It’s the day after Halloween, and all the world wants to know is: who did my favorite celebrities dress as?
Okay, maybe not, but that’s what the media’s obsessed with, anyway. So one of the current trending stories is Iggy Azalea’s costume. In response to a derogatory tweet by Snoop Dogg, who claimed she looked like a character from the movie White Chicks, she decided to go ahead and use it as her costume. And if I may say so, she did a pretty dang good job. The internet is eating it up – it’s a hilarious response to Snoop’s “bullying” comments.
But compare that reaction with posts like this:
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think we should be offensive. But I also don’t think we should be hyper-sensitive – and I feel like a lot of these claims of “racism” simply aren’t. I don’t think a Lil’ Wayne hat is just as racist as black-face (as the third article claims). Because you’re not making fun of Black people. You’re making fun of Lil’ Wayne. I also think it would be more offensive to show up trick-or-treating in authentic, ceremonial Native American dress than in a fake Indian costume. Because it’s a costume, and it’s supposed to be fake and silly. If you’re dressing up in something authentic and sacred, wouldn’t that be more of a mockery?
I’m a Mormon. If you showed up on my doorstep dressed in ceremonial temple clothing, I would ask you to change. But if you showed up with a fake beard and your five sisters, dressed as Brigham Young and five of his polygamous wives, I would laugh my head off. It’s a silly holiday.
As a White woman, I know I have no right to decide what is and is not racist when it comes to other cultures. But I feel like the message being sent here is, “Don’t make fun of anyone – except White people. They deserve it. They don’t have a real culture, anyways.” I mean, if my neighbor’s seven-year-old dresses as a geisha, people might get the wrong idea about Japanese people. But when Iggy Azalea dresses as a Black man dressed as a White woman, it’s hilarious. If my Navajo friends come to my doorstep dressed as a “Basic White Girl,” with leggings, Uggs, and a pumpkin-spice latte, everybody’s gonna laugh their heads off. But if I dress like a “Basic Black Girl” or put on an inauthentic, generic “American Indian” costume, people are gonna tell me to go home and change.
I don’t think I’m hyper-sensitive. (I think Iggy’s costume is brilliant, for the record.) I guess I’m just tired of my race being considered the perpetrator of every “hate crime.” I’m tired of being the butt of every joke because nobody dares joke about anyone else. And I’m not pretending “White privilege” doesn’t exist – but so does White pain. We’re people, too. I’m just looking for some consistency: if the media wants to be culturally sensitive, they should be sensitive to all cultures. If they’re going to lighten up and take a joke, they should be willing to do that across the board. ♦