Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Best Black Women are White

From Feminist Philosophers: Another interesting portrayal of race from over the pond. The Independent (UK) did a special issue on Africa recently. Its cover? A black woman. Nothing untoward about that. Except that the black woman is supermodel Kate Moss. In blackface.

Read Hanna Pool's discussion from the above link, but here is a really good excerpt (and something that directly relates to my previous discussion about the Dutch Sony ads):

"Why has it become OK for people to black up? "People feel free to play with this stuff because they are operating in an environment where the criticisim of being politcally correct allows you to do what you want," says academic Paul Gilroy. "The threat of being labelled politically correct creates an environment where we are scared to voice our objections." Given the context, the Kate Moss picture is "empty nihilism," he says.

Blacking up has become acceptable in the same way that pole dancing is now sold to women as an empowering thing to do. Both assume that the thing they are poking fun at no longer exists - ie discrimination, racism and sexism. But of course they are wrong. If blacking up existed in a society where racism was not an issue, then it would not be such a problem. But then it would also lose its power to shock. After all, what is so shocking about a white person being made to look black if black and white are equal?"

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At 4:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello there,

I just found your blog by accident and thought I'd leave a comment about this post. I didn't even know about this cover.

As a black woman, I find it highly offensive for publications that DO NOT have blacks on the cover to take a white model and "color" her black. It's insulting.

Just for the record, I didn't think it was funny when the Wayans brothers put on white make-up and played 'white chicks'. The film received support from younger white audiences, however. Just because there are box office sales doesn't mean the film is in good taste.

Thanks for pointing out how white supremacist constructs perpetuate the acceptance of these degrading practices - even in print.



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