As the veil began lifting, I started to see that award shows are an integral cog in a misogynistic media machine driven by capitalism. And it started to make me sick.When I was young and an aspiring actress all I wanted was to have my work honored at an awards show one day. This fairy tale was part self-care, an escape from a dysfunctional home life as well as the difficulties of being a biracial Third Culture Kid constantly negotiating worlds. It was also part revenge against people who bullied me and told me I’d never be worth anything. More importantly than all that, fame was a means to an end: celebrity offers an instant platform, and once I became a successful actress, my ultimate goals were to be a writer and eventual philanthropist. Being famous was an aspiration in itself, but it was my road to being able to promote social consciousness and be beneficial to the world other than just my bank account and accruing material possessions. I ended up dropping my theatre major and instead focused on anthropology, deciding I would be a writer from the get-go instead of hoping for a celebrity platform to jump-start my writing career. But even though I gave up my silver screen dreams, each year I would strap in for the opulent displays of "award season" no matter where in the world I might have been watching from.
The conversation about erasure in the Latinx community cannot be centered on white Latinx voices.By Mariana Viera Latina magazine recently published an article titled “Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Question My Latina Culture.” The piece details the frustrations of Alexis, a U.S. born-Latina woman who feels that her light skin robs her of Latinx authenticity in the eyes of the Latinx community. She claims that white Americans exoticize and tokenize her, while other Latinxs see her as “just una blanca.” In a world where white Latinxs are already overrepresented in Latinx media and white Latinx voices are magnified at the cost of black and brown Latinxs, Alexis feels it is critical that her “struggles” as a white Latina woman be given a major platform. She begins, “What you don’t understand about being a light-skinned Latina is that my ‘legitimacy’ is always being questioned by both sides.” In some ways, white Latinxs’ frustrations with having their identity “denied” do speak to an important issue. There is such a thing as white Latinxs. Latin America is not a racial monolith, and there needs to be discussion around that. It is not the racially homogenous, post-race society that people like to imagine it as (nobody knows this better than black and indigenous Latinxs). But if there is a proper way to discuss this issue from the perspective of a white Latinx, this isn’t it. For reasons beyond the scope of this piece, mixing between black, indigenous, and white groups did occur in Latin American countries more than in the United States. But by no means did this result in the expiration of a racial hierarchy that continues to place white Latinxs like Alexis at the very top and black and indigenous Latinxs at the very bottom. “Latinx” is not a race, and Latinxs are not a unified group. White Latinxs exist. Indigenous Latinxs exist. Black Latinxs exist. The racial makeup of countries like Brazil, which has one of the largest afro-descendant populations in the world, and Argentina, a 90% white country, speak to this reality. At one point, the article boldly remonstrates, “When people give me a skeptical look when I say ‘person of color’ or puertorriqueña in reference to myself I want to be able to hand them a pre-made list of all the things I know and do that ensure my acceptance into this culture — my culture.” Alexis can claim Latinxness, but she is gravely mistaken in her claim to a “person of color” identity. To equate being Latinx with being a person of color is to erase the centuries-long, unabated violent oppression experienced by black and indigenous people at the hands of white Latinxs in Latin America.
Black men like OJ Simpson, Bill Cosby, and R. Kelly are able to navigate a society that demonizes the color of their skin and achieve some sense of the American Dream.By Rachael Edwards Last week, it was announced that OJ Simpson will be released on parole on Oct. 1 after his hearing. He has served nine years in Nevada State Prison after he was found guilty for assault with a deadly weapon and armed robbery in 2007. This is the same OJ Simpson that was acquitted of all charges for the murder of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman in 1995. I was a one year old when Simpson captured the attention of almost every media outlet in the United States. I grew up hearing conversations about him, but I could never figure out which side Black people stood on when it came down to discussing him. When OJ got off, Black people celebrated, which inevitably incited white anger. However, in conversations within the Black community, there are many who believe that OJ murdered Brown and Goldman. The same conversation translates for white people who adore OJ and the many who cannot say his name without cursing him. Simpson’s image is complex–he is all at once the All-American good guy who plays in the NFL and the violent Black man who was on trial. The Black part of his identity seems to be in parenthesis–he navigated spaces with non-Black & white people with ease. OJ slid in and out of different social spaces, garnering love from all sides. How?
Tinashe is misinterpreting what colorism actually means and how the power dynamics are in favor of light-skin Black women.In an interview for The Guardian, Pop-R&B singer, Tinashe discusses her career and various issues that she is grappling with, including growing up biracial (her father is from Zimbabwe and her mother is Danish). The 24-year-old artist is quoted saying this about colorism: “There’s colourism involved in the black community, which is very apparent,” she says carefully. “It’s about trying to find a balance where I’m a mixed woman, and sometimes I feel like I don’t fully fit into the black community; they don’t fully accept me, even though I see myself as a black woman. That disconnect is confusing sometimes.” To be honest, if Tinashe hadn't said she was biracial, my guess would have been that she was a light-skin Black woman – Blackness comes in a multitude of variations which are spread across the African diaspora – but Tinashe is misinterpreting what colorism actually means and how the power dynamics are in favor of light-skin Black women.
Related: STOP WEAPONZING BIRACIAL CHILDREN
You’re not a bad person for having white privilege. However, you do need to accept that this unequal system unfairly benefits you. [Content Note: Racism] Are you white? If you answered yes, this lesson is for you. This is Part 3 in a