Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More Blackface from the Fashion Industry

Okay, can we stop pretending that Blackface happens accidentally and does not have a nefarious intent?  A little honesty about blatant racism, just might be refreshing for a change.  In yet another example of how the fashion industry has embraced Blackface as cutting edge, Illamasqua, a UK-based beauty brand introduced its holiday ad campaign on Facebook featuring a white model painted in blackface along with the caption: “Not dreaming of a white Christmas.”

For your viewing pleasure:

That's really edgy isn't it?  Can you hear the sound of hipsters jumping up and down with glee, about   how ironic the above image is? Clearly, it must have a really deep meaning because the caption reads "not dreaming of a white Christmas," even as the image itself is clearly racist.

The following is the explanation by Illamasqua:
We thank and acknowledge your comments regarding the above image. Obviously it was never our intention to cause offence; Illamasqua has always celebrated the right to self-expression and we continually push creative and artistic boundaries, priding ourselves on working with models of many ethnic backgrounds to reinforce this point. Alex Box, Illamasqua’s Creative Director, has emphasised that this campaign is about colour ON the skin, not colour OF the skin, depicting polarity between the two images (both images are the same model) not race.

The Cheapness of Black Life

'Guns and Coffee' photo (c) 2011, John Fischer - license:

As the mother of two Black sons, I would be lying if I told you that there aren't nights when I lie awake worried about their future.  I know that this is something all loving parents experience, but how many White parents of White children worry that their child will be perceived of as a threat and summarily shot? The only thing that eases my worries is the fact that we are Canadian and have much stricter gun control laws. The following story really struck a chord with me.
Michael David Dunn, 45, and his girlfriend were in Jacksonville Friday for Dunn's son's wedding when they stopped at a convenience store, Jacksonville sheriff's Lt. Rob Schoonover said.

Jordan Russell Davis, 17, and several other teenagers were sitting in a sport utility vehicle in the parking lot when Dunn pulled up next to them in a car and asked them to turn down their music, Schoonover said.

Jordan and Dunn exchanged words, and Dunn pulled a gun and shot eight or nine times, striking Jordan twice, Schoonover said. Jordan was sitting in the back seat. No one else was hurt.

Dunn's attorney Monday said her client acted responsibly and in self-defense. She did not elaborate.  (source)
Tell me again that all people are equal.  This confrontation started over loud music and it ended in the death of a 17 year old boy.  Of course Dunn felt threatened, he was after all in a confrontation with Black male youths and the message has been sent repeatedly that not only is Black life cheap, but that Black males are always violent and a threat to Whiteness.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Marginalized People Will Never be Perfect

This is a guest post from Sparky, of Spark in Darkness.  Many of you are  familiar with him from Livejournal, as well as from his insightful and often hilarious commentary here. Each Tuesday, Womanist Musings will be featuring a post from Sparky.     

One of the fallouts I’ve seen from the wretched Elmo scandal is people saying “this hurts gay rights.”


No, no, no, no, no, HELL NO.

Yet, again, NO.

What hurts GBLT rights is collective responsibility. This idea that when one of us does something it somehow says something about the rest of us - that hurts our rights. The idea that we should all be ashamed or guilty when someone who happens to be GBLT is an arsehole or an abuser or a criminal hurts our rights. The idea that we somehow have a duty to speak and respond when a GBLT person is a bastard hurts our rights.

I understand the reaction. Gods know I roll my eyes every time a GBLT person does anything wrong because I know it’s only a matter of time before someone opens their mouth and throws shit at the rest of us because of it. And not just the hate groups –  not even close – I’ve lost count of the number of “liberal”  spaces which have decided to have a “dear GBLT community…” post because of something a GBLT person has said or done. In this most recent example we’ve already seen a round of “look what sex-predators gay men are! We need to talk about those predatory gay men!” We all know that at any moment we can and will be made scapegoats for the crimes or offences of any in our community.

So I get the cringe, I get the “aaargh, this is going to hurt all of us” reaction after you know a fellow traveller has shown their scabby arse to the world. But it’s not helping or helpful for our rights, our quest for equality or our battle for justice or our battle to be seen as human beings.