Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Shame on the people who thought this was a good idea.

There are no words, but I'm going to try to find them anyway.


Blackface on a cake, of all things, depicting the head and torso of a naked Black woman.

A terrible racist caricature of a Black woman used to protest an act of violence against women.

Red velvet cake, obviously meant to symbolize blood, carved up by White people.  Every time a slice was cut, the baker, also a performance artist, whose head was poking out from under the table, would scream.

That's just wrong.

This is a world in which Black people's lives are frequently held to be less important than White people's, and as a result, they die.

Trayvon Martin was killed for doing little more than walking through a gated community (and he had every right to be there, as he was visiting his father, who actually lives in that gated community) while talking on the phone with his girlfriend and carrying Skittles and iced tea.  His killer was only arrested a few days ago, though there was never a question of who did it.

Anna Brown was arrested for trespassing on hospital property for trying to get treatment for the condition that killed her soon afterward; she died in prison that day.  The hospital claims they thought that she was just looking for drugs; after all, not only was she a Black woman, she was a homeless Black woman.  (An autopsy was performed; no traces of any kind of drug were found in her body.  However, they did find numerous blood clots in her lungs and in her legs.)

Kenneth Chamberlain was shot to death by police in his own home when he'd accidentally triggered his medical alarm in his sleep.

These are only the stories that have gotten enough press that I've heard about them.

And now this.

Racism is evil.  It kills.  It destroys lives and families.  Even if the intentions of the people behind this racist act were good—the cake was apparently supposed to protest female genital mutilation—that doesn't erase the harm that it's done.  It doesn't matter that Makode Aj Linde, the performance artist who baked the cake and did the screaming, is Black himself; it doesn't matter that he claims that the cake, and the cutting of it, were misunderstood (his work has in the past involved putting Blackface into new contexts in order to criticise it).  Blackface is innately racist and even attempting to subvert it, considering the immense damage that racism does worldwide, results in more harm than good.  Especially since most of the people who attended this party at Moderna Museet were White.

I'd say it's even worse that Makode Aj Linde participated in this racist act because it's now given White racists an excuse to say, "Hey, this isn't so bad after all.  A Black guy did it, so why can't we?"

This cake was an act of violence, and everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves.

I am disgusted and heartsick.

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