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Iggy Azalea is popular and Black men are to blame

8 Jan

 

Iggy Azalea: 'Getting the word racist put on me sucked.'

Black feminist Professor Brittney Cooper gets her mean-girl panties on for Iggy Azalea, and it’s almost amusing to watch the contortions she goes through to blame Black men for what she perceives as a problem with “cultural appropriation”.  Black men are appropriating black culture?

Huh?

What?

Yeah, let’s investigate the Professor’s logic.

 

Recently, my nine year-old nephew came running into the room, eager to find a seat to watch a performance by Iggy Azalea on an awards show. He sat, enraptured by her performance, yelling, “Iggy!” utterly oblivious to the look of chagrin and dismay on my face, as I, too, tuned in to watch this white girl from Australia, turned ATL-style rapper, caricature everything I love about Southern Hip Hop.

 

And right out of the starting gate, Cooper goes on a sulk and demands that everyone, including children respond to her feelz! She was chagrined, people! Dismayed! And the boy did not drop everything to assuage her hurtz. Little bastard. He was just enjoying some music. Can’t have that now, can we?

 

The look and feeling of chagrin has stayed with me each time I turn on my radio and hear Iggy’s hit song, “Fancy” coming through my speakers. And some of the dismay I feel is at myself, because almost without fail, I immediately start bobbing my head to the beat.

 

I’m no huge fan of Iggy, but yeah, Fancy has a pretty good little beat.

 

 

 

Iggy is a protégé of T.I., one of my all-time favorite rappers. Though T.I. is known for Atlanta-style, crunk Southern bravado that is a hallmark of Black culture in that city, according to journalist/blogger Bené Viera, T.I. recently expressed disappointment that “we’re at a place in America where we still see color.” Apparently, color is only relevant when he’s talking about racist acts against Black men, but not when he has to think through his complicity in white appropriation of Hip Hop music.

 

The children won’t kowtow to Cooper’s feelings and the music is pretty catchy on the whole, but there is no way Cooper is leaving a good beat alone. Three paragraphs in, and it’s the fault of Black men that Iggy captures her nephew’s attention when the boy ought to be paying attention to his Auntie. What I find amusing about Professor Cooper, a professor of cultural studies, is that she appears to have no idea how culture works. The whole point of culture is to share it, so it spreads. Culture is not something you nail shut in a box, and only approved visitors get to see it. Cultural appropriation  is just some bullshit feminists and social justice warriors cooked up so they would have something to bitch about. Insisting that culture must never be shared ironically works to injure the very culture these idiots, presumably, are trying to protect.

As a born-and-raised Southern girl, who believes that lazy summer evenings are best spent with your top back or your sun roof open, bass-heavy music booming through nice speakers, while you slowly make a few blocks through the neighborhood, to see who’s out and what’s poppin,’  I resent Iggy Azalea for her co-optation and appropriation of sonic Southern Blackness, particularly the sonic Blackness of Southern Black women. Everytime she raps the line “tell me how you luv dat,” in her song “Fancy,” I want to scream “I don’t love dat!” I hate it. The line is offensive because this Australian born-and-raised white girl almost convincingly mimics the sonic register of a downhome Atlanta girl.

And if one of those downhome Atlanta girls was a pitch perfect soprano with a love for Kiri Te Kanawa, would her ability to convincingly mimic the New Zelander’s voice be offensive, or does that only work one way? Is the sonic “whiteness” of Maria Callas up for grabs? Are Jessye Norman or Leontyne Price mimicking white culture, or are they kickass opera singers, singing whatever the hell they want?

 

 

The question is why? Why is her mimicry of sonic Blackness okay? Though rap music is a Black and Brown art form, one does not need to mimic Blackness to be good at it. Ask the Beastie Boys, or Eminem, or Macklemore. These are just a smattering of the white men who’ve been successful in rap in the last 30 years and generally they don’t have to appropriate Blackness to do it. In the case of Southern rappers like Bubba Sparxx or Paul Wall, who do “sound Black” as it were, at least it is clear that they also have the accents of the places and communities in which they grew up.

How interesting that Cooper gives white men a pass, but not white women, and certainly not Black men. One wonders how Cooper navigates the twin highways of hate feminism and cultural studies have laid out before her. Men are to blame, but not white men because they pay good money and women are always victims, but not white women unless they’re being victimized by white men and Black women are victims and Black men are always to blame but not white men …… and round and round she goes.

 

Not so with Iggy Azalea, who left Australia at age 16. To be clear, I know all of the problems with the phrases “sound Black” and “sonic Blackness.” As a kid, I was mercilessly teased for and accused of “talking white,” “acting white” and basically attempting to “be white.” I learned during those difficult days to dissent from social norms that suggested that the only English for Black people  is a vernacular English that stands adjacent to “corporate,” “standard,” or white English. I balked at such suggestions and reveled in my ability to master “standard” English.

 

Obviously, I do not know Cooper’s personal history, but if the narrow-mindedness of her writing is any indication, the key part of this revelation is the word “only”. Virtually every adult human understands that there are degrees of appropriateness when it comes to language and expression. Most of us will use a very formal tone standing in front of a judge, and a completely different vocabulary in everyday life with family and friends. Those individuals who never modify their speech, adjusting it for the occasion and the environment are considered socially awkward.  Sometimes that is the result of neurological conditions like autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, but it can also be the result of dogged adherence to ideology. Class, race, ethnicity, geography, demography – all these things have an impact on language, and mature, intelligent people understand how to navigate the various contours of their social worlds.  Not the Professor.

 

After a few more paragraphs complaining about that darn Iggy, making money hand over fist by singing rap songs, Cooper gets to the heart of the matter. Someone is to blame for Iggy. Someone has made Iggy possible. Someone has permitted Iggy to succeed.

 

Guess who?

 

By riding for white female rappers to the exclusion of Black women, Black men collude with the system against Black women, by demonstrating that our needs, aspirations and feelings do not matter and are not worthy of having a hearing.

 

The exclusion of Black women??!?! Is she fucking kidding? Cooper do you even Beyonce? Ever heard of Nicky Minaj? How about L’il Kim? Queen Latifah? Missy Elliot? Mary J. Blige? Nitty Scott, maybe? Anything ringing a bell at all?

 

 

 

Time Magazine put together a list of female rappers worth a listen,  and every single one is Black.  No one is excluding Black women from rap, least of all Black men.

 

This is straight up, run of the mill feminist man-hate. There is no evidence that Black men are stomping down Black women and lifting up those precious white rappers at Black women’s expense. It’s bullshit. But once Cooper gets the misandry ball rolling, she just can’t stop.

 

Black men keep on proving that when given access to power, money and influence, be it political or cultural, it is not Black women they ride or die for. They want our unwavering devotion, even as they make choices that contribute to the silencing of women of color in a culture we helped to build. And young, oblivious white women, caught up in fanciful ideas about a post-racial universe, climb on board, taking my unsuspecting nephew and his friends for the ride of their lives.

This paragraph illustrates perfectly why feminism and Black women go together like fish and bicycles. The feminist part of Cooper knows she has to blame men, and that women must always be victims. The white woman becomes oblivious – Iggy is not making conscious decisions about her life – she’s just some clueless chick being led astray by THE EVIL MENZ.

 

 

Which MENZ?

 

 

Well, we’re talking about rap music here, so obviously Black men get to be the villains.

 

If feminism rejects traditional gender roles and demands that men and women be treated as social, moral, financial and literal equals, why the hell should men ride and die for women? You want the benefits of traditional gender roles, but none of the responsibilities or constraints? Give me one good reason Black men are obliged to ride or die for any woman, no matter what color her skin happens to be?

 

The ability of Blackness to travel to and be performed by non-Black bodies is supposed to be a triumph of post-racial politics, a feat that proves once and for all that race is not biological. Race does not have any biological basis, but I maintain that there is no triumph and no celebration when we embrace a white girl who deliberately attempts to sound like a Black girl, in a culture where Black girls can’t get no love.

 

Black women who sing can’t get no love? Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, Rhianna, Beyonce Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Erykah Badu, Leona Lewis, Kelly Rowland, Ciara, Brandy Norwood, Nikki Minaj and Aretha would like a word with you.

 

I wonder what Jessye Norman would think of Cooper’s cultural appropriation? She’s a dramatic soprano who specializes in Wagner. Flawless German opera.

 

 

 

Iggy profits from the cultural performativity and forms of survival that Black women have perfected, without having to encounter and deal with the social problem that is the Black female body, with its perceived excesses, unruliness, loudness and lewdness.  If she existed in hip hop at a moment when Black women could still get play, where it would take more than one hand to count all the mainstream Black women rap artists, I would have no problem. Iggy would be one among the many. But in this moment, she represents a problem of co-optation. She represents the ways in which hip hop is on a crash course to take exactly the path that rock ‘n roll took such that 20 years from now, people my nephew’s age, will look at the Macklemores and Iggys of the world as representative of Hip Hop Culture, with nary a Black soul making their top ten list of hip hop greats.

 

How many fingers do you have on one hand??!?! Cooper should perhaps keep in mind that most male rappers are not mainstream either, but that is changing because rap music is being integrated, word, by word, into mainstream pop music.

 

When Taylor Swift adds a rap bridge to one of her saccharine sweet pop confections, you know some headway is being made, and the culture is adding layers.

 

Cooper’s words are exactly what people said about Elvis. Elvis took Black music and brought it into the living rooms of every home in America. He took a great innovation in music, packaged it for consumption by the masses, spoon-fed it to them and created an entire industry and culture that was suddenly open to Black music.

 

That is how culture works.

 

Iggy isn’t stealing, or appropriating anything. She is celebrating, and spreading inner city Black music far beyond the borders of the original innovators. She is solidifying rap music and inserting it deeply into mainstream culture, from where it will not be dislodged anytime soon, and in doing so, she is broadening the market for all rap artists.

 

Cooper is the anachronism here, stamping her feet that she doesn’t get to dictate the exact terms of how Black culture becomes popularized. That makes her immature, out of touch and petulant. It’s her insertion of Black men as the evil oppressors that bothers me. In much the same way that feminists are the true misogynists, Black feminists are the true racists. Cooper’s insistence that Black men are running rough-shod over Black women rappers has at it’s a heart a rather grotesque vision of Black men: so enthralled with the beauty of white women, they will destroy their own mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, nieces, friends to get at it.

 

You know there is something fundamentally flawed with your worldview, Cooper, when you work harder than any member of the KKK to paint Black men as lewd darkies lusting after white female flesh.  You might want to think that one through.

 

I’ll be over here, enjoying Iggy singing Black music, and Jessye singing white. It’s called “culture.”

 

Feel free to join us.

 

You can sing any damn song you like.

 

We’ll do the same.

 

 

 

 

Lots of love,

 

JB

Michelle Obama is a feminist nightmare? You’re goddamn right she is!

4 Dec

This is Michelle Cottle, a delightfully deluded and viciously misogynist contributor at Politico, who writes that First Lady Michelle Obama has betrayed the sisterhood by caring about her husband, her children, food for the nation’s children (all of them), wounded soldiers and … gasp! Literacy!

The ability to read?

Who needs that?

Here, finally, was an issue worthy of the Ivy-educated, blue-chip law firm-trained first lady, a departure from the safely, soothingly domestic causes she had previously embraced. Gardening? Tending wounded soldiers? Reading to children? “She essentially became the English lady of the manor, Tory Party, circa 1830s,” feminist Linda Hirshman says.

Let’s think this through, shall we?

Michelle cares about her husband.michelle-obama-thumb-2-1

Michelle’s husband Barry works long hours, travels extensively, shoulders a wee bit of responsibility, and faces down some formidable opposition to his ideas about how to do his job. He answers not to an immediate superior, but to the ENTIRE FUCKING NATION.

No pressure.

Barry and Michelle have two children. When Barry got his job, Michelle realized that there was more at stake than just her own personal happiness and she made a choice: she would be there for Barry, and in doing so, be there for their children when he couldn’t be.

What a dumb bitch.

She went to law school, people! Can’t she afford some other brown lady to raise up those children for her, just like all the white ladies do? What’s the matter, Michelle? Something about that feel not quite right?

While there are many, many fault lines in feminism, I think this attack on Michelle Obama highlights one of the most important ones: feminism hates black women in particular, especially when black women align their interests with the men in their community rather than the white ladies who would rather black women fall in line, after they are finished picking up the white lady’s kids from school, making dinner for the white lady’s husband and ironing the white lady’s shirts, which she needs to do her important job as an administrative assistant for some man who is not her husband.

Since when have black women had the luxury of being at home, gardening and caring for their own children rather than someone else’s? What would happen if a whole lot of black women decided Michelle and Barry had the right idea and that the nuclear family is, after all, the best  form of family organization? What if they stopped cooking and cleaning and gardening and ironing and raising white children and decided to spend all that energy on their own communities and their own families?

Feminist nightmare indeed.

This faultline has been in feminism since it’s very inception. White women have done a glorious job convincing themselves and countless millions of others that they have somehow managed to “catch up” with the work men have always done and are now participating on more or less equal footing in the labor market. The wage gap is closingMore women in the board rooms! Women are graduating in record numbers from colleges and universities!

This is all supposed to represent  incontrovertible evidence that women are indeed not just as good as men, but BETTER! Men are obsoleteIt’s the end of men!

In the first place, it’s all a giant smokescreen obscuring the fact that most women are doing nothing more than HOUSEWORK in the labor force, earning college degrees in hard subjects like reading, dancing, feeling and caring for small children, while men continue to design, build, operate, maintain and repair the communication, energy, transportation, sanitation and protective services infrastructure that makes all the housework jobs even possible.

And in the second place, the women feminism champions are by and large RICH WHITE WOMEN, who go out of their homes every day to perform some housewifely service for some man other than their husbands and leave the work their own families entail to women of color and poor women, who must neglect their own children and husbands to provide for the white woman’s.

All the discussion about “intersectionality” and “inclusiveness” in mainstream feminism is pure sophistry: if feminism were to address the interests of ALL women, it would quickly collapse, because the white ladies cannot engage in their teary-eyed hand wringing over the plight of poor colored ladies without immediately implicating themselves as the principal source of racism and exploitation.

Intersectionality and inclusiveness has never been part of feminism and never can be.

You know where women of color and poor women WILL find their own unique perspectives and interests addressed?

In the Men’s Human Rights Movement – MHRM. The moment women of color put the interests of their sons, brothers, husbands, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, nephews and every other black man at the center of their quest for equal rights and responsibilities, they will find the inclusiveness feminism can never deliver.

Feminism promises equality, but is only really interested in equality that delivers a benefit to white women. Where is the cry for equal sentencing before the courts of law? Where is the cry that 50% of all workplace related deaths are women? Where is the cry that half of the nation’s garbage collectors and sewage treatment workers are women? Where is the cry that half of all the homeless and indigent be women?

Ew. Icky. Pick up garbage? Gross! And who cares about criminal sentencing anyways? It’s mostly black thugs who get the harshest sentences, and the more of them in jail, the easier it is to exploit the women left behind. Please don’t forget to vacuum the cat hairs off my couch, Jemima, and make sure you give Bootsie her fresh liver pate. You did make her fresh liver pate, right?

I will no doubt be accused of conspiracy: feminists caaaaaaare about black women and they aren’t silent about wildly disproportionate sentencing of young black men because they want a steady supply of exploitable domestic labor. No, no, no. That’s just a coincidence.

Men of color have long known that the MHRM has inclusiveness at its core, as have gay men, disabled men, poor men, every other category of man you can think of: no condition other than the simple fact of biological sex comes in to play when it comes to infant genital mutilation. Boys, no what matter their skin color, social status, ethnicity, ability – irrespective of any social condition you can think of – can be legally mutilated during infancy. Pick any other issue: suicide doesn’t care how rich you are, the school system doesn’t care what color your skin is – boys of every class and race and group will be marginalized.

Women of color have been trying for 80 years to be included in the broad category of “women” that feminism purports to represent.

It will never happen.

And when very successful, accomplished black women like Michelle Obama decide to make their husband and children a priority, they are called “traitors” and “nightmares”.

Nightmares: black and scary.

But in Michelle Obama’s story lies a kernel of truth, a breath of freedom and honesty and a message we need to get out to women of color in particular: the civil rights of men ARE the civil rights of women.

All women.

We cannot possibly be equal until we are ALL equal.

I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.

Abraham Lincoln

The truth is very simple: until men, all men and not just rich white men have equal rights under the law, no man or woman will have equal rights.

Waiting for rich white women arguing with rich white men to notice the interests of everyone is like waiting for a lioness to care about the plight of the earthworms who create the soil that nurtures the life of her entire world.

It won’t happen.  20/20 says the MHRM lives in the underbelly of the internet. The deep dark recesses. Well, that’s where life begins, no?

It might be dark down here at the moment, but we aren’t afraid of the dark. Even when the dark we are talking about is the color of your skin.

All men matter. And so do all women.

And together, we can change the world.

Lots of love,

JB

Silly brown women. Feminists NEED you, but they don’t WANT you. #solidarityisforwhitewomen Now run along and take care of those little white babies.

26 Aug

nanny

I’ve been following the #solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag on twitter and chortling rather gleefully every time someone tweets a total burn!

tweet jam

tweet rhianna

tweet white

tweet

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen&src=hash

I’ve argued before that feminism as a political ideology only caters to white women who work outside the home for wages, and that white women have approximately zero interest in seeing life get any better for the women who do all the shit work white ladies are too precious to submit to.

http://judgybitch.com/2013/01/30/feminism-is-a-voice-that-speaks-for-all-women-as-long-as-youre-white-and-rich-and-you-work-outside-the-home-the-rest-of-you-bitches-can-step-off/

What I find really, really interesting is that not only are feminists unwilling to look at how their cushy lives are made possible by all the work that women of color do, they don’t even seem willing to reach out to those women who have broken through the cultural barriers to achieve the feminist white lady version of success. How many writers at Jezebel, Slate, the HuffPo Women, the Frisky, xoJane and any other number of feminist blogs have nannies and housekeepers who work, most likely, without standard labor force protections and benefits that white ladies pretty much take for granted?

nanny3

How many white feminists writers stop in the middle of their oh-so-important work to text the nanny not to forget about Imogen’s dentist appointment and the bus fare is on the table?

domestic workers

If feminists were the exceptions, the wonderful employers who provided fair wages and benefits and working conditions to THEIR black women, don’t you think they would trumpet that from the rooftops?

*crickets*

Yeah, not so much, huh?

Layout 1

http://www.domesticworkers.org/pdfs/HomeEconomicsEnglish.pdf

I find it a little sad that black women are still trying to find some way to have a conversation with white women about how they can be included in the whole feminist discussion.  Here is Mikki Kendall, the woman who started the whole hastag, reflecting on the experience.

Even now, in my conversations with other women of color it has come up often, how White the narrative around feminism is, and how that Whiteness lends itself to the erasure of the problems specifically facing women of color. Early #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen tweets were an expression of my personal frustrations with an ongoing problem in digital feminist communities. However, the conversation rapidly moved beyond the personal into the structural problems that have kept this divide in feminism alive.

http://www.ebony.com/news-views/on-feminist-solidarity-and-community-453/2#axzz2d2EB4o50

Ah, the structural problems.  There’s the rub.  And here’s the truth:  white women cannot participate in the labor force without having an exploitable source of domestic labor, and the culture of entrenched poverty and single motherhood in the black community continuously creates a workforce for white women to use and abuse.

It might be ugly to read, but there you have it. There are two things white feminists do NOT want to encourage or examine in any meaningful way:  solidarity between men and women of color, and women of color who are closing the gap with white lady accomplishments.  Both of those things threaten women’s exploitable pool of poor workers, and if those workers disappear, so do market opportunities for white women.

Someone MUST do the dirty work.  Someone MUST cook and clean and tend to the very old and the very young. And that someone is NOT going to be a fancy feminist with her Women’s Studies degree and ambitions to get the top salary at that not for profit agency she works for providing services based on whatever ideological bullshit the agency has been able to spin to Big Daddy government.

And we’re talking a lot of money.  One day, I will have to track down all the grants and funding directed specifically towards women, and unpack just how much cash is at stake for the professional feminist brigade.  It didn’t take me long to find this site:

http://www.americasgotgrants.com/grants-for-women.php

Raise your hand now if you are SHOCKED that I cannot find a grants for men mirror site. The America’s Got Grants homepage explicitly offers “women” as a category.  But not men.  There are no grants specifically for men.  Men have to qualify under some condition other than “genitals”.

http://www.americasgotgrants.com/

American white women get a lot of assistance in the form of cash from the Federal Government, but it’s not enough to cover all the expenses.  White women still need a helping hand. Successful white women are successful because they have women of color to stand on.

Awww.  That’s so sweet.  I love that women of color are willing to leave their own children all day to go and take care of white babies.  Makes me wanna go buy Aunt Jemima pancake syrup right now.

jem

http://www.returnofkings.com/12753/successful-women-use-poor-women-to-advance

You know what’s really funny?  That stereotype about black women being really sassy and loudmouthed and sarcastic and caustic and angry?  Where is it now? Latina women have kind of the same caricature applied to them, no? If EVER there was a time to get mouthy and rude, this is it.  White women have built an entire political ideology on the backs of women of color and the best women of color can do is call them out gently and respectfully?

sassy

Y’all need to get your bitch on, if you ask me.

These two tweets in particular caught my attention:

tweet men

tweet men 2

I would personally think these idea through really carefully.  White feminists have a vested interest in making sure that relations between men and women of color are deeply fractured and hostile.  Marriage is one of THE BEST ways to build wealth and transmit it to the next generation, in effect becoming “economically white”.  I’ll add the disclaimer that not all white people are married and wealthy, and those who aren’t have the same shitty choices as any other poor person, but of ALL the families that ARE rich, MOST of them are white, heterosexual couples with children.

social class

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/08/27/yes-the-rich-are-different/

And they have their own colored folks to pick up the slack and keep life ticking along smoothly.

It really sucks that whenever we talk in the media about women of color, it’s usually along the lines of poor, illiterate, uneducated, exploited, blah blah blah and here I am doing the exact same thing. That’s not to say we SHOULDN’T be discussing the social and cultural aspects of race and gender, but when that’s ALL we discuss, it’s a problem.

manager

So let’s end today talking about the enormous strides women of color have been making in the managerial and professional occupational categories.  It ain’t great news, but it’s good.

The employment of women of color increased dramatically in the period between 1990 and 2001. The rate of change for African American women is the lowest increase at 43 percent and the rate of change for Hispanic women is the highest at 104 percent.

Although women of color still remain a relatively small percentage of all officials and managers, their increase in the decade between 1990 and 2001 is dramatic. Their rates of changes range from 75 percent for African American women to 135 percent for Asian women.

http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/reports/womenofcolor/womenofcolor.pdf

Women of color continue to push their way to the top of the economic ladder, and in one sense that’s really great.  Our entire economy and society is built on the assumption that the cream rises to the top.  The barriers we put in place against the truly smart and capable and intelligent and ambitious for spurious reasons like race or ability or class or gender hurts our whole society.

We need our human capital.  But all that human capital starts out in the same form.

baby

Women of color scrambling their way to the top still need their toilets scrubbed and their kids fed and the laundry done.

It comes back to the same question:  who is doing the grunt work?

If women of color think feminism is going to help them untangle the web of domestic labor and race and social conditions, they are sadly mistaken.  White women have no incentive to do so, and don’t even want to have the conversation.

nanny2

They can’t afford to. How are white ladies supposed to storm the barricades without colored women to man the fort?

http://impactofilms.com/maidinamerica/

Some of the biggest advocates for feminism seem to believe that in order to feel powerful you have to make another woman subservient, and that is not what feminism is about at all.

Tori Amos

Oh really, Tori?

maid

I wonder what your housekeeper thinks about that?

Lots of love,

JB

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