Late Degradation

by MSC Student Life Intern, Lewis

kanye

In February, Kanye West went on The Breakfast Club and publicly slut-shamed his former partner of almost 2 years, Amber Rose. Amber Rose was a stripper. His current partner and wife, Kim Kardashian, has been considered, by some, to be a porn actress. Kanye West has loved both of these women. And yet somehow Amber Rose is considered the dirty, shameless, jealous ex-partner, bent on destroying the happy family utopia that is the West’s. My point here is that though both women have well documented sexual pasts, only Rose is demonized for her sexuality. This has to do with (perceived) Blackness.

Rose, who self-identifies as biracial, does not benefit from the same white privilege that has kept Kim in the good graces of the public and the media (and Yeezy) despite a seemingly similar sexual history. Because of this white privilege, Kim is allowed to express her sexuality while Amber Rose is condemned for it, and now Ye has joined in on that condemnation.

Here’s an excerpt from the blog Beyond Black and White‘s post on Kanye’s interview,

Then he says this: “It’s very hard for a woman to want to be with someone who was with Amber Rose. She wasn’t sending nothing. I had to take 30 showers before I got with Kim. Don’t ask me no more [laughs] I just want to be respectful.” TRANSLATION: Amber is a “dirty” black(ish) broad who’s not virginal. Kim is a “dirty” white broad who’s not virginal. But we all know when black women aren’t virginal they’re THOTS…” 

amberrose

This is a surprising oversight from the same artist who spent the better half of the last decade preaching strong political messages in support of Black culture. The same artist who wrote songs like, “New Slaves” and “Golddigger.” The same artist who has repeatedly claimed he is stonewalled from the fashion industry because of his Blackness.


Honestly, what it sounded like to me is that Kanye’s personal insecurities began to poke through, and like so many men, he remedied this by bashing women. He was uncomfortable. He was uncomfortable being confronted about his once love for a woman that the media has so eagerly degraded, and thus outpoured a string of excuses straight from chapter 1 of “Sexism for Dummies (read: Insecure cis-gender men).” He was uncomfortable talking about his ex-partner’s sexuality. The same sexuality that he once found so attractive, he now sees as threatening. As a cis-gender man, I have been around these same conversations myself – i.e. Bob’s ex-girlfriend has hooked up with someone new and confronted with the news Bob responds by calling his ex-partner a slut, a whore, and essentially reducing any and all feelings they shared for each other to the uglier side of his own insecurities.

I am disappointed (but not surprised) in Kanye. I am disappointed in Kim for allowing her husband to publically slut-shame another woman. I am disappointed.

Do better, Yeezus.

Some UIUC students turn to sexist and racist tweets after chancellor declares classes in session

Disclaimer: This article contains strong language.
Much like UW-Madison, UIUC remained open regardless of weather advisories and plummeting temperatures. Sunday night, Chancellor Phyllis Wise sent an email to students notifying them that UIUC would have class the following day.

After receiving the news, some students decided to voice their outrage with their chancellor in the form of racist and sexist tweets.

To read the full article check out Buzzfeed.com. To catch more of the conversation follow Suey Park on Twitter.

“Three white college students file racial discrimination complaint against professor over lesson on structural racism”

Video

“English faculty Shannon Gibney received a letter of reprimand last weekend after a debate about structural racism in her Intro to Mass Communications class became too heated. This is the latest development in a string of incidences on campus regarding race, education and community effecting the student body. We talked with Gibney about the incident, and spoke with the new Executive Director of Diversity, Dr. Whitney Harris on his perception of MCTC’s cultural climate.”

Click here to read the full story.

The Un-fair Campaign: “Is white skin really ‘fair skin?”

“Is white skin really ‘fair’ skin?” For one Minnesota University, the answer appears to be a resounding no. The University of Minnesota-Duluth’s “Un-Fair Campaign” intends to raise awareness about white privilege in the community by providing resources and facilitating dialogue that results in systemic changes. Their tagline: “It’s hard to see racism when you’re white.”

As the fourth largest city in Minnesota, Duluth hosts a startling 90 percent white population, which makes the argument about white privilege seem quite appropriate in one of America’s least diversified cities—Duluth harbors one of the darkest and most monumental moments in Minnesota history when three black circus workers were publically lynched by a white mob on June 15th, 1920.

By challenging concepts of privilege and oppression, the campaign has received waves of criticism. Many felt the campaign was demanding  that white people should feel guilty about the privileges they receive from the color of their skin. The campaign’s series of posters, which include faces of nameless, everyday white people splattered with ink-drawn statements about their obvious, yet unspoken “white benefits,” are causing controversy and distaste.

“You don’t see my color before you see my face. 

“We’re lucky that it’s easier to get a job, a bank loan, and approval in general.” 

The main objective behind the anti-racism campaign is to undermine the idea of white privilege and make non-minorities more aware of racial justice and inequalities. But are the university’s claims accurate? Is it harder to see racism when you’re white? Many Duluth residents who are opposed to the campaign don’t think so. Some people believe it spreads a message of hate, focuses too much on skin color and pinpoints Caucasians for being insensitive or naïve when it comes to issues of race.

Despite the criticism, campaign members only want to “challenge the white monoculture.” The “Unfair Campaign” and similar organizations continue to challenge the way people unconsciously think about and approach race in their daily lives. Can this campaign really change one small town? Or will the privileges of some continue to outweigh the detriments of others?

What do you think about this campaign’s approach? Will it succeed? 

LINpowerment: One Asian American’s Perspective on Jeremy Lin

Esther Ha, Asian American Student Union (AASU) Council Chair, discusses her own racialized experiences in Madison and talks about how #LINsanity is reshaping the popular media landscape and conversation around Asian-Pacific Americans. 

LINspiration, LINsanity, LINning.  Everyone is talking about New York Knicks basketball player Jeremy Lin and for good reason. I was a huge tomboy as a kid, often shooting hoops with my dad and admiring Ray Allen’s three-point game.  But, as I grew older, I grew out of that phase and lost interest in basketball for a decade…until now.

Why now?  For the same reason hundreds of thousands of Asian-Pacific Americans (APAs) from all over the U.S. are now religiously watching Knicks games and obsessively checking out smart phones for updates when we can’t.  Not only is Jeremy Lin “one of us,” he is also damn good. Admittedly, I don’t understand all the technical aspects of his game, but I understand what it means to be ethnically Asian in America. It is clear to me that “Linsanity” is changing the face of Asian America.  This is exactly why, like all other APAs, I’m rooting for the Knicks (even when they play against my home team…sorry, Bucks!).

Jeremy Lin gives APAs a new kind of representation—not to mention an unprecedented amount of positive media attention.  I can finally see someone on T.V. who looks likes me but isn’t a ninja, a karate master, a computer analyst, a corner store owner, a “Fresh Off the Boat” immigrant, a hypersexualized China doll, or a subservient house wife.  As a marginalized people, it’s bad enough that we lack representation in the media, but whenever we are seen fit to grace the television screens in American homes, we are portrayed as one of the aforementioned caricatures. Continue reading

We Take Your Jobs: Pete Hoekstra’s Racist Superbowl Ad

During this year’s Super Bowl, Pete Hoekstra, former Michigan Republican Congressman currently running to replace Democratic incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow, launched a state-wide 30-second ad campaign called “Debbie Spenditnow.”  For those of you who haven’t seen the ad, you can view it below.

We’re not really surprised that the video has gotten some heat for being racially insensitive and offensive. New Yorker blogger, Evan Osnos, describes the now-viral ad as such: “[The spot] opened with the sound of a gong and showed a young Nondescript Presumably Scary Asian (N.P.S.A.) riding a bike between rice paddies, and saying, in broken English: “You borrow more and more from us. Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good. We take your jobs.”

Continue reading