Oh My G, did you see Miley Cirus at the VMAs? I mean dancing around with sad teddy bears, sticking her tongue out, twerking? What does she think she’s black?!
So yea, I wasn’t super excited about her performance either. It was pretty silly, not super classy. Not sure what she’s doing up there, but I am okay with not liking it, I mean I hate her music so what difference does it make to me?
What is getting under my skin is the academic nonsense I keep seeing on Facebook. I read this article along with the comments fb activists are posting, and am like, really?
First of all, is she really “acting black” by twerking in a unicorn suit, or jumping around stage with sad teddy bears? And why can’t she have black people on stage with her without using them as props or for “street cred”? Her taking aspects of Hip Hop like twerking or a grill doesn’t offend me. I’m not sure you gotta be black to do those things.
Which brings me to.. Second of all, Miley is a young artist coming into her own, and although she may kinda suck, why isn’t she allowed to pull aspects from Hip Hop music? No one owns hip hop, that’s what’s so great about it. The culture that comes out of it is ours, all of ours, well no not all of ours, I don’t think it belongs to the capitalists or the white supremacists but the rest of us. I don’t get the sense that she is being a hipster, and those aren’t even the critiques of her. The critiques are:
“blackness is not a piece of jewelry you can slip on when you want a confidence booster or a cool look. And playing at being poor — while earning a profit by doing so — is just distasteful…(as is) the role you play in the appropriation of someone else’s exploitation.”
So by twerking is she really doing all that? I mean damn the woman is one 20 year old white girl. Are we now calling her responsible for the exploitation of black people, is MC white supremacy?
And here I get to my point on identity politics. None of these folks have put up a positive critique of MC. Instead she is responsible for some of the most racist acts by twerking and having black backup dancers.
Instead, why don’t we place MC in society and not isolated her from it. She is one individual person, an artist on top of that. Maybe she is mimicking hip hop culture because she is inspired by it, and? But MC is not white supremacy. White supremacy is a sum total of social relationships. It is the history that has lead us to today, it is the ever changing and ever expanding social division along lines of race where certain kinds of workers (race) get access to certain benefits due to their race, and this keeps them from uniting, and it keeps the cost of labor down (and free at times) for those who make money off of our exploited labor. If we want to attack it, we don’t do it by smashing on performers who “act black”, we do it by organizing. MC is not in a position to exploit black people’s labor. She is claiming some of the legacy of black music that has come before her, but she is not doing it to oppress or exploit black people the way capitalists do.
Which brings me to my final point: identity politics are academic. Academics would leave us in the realm of ideas not action, i.e. identity – MC is a white girl, stop acting black. End of story. And as we continue down the path of identity politics, no one is dark enough, no one is poor enough, no one is oppressed enough to do anything about anything.
So I ask you, what do you really want from MC? Do you want her to kill herself? Would that be better for the world, would white supremacy no longer exist if we just killed off all the MC’s? Or would you rather her stop performing in this way and stick to “white culture”, whatever that means? Am I not allowed to twerk or dress hip hop because I am chicana? And whose permission do I need to get before I do?
Identity politics leaves everyone helpless and uplifts no one. It makes some people feel righteous in smashing on individuals instead of organizing. You don’t want to live in a world where white supremacy exists? Then get off ya high horse and do something about it.