19 Jul 2016

lotesse: (freedom)
In the last two days, the white-woman-in-peril racial melodrama of the Taylor Swift/Kanye West beef has re-ignited thanks to Kimmy K, and Melania Trump gave Michelle Obama's 2008 convention speech. The timing is coincidental but nevertheless illuminating. I've seen both events dismissed in similar ways, as (pardon the pun) trumped-up scandals, low gossip that distracts from important current discussions.

This is bull. These are the important things: who makes culture, and who is acknowledged for it. Melania and Taylor are conventionally-attractive white women who have made a bargain with white supremacy to be cool (stealing from Black culture) without being too, you know, ghetto. But they use Black culture on their way up, maintaining plausible deniability by "leaning in" to superficial narratives of female empowerment. They are protected by their ability to present white female success; tearing them down "looks bad," is "trashy" and "low."

White supremacy relies on the lie that it has never needed the global south, while it plunders the global south for resources, workers, ideas, and culture. Look at the delusional state of affairs in Little Britain - as if one rainy island on its own could have produced Anglophone culture, without being enriched by colonies from around the world! Michelle Obama is a descendant of Black slaves whose lives were stolen; her words, now, it's her story, her triumph. Hear them saying that her words don't matter, that they're just a string of conventional platitudes that anyone might articulate, as if she was not every bit as much a powerhouse speaker as her husband? The true value of her speech is obvious; if it hadn't been good, they wouldn't have plagiarized and applauded it. But by talking it down after the fact they seek to hide the theft, as if it ain't no thing, just pop culture, just gossip, candidates-wife stuff.

daughter of the sea, oregano's first cousin

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