Black Women

The Civil Tube: Blake Lively’s L.A. Ignorance

I know it’s not Friday, but whatever. Recently Blake Lively thought it’d be funny to go on instagram and post photos of herself with the caption “L.A. face with an Oakland booty”. Because white women are beautiful and glamorous and live in Los Angeles while black women are ghetto and have big butts and live in Oakland.

The more I think about this, the angrier I get.

I’m tired of living in a world where people stumble into racist, anti-Black sentiments that blatantly set up whiteness to mean ‘beautiful’ while blackness is reduced to exotic and oversexualized body parts.

But Lively’s comments up the ante even further, not only claiming beauty for whites while dismembering black bodies but also giving it a geography. Somebody needs to let the 3.8 million black people in LA know that they’re living in a city synonymous with white beauty. Don’t they know their place is in Oakland?

There’s so much more to say on this… but for right now I’ll leave you with Franchesca Ramsey and crew to talk about the pernicious evil of white beauty standards.

What the Hell was Anthony Michael D’Agostino’s “‘Bye Sierra”?!

by contributing writer Quinlan Mitchell

Let’s get real. For just a minute, let’s get really real. Anthony Michael D’Agostino’s oh-so-lauded article in the HuffPost, for all its fanfare and academic jargon, is essentially a new dress for old and tired rhetoric. I repeat: it’s not new. So everyone stop spilling tea all over the place, and let’s unpack the issue.

To the article’s credit, it does an adequate job of picking apart Sierra Mannie’s highly controversial Time Magazine opinion piece, “Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture”. D’Agostino skillfully takes issues which are compressed in Mannie’s piece and unfolds them in all their complexity within his own.

But that’s where the credit ends, unfortunately.

Anthony Michael D’Agostino’s response to Sierra Mannie’s article is often completely delusional. And it is truly ignorant of how the underlying power relationships that define how this country function, even at its best.

Mannie’s article in Time Magazine represented a first, and earnest stab at dismantling some of the extreme patriarchy and racism that pervades gay culture. When she tells white gays to stop stealing from black women, she’s touching on a long tradition of appropriation and mockery that hurts black women deeply, and allows white gays, even as minorities, to exert control over another minority group for community gain.

Which, coincidentally, is exactly what D’Agostino does (and ignores that he’s doing) in his response essay. (more…)

Cultural Appropriation Isn’t a Compliment

I recently wrote a piece about my experiences with gay white men when my girlfriend and I go out to gay bars or clubs. While often they are very friendly and we have a great time, there are too many instances where white gays will overstep boundaries by asking personal questions, touching my body or hair, or simply doing a little bit too much “yaaaaaas girl” for me to feel comfortable with them.

So, when Mike sent me an article called Dear Black Women: White Gays Are Your Allies, So Don’t Push Us Away by Steve Freiss, I have to admit that the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. The piece is a reaction to Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture in which Sierra Mannie criticizes the appropriation of black women’s speech and mannerisms by gay white men, some of whom go as far as to refer to themselves as strong black women.

Steve’s piece interpreted Mannie’s criticism as being a “full-on attack” on the black woman-gay white male alliance. I don’t see it that way. For one thing, she is not criticizing white male- black female friendships. She is criticizing cultural appropriation. And for another, what is this alliance that he is referring to, anyway? (more…)