gathered to protest police brutality.  After a peaceful march, a splinter group of BLM leaders–some known to police and the FBI for previous standoff in Baltimore–broke off to head to a federal courthouse closed for the holidays.  They occupied a local federal building-the courthouse-and reports of 15-150 people with an unknown quantity of guns have said thy are now prepared to the courthouse  for “years.” One of the leaders involved  told a reporter they are willing to “kill and be killed.”

Oh, wait, totally wrong again.  Despite many, many protests in support of the movement for Black Lives, no part of the movement has staged an armed takeover.  No leader of the movement has advocated kill or be killed. Fox called them Anarchists.  I call them citizens acting within their constitutional right.

Here’s the real story:

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yeah, this ones real

On Saturday afternoon about 300 people gathered to protest government abuse.  After a peaceful march, a splinter group of militia leaders–some known to police and the FBI for a previous standoff on the Clive Bundy ranch–broke off to head to a federal wildlife preserve.  They occupied a local federal building on the preserve and reports of 15-150 people with an unknown quantity of guns have said thy are now prepared to occupy the preserve for “years.” One of the leaders involved, Ryan Bundy, told a reporter they are willing to “kill and be killed.” Despite the fact that an armed militant group has taken over federal property, listed demands, and is holding territory with weapons, no law enforcement has engaged with–or even driven out to monitor more closely the movements of the armed militants.

Yes, that story is correct.  Now check out story 1 and story 2:  can you imagine them ending with police falling back?  would this ever happen?

Despite the fact that armed jihadists have taken over federal property, listed demands, and are holding territory with weapons, no law enforcement has engaged with–or even driven out to monitor more closely the movements of the extremists.

Or this?

Despite the fact that  armed Black radicals have taken over federal property, listed demands, and are holding territory with weapons, no law enforcement has engaged with–or even driven out to monitor more closely the movements of the armed radicals.

Nope, never going to happen.  The language and framing of the Oregon standoff case shows again the huge disparity in not only how we talk about protest, violence and terrorism, but how we as a nation think about these things. It is not just the way one group is treated, but the differential in validation, blame and punishment between groups where modern racism is at its most visible.oregon-under-attack-armed-militia-takeover-government-building.jpg

Apologists for the Oregon armed invaders are already lining up to minimize, deflect and defend. They are quick to point out that there is no looting. No looting?  Don forget the deamnds.  These “protesters” are demanding the federal government give them  federal land–how’s that for looting?

Stay tuned.