Racialicious

Racialicious is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations. If you've been on the blog, you know how this Tumblr works, too. Including the moderation policy.
Recent Tweets @racialicious

I have always recoiled from the idea that certain conversations by marginalized people can only be held behind closed doors (The old “Don’t air our dirty laundry” thing.). But now I’m wondering if some things simply cannot be discussed effectively within a mainstream context without “othering” the group in question.

It was the latest article in The Washington Post’s series on black women that got me thinking. Lonnae O’Neal Parker is a good writer. Her effort was measured and thoughtful. She is a black female writer in a space where the voices of black women are not the majority. The Washington Post has accompanied its coverage with online discussions and the actual voices of black women—something that doesn’t often happen. Now, I complain all the time about the absence of black women in mainstream media. I hate that they so often ignore us. But here The Washington Post is paying attention to black women and I find I’d rather they didn’t. Because despite all the panels and surveys and a black woman writer and the presence of black female voices, it still reads as exotification and demonization because of the context and because of who is observing the conversation.

I recall feeling the same way last year, when I took part in a CNN online article about the phenomenon of black women with natural hair enduring unwanted touching. Several black women honestly shared our lived experiences with a black writer, who had navigated similar waters. But a brief web article cannot hold the nuance and history related to African American hair and beauty standards and power dynamics. And, based on the nasty attacks several of us endured as a result of the article, in the end, it served more to inflame than educate. (More here.)

Last week I found myself working on an article about an element of black culture for a mainstream feminist publication. My criticism of the Post series and the aftermath of the CNN article began haunting me. Because here I was explaining a black issue for consumption by a mostly non-black audience and perhaps opening the door to the same “othering” that I hate.

So, I wondered: How do other folks who are members of historically marginalized groups, and who write about race and gender and sexuality, wrestle with this? Do they? Should we? Are there topics writers will not or should not discuss outside of a “safe space”? Are there story ideas writers reserve for “of color” or GLBT spaces?

  1. whoneedstransitions reblogged this from weareallmixedup
  2. zoenne reblogged this from weareallmixedup
  3. tootall-totell reblogged this from weareallmixedup
  4. koreaunderground reblogged this from pleonasmism
  5. pleonasmism reblogged this from paradelle
  6. lagos2bahia reblogged this from weareallmixedup
  7. notbadsugar reblogged this from angrywocunited
  8. poeticdoxa reblogged this from newmodelminority
  9. bellumintus reblogged this from paradelle
  10. legocaltrops reblogged this from angrywocunited
  11. flawlessindie reblogged this from angrywocunited
  12. oneluv918 reblogged this from angrywocunited
  13. trulysophisticat reblogged this from weareallmixedup
  14. weareallmixedup reblogged this from angrywocunited
  15. theewonderblack reblogged this from angrywocunited
  16. shepherdsnotsheep reblogged this from newmodelminority
  17. progressivebrittania reblogged this from angrywocunited