From Lorde to Macklemore, it’s a sentiment that’s galling for its popularity: white artists need to stop using the wealth signifiers of rap music to gesture at their self-important “anti-consumerism.” What Allen misses as she washes rims in a kitchen decorated only with bottles of champagne is that it’s not anti-consumerism when it only targets one type of consumer.
Rap owns a unique history soundtracking the triumph of financial success in a country that long barred black Americans from that success. It shouldn’t be an opportunity for white artists to wax superior. Beyond poor taste, it’s the myopia of latent racism that’s more anxious about gold chains on a rapper than an Armani tie on a hedge fund analyst.
Similarly, Lily Allen’s response to sexist industry demands for thinness becomes entirely ineffectual when it lashes out against women who succeed despite those demands. Allen is not savily critiquing the world of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Miley Cyrus, she’s resentfully bemoaning not getting to enjoy the same success.
“Hard Out Here” is the opposite of Mileywave. Instead of using black women as props to further her career, Allen blames them for its stagnation. In full-sleeved dresses Allen mocks her inability to twerk amidst women of color in body suits who launch into exaggerated dance moves, licking their hands and then rubbing their crotch. Her older white male manager tries to get to her to mimic them. Meanwhile she sings, “Don’t need to shake my ass for you/‘Cause I’ve got a brain.” Cut to black women shaking their ass, so much for sisterly solidarity."
Anti-Black messages are so persuasive in American society that a third of Black Americans hold an anti-Black bias as well.
We have shifted from a biological racism to cultural racism. Sixty years ago most people in American believed that Blacks were biologically inferior, made-by-God inferior. Today there is a cultural racism that says Black parents are not giving their children the right values, and it’s often offered as a reason for why Blacks are not doing well as other groups. It associates “Black” with a range of negative assumptions that are so deeply embedded in American culture that people who hold them are not bad people. They’re just ‘good Americans,’ because it’s what American society has taught them. Researchers put together a database of what the average college-age American would read in their entire lifetime, a database of 10 million words from books, newspapers, magazine articles, various documents. They found that when the word “Black” occurs, what tends to co-occur is not only ‘poor’ and ‘violent’ and ‘religious’ but also ‘lazy’ and ‘cheerful’ and ‘dangerous.’ Being violent, lazy and dangerous, other research shows, are widely held stereotypes about Blacks. All racial ethnic minority groups are stereotyped more negatively than Whites, with Blacks viewed the worst, followed by Latinos who were viewed twice as negatively as Asians. Southern Whites are viewed more negatively than Whites in general. There is a hierarchy.
“This is quite often a person who has sympathy for the bad things that have happened in the past, but that person is still an American who has been fed stereotypes of Blacks that are so ingrained in the culture. So despite holding no explicit racial prejudices, they nonetheless hold implicit bias deep in their subconscious. So when they meet an African American, although consciously they are not prejudiced, the implicit biases operate in the background to shape their behavior, leading them to treat that person differently. This behavior is activated more quickly and effortlessly than saying ‘I’ve decided to discriminate against this person.’ This is the frightening point: Because it’s an automatic and unconscious process, people who engage in this unthinking discrimination are not aware of the fact that they do it. They are not lying to you when they say, ‘I didn’t treat this person differently, and I treat everyone the same.’ The research suggests that 70 to 80 percent of Whites fall into this category.
If you ask people if they hold explicit racial biases, just over 10 percent of the public are willing to say ‘Yes, I am prejudiced.’ But the people who are really set up to perpetuate discrimination are the people who would say, ‘That’s not me; I would never discriminate against a Black person, because that’s not the way my mother raised me.’ The people who say, ‘I would never do it’ are the ones perfectly set up to do it.
Across every sector if society, you get this pattern of systemic discrimination. When you take two African-American males and two White males, dress them similarly, judge them of equal attractiveness and send them to apply for jobs, carrying identical resumes, a White male with a known criminal record is more likely to get a callback than an African-American male whose record is clean. Devah Pager at Princeton University, who conducted these studies, says this even understates the degree of discrimination that exists because African Americans who are called back for a job are often offered a job inferior to the one they applied for. They are channeled downward. They might get told, ‘The job you applied for is not available, but we have another one that we can give you.’ Whites were found to be channeled up. ‘You applied for X job and we have a better job for you.’
Similar studies in getting the best price for a car or renting an apartment found Blacks again at a disadvantage. No other racial population has been as residentially segregated as African Americans. Your access to virtually every desirable resource, from schools to supermarkets to medical care, is linked to where you live. In fact, many health researchers are now saying that your ZIP code is a stronger predictor of your health that your genetic code.
Across every therapeutic intervention, ranging from the most simple procedure—a patient comes into the emergency room with a mild stroke, does that patient get aspirin or not?—to very sophisticated diagnostic procedures, African Americans and other minorities receive fewer procedures and poorer quality care than Whites.
I have shared this research at medical schools, and the initial reaction is, ‘I can’t believe it.’ I have to remind them that this is published, peer-reviewed scientific data.
The tragedy is that at every level of income and education, there is a racial gap in health. So if you look at poor African Americans and poor Whites, poor African Americans are doing worse.
The Black middle class does not enjoy as good health as the White middle class.
Whites now perceive that they face more blocked opportunity and discrimination than Black people. Any infringement—any reduction of the benefits that their group has historically receive—send them into a siege mentality, the belief that they are under attack because things are going to be shared more fairly than in the past. You saw this siege mentality when president Obama ran for office. You see it in the deadlocked Congress. You see it in the rhetoric of the Tea Party: ‘We have to take back our country; we are losing control.’ There is this sense of threat and fear of how much things have changed, and people are lashing out and trying to go back in time. But what Whites have failed to realize is that they have been the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action, because White women have been the prime beneficiaries and those earnings have gone back into White households. It is so shocking when you say that because that is not the public discourse around affirmative action. The differential in pay between White men and White women is smaller than gaps between Blacks and Whites."
quixoticgood asked: Hey Kelly Sue! Currently engaged in a fantasy-genre collaborative project and dealing with the old 'women aren't strong enough for combat' debate. My first line of argument is that if you're willing to buy giant flying magic lizards there's no excuse for saying women can't fight because realism. But was also wondering if you had any historical or other resources to consult in my efforts. And also, I guess I'm reconsidering the wisdom of this collaboration after typing this question.
Forget our stature—it’s our tits! When they don’t hurt, they’re just so fucking hot. We have this biological need to lay down and knead them like a cat making biscuits every once in a while. That need strikes in the middle of battle? Shit gets ugly, man.
Also? PERIODS. Little known fact: before Midol, for one week a month housework had to do itself!
We have cycles, dude. Deeply, deeply disturbing cycles. That’s why only post-menopausal women should hold office. Bitches can’t have their finger near the button during That Time of the Month, amirite?
Also: we’re werewolves.
Collaboration is great. Trick is, you want to choose collaborators who are at least as bright as the lamp that sits next to you. I’d be willing to bet that the dudes you’re collaborating with are married to what they’re utterly and completely certain is “common sense.” Know this: there’s an unbelievable amount of bullshit that masquerades as “common sense.”
Not only does this particular bullshit conviction indicate that your collaborators are not terribly clever, but—worse, for your purposes—they’re not terribly imaginative.
Who’s the scariest bouncer at the club? Is it the big guy? No. You know exactly how the big guy got the job. The scariest bouncer is the little tiny guy. How the fuck did that little dude get the gig that may—at any moment—mean he’s going to have to drag a belligerent drunk out onto the street?
The big bouncer? He was born with a natural intimidation factor. He may or may not have ever actually been in a fight.
The little bouncer? He was born with guts and cunning and he fights dirty. I guarantee you he’s the scariest fucker in the room.
My own personal experience with notion —
I had a bad time at a club when I was a young woman — a drunk pinned me against a wall and tried to get his hands in my pants. I had a cigarette in my hand [Yes, I smoked — I was young and stupid and apparently thought it would make me more attractive to smell like shit] and I held that cigarette out of that guy’s face with my stronger right arm while I tried to push him off with my weaker left.
I should have put it out on his cheek.
I have been conditioned since I was wee that it’s more important to be pleasant than safe, and more important to be safe than equal. So really? I shouldn’t have been in that club at all. What did I expect, putting myself in that space? My bad.
The guy was suuuuuper drunk and I basically ducked under him and got away, but the experience fucked me up nonetheless. I eventually ended up taking a full combat self-defense course that I LOVED and could go on and on about but this is already too long.
Here’s what I learned that I want you to know:
I am five feet tall. As a lever, I’m not terribly functional. Also: if we arm wrestle, you’re probably going to win.
If I drop to the floor and fight you with my legs? I can defend myself. Even my wee legs are longer and more powerful than your arms. You have been taught to fight with your upper body. Unless you’re a trained fighter, that’s how you think, that’s how you move.
Did you just grab my leg? I’ll flip over and kick you with the other. Wait, now you have both legs? Oh no! What will I do?? Let’s see… hang on! You need both arms to hold both my legs. Know that that means? I can sit up and jab my fucking fingernails in your eyes.
When you let go of my legs to get my hands out of your bleeding eye sockets, I can kick you in the balls until your grandpa’s grandpa pukes in his grave. (My tender bits are on the inside, where they belong.)
Then, if I have to — if, say, help and safety is more than a couple blocks away and I don’t think I can outrun you — while you’re down I can position myself near your head and bring the heel of my boot down on your nose hard enough to break it. And I can keep doing that, if I have to, until I collapse your fucking skull.
Women can fight, dude. We’re only guaranteed to lose if we hold ourselves back and try to fight like men.
Or if we wear a chain mail bikini. That shit chafes.
This is beautiful! The links are well worth the read! Adding to the reasons se and her husband are two of my favorite people in the comic books industry!
let’s talk about housecats and how fucking weird they are evolutionarily/anthropologically
like who thought it was a good idea to have tiny malicious predators in our homes anyways????? (not us actually)
are they even domesticated????!!!?? (yes) do they even feel LOVE???????!!? (yes)
LET’S LEARN ABOUT CATS
“you ready 2 learn punk”
this post owns i love animal behavioral science i love domestication science i love it
We’ve talked about the friendzone, criticised it within an inch of its insufferable existence, and I didn’t think I had anything to add to the brilliant comments people were already making. Now though, I may have a tiny little thing to say after reading this post, where the author at the end addresses queerness in relation to the friendzone.