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On Miley Cyrus and Racism – The Belle Jar Blog

What Miley is doing is cultural appropriation. She, a wealthy white woman, is taking elements from black culture in order to achieve a specific image. Her status as a member of a traditionally oppressive race and class means that she is able to pick and choose what parts of black culture she wants to embrace without having to deal with the racism and racialization that black women live with every day. In short, she can imagine that she is being “ghetto” without having any concept of what living in a ghetto would really mean.

Miley is doing her best to promote herself as a part of rachet culture, which Jody Rosen describes as “the potent sexual symbolism of black female bodies,” while simultaneously treating the black women in her videos and performances as props. She is taking elements of black culture and using them to give her the patina of street cred that she wants so badly. She is playing at being black without even trying to understand what the lived experience of being black really is. She is appropriating cultural elements without taking any time to reflect on her position of privilege and how her use of the term “ratchet” or her twerking are contributing to the oppression of black people.

The Belle Jar Blog

A brilliant take on this topic; both the post and the discussion taking place in the comment section are worth a read.

I am still trying to compose my thoughts on this, but I want to reference this post when I do, because we always attribute our sources.

2 Comments

  1. And supposedly she can’t even twerk properly. This is just a “phase” for her, she’ll go back to being not ratchet or whatever pretty soon and that’ll be that.

    • Monique

      September 2, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      Right. She will be done with her temporary foray into blackness as soon as everyone forgets she was a Disney Princess.

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