Tom Dent Literary Festival at #DillardUniversity this weekend! #DU #Dillard #africanamericanliterature #afamlit #americanlit #literature
I typically have no empathy for the ruination that is Chris Brown, but on his latest confession, I empathize. I can care less how Brown rationalizes it, narrates it, and signifies on it. At 8, performing sexual intercourse with 15 y.o. is always already troubling. Why are news outlets and the blogosphere reporting this as the moment when Brown “loss his virginity”? Such innocuous phrasing mischaracterizes what it is—molestation, sexual abuse, rape. The emotional and cognitive maturity of a 8 y.o. disallows this disturbing reality to be explained away through Brown’s seemingly braggadocios admission of consent with a 15 y.o. Sure, I understand that children have sexuality and even sex-drives, however, the age discrepancy ushers this into another realm. But again, what I find most unsettling is the media’s unquestioning acceptance of its narration as playful loss of innocence. It leads me to question:
1. What would be our response if Chris Brown was a girl?
2. What would be our response if Chris Brown was white?
3. What would be our response if the 15 y.o. was a teenage boy instead of a girl?
Something tells me that there would be more indignation and more discussion about pedophilia if some of the facts were flipped. It seems to me that Chris Brown’s identity at the intersection of Black, straight, boy, leaves us blind to his victimhood. Either the alleged heteronormativity of the event excuses it as “boys will be boys,” which seems to be Brown’s interpretation. Or more insidiously, Brown’s blackness colors him as the “Big Black Buck,” who is unable to be raped or molested because of his aberrant, insatiable sexual appetite renders him the sexual aggressor, which sadly also seems to be Brown’s own interpretation. All of which ignores the fact that we would rarely accept this interpretation for and from a white or female and especially white female child.
[Please, check the link below, because someone is finally asking aloud what I’ve been musing in my head!!!]
The bigger issue with Miley Cyrus is her complete obliviousness to the differences in public reaction when it comes to herself versus black people. When Miley Cyrus plays at ratchet, we get three reactions: fangirls/fangays spooing all over themselves telling the internet how much they love her, non-fans giving deep eyerolls and moving on to the next, and middle-aged white people making vague statements about how they’re “concerned” about her state of mind. The reaction she does not get is that if she were shot by a neighborhood watchman, then she deserved it because she flips the bird and does drugs and glamorizes hoodrat behavior.
That’s my problem. My problem is black kids like Trayvon Martin play at being ratchet everyday and the rest of America looks at them like they’re all budding criminals. The defense in that case put Trayvon Martin’s character on trial, by wanting us to infer that he was headed down the wrong path to prison anyway. Because of a few Myspace photos and a toxicology report, we should be glad we got that thug off the streets. They turned him into a thug for doing the exact same things that Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber do, the exact same things that millions of little white kids do in their gated communities, driving around in Daddy’s SUV listening to old-school NWA and rolling spliffs and bragging about it on social media.
That is what white privilege looks like. If you are a white apologist who continuously doubts that white privilege exists, ask yourself if Miley Cyrus or any other 20-year-old white girl would be put on trial posthumously if someone shot her for walking around in a hoodie. That is the definition of white privilege.
The reaction by the media—social and otherwise—to #Miley Cyrus’s #VMA “twerking” betrays so much about America’s interpretation of race, gender, and sexuality. First, Miley Cyrus has been all over the place performing her appropriation of #ratchet. Why are we surprised? Second, Robin #Thicke has received very little attention for his role and part in that rip-my-eyes-out-with-a-white-hot-poker performance. As Ricki Lake used to say, “it takes two to tango.” It is as if Thicke assumes the unquestionable male position, and his presence there is all Miley’s fault (i.e., she deserved it). This is what we call #patriarchy. Third, why when a white female pop star goes ratchet (Miley this year; B Spears and Xtina a decade ago), the buzz originates from a sense of shock and talked about within a discourse of transformation and innocence, but when it is performed by a black female entertainer, the buzz is created through a sense of titillation. Did anyone respond with shock or disgust when Beyoncé shed her Destiny Child-era pants for solo-act cutoffs and booty pops? It is as if we expect seduction, titillation, and hyper-sexuality from the black female body, but hold feminine whiteness to be pristine and proper—never to be sullied by sex and ratchetness (i.e., low-class blackness). Check your history, because the circumstances may have changed, but we are operating under the same logic of the enslavers, who believed that a black woman could not be raped, because her body always already wants it, and lynch mobs, who believed that they were protecting unspoiled white women from the threat of licentious blackness.
According to the U.S. Constitution, “The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” #Republicans are constantly talking about impeaching #POTUS #Obama although he has not committed treason, bribery, and other high crimes. I cannot help but to think that there is a deep rooted connection here between #GOP impeachment threats to Obama, the murder of #TrayvonMartin, and the proliferation of #StopAndFrisk. Contrary to 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments, the presumption of guilt is at the heart of the matter of the matter—the always, already knowing/feeling/thinking the suspiciousness and wrongness of the black subject. If we also include #VoterSuppression and #Birtherism within this milieu, then we understand that for a large swath of the American body politic and imaginary blackness, black people, and black subjectivity is illegitimate and thus, incongruent with American nationalism and citizenship.
#BIGFREEDIA will be performing at #AfroPunkFest #2013!!! I wanted to attend before, but now, I really wish I was in #Brooklyn just for the weekend. #bounce #bouncemusic #nolabounce
A couple of weeks ago, my bestie and I went to pay respects to her royal highness, King B! Beyond everything; life inducing.
— Audre Lorde, The Uses of Anger (via eshusplayground)
This past weekend, one of my dearest friends in the entire world married her soulmate. In the midst of the jubilance, we had a momentary aside of photographic debauchery for old times sake.