Greatest Moments in Blogging # 5 MrMary Responds to & Deals With Katy Perry’s Cultural Misappropriation

2D9769810-today-katy-perry-geisha-131125-1.blocks_desktop_medium“What you have now then is the marketing of racialized identities as tools for consumption. And certain racialized bodies and images are associated with hipness, coolness, edginess. So all kinds of youth all over the world are appropriating that style as a way of, sort of, countering authority, stating their rebelliousness, and wanting to be seen as significant.”

Amalia Mesa-BainsHomegrown: Engaged Cultural Criticism

Reactions to Katy’s Performance

Jeff Yang of the Wall Street Journal decried Perry’s “whiteface/yellowface performance” as “a harsh reminder of how deeply anchored the archetype of the exotic, self-sacrificing ‘lotus blossom’ is in the Western imagination”.

Nolan Feeney wrote in The Atlantic that “it’s these kinds of stereotypical visuals that play into white fetishization of Asian women – something Perry doesn’t have to deal with when she takes off her costume”.

Ravi Chandra of Psychology Today claimed Perry’s performance was the racist equivalent of performing in blackface.

The Reality

Ms Perry’s job is to entertain people. Judging from her vocal range and lack of singing talent, she is cashing in on her fame as much as possible before her 15 minutes run out.  I believe her  intentions were not to come across as a bigot or racist, but like the  Southerner at the corner of the bar in Memphis dreaming about making his sister’s mouth pregnant, spewing off offensive rants every time a black guy dunk on and places his nuts on some white players chin- well you get where I am going.

The Bottom line is that cultural stereotypes are harmful and deadly especially in America. I think its terribly for someone to say as the following reporter has said:

Why all the fuss over Katy Perry‘s geisha performance at the AMAs? Perry’s Asian routine could have been a lot worse. There were no fake accents or eyelid jokes. This wasn’t blatant ‘yellowface’

I know that not every Asian person was offended. I also know that some people founds her performance cute and beautiful but, for all my Asian readers please listen!

This is how it starts

Follow me to the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University.

The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia in Big Rapids, Mich. says it has amassed the nation’s largest public collection of artifacts spanning the segregation era, from Reconstruction until the civil rights movement, and beyond. The displays are startling. The n-word is prevalent throughout, and many items portray black men as lazy, violent or inarticulate. Black women are shown as kerchief-wearing mammies, sexually charged Jezebels or other stereotypes.

It starts with old sterotypes from a seemingly by gone age. People think to themselves, “we are not like that any more times are changed.” Of course no one realizes that it takes only only a little time for these stereotypes to be internalized, digested and incorporated into one’s world view. That has dire consequences. Because blacks men  are see as violent sexualized beings that live for nothing more than to get in some white lady’s suga-walls, destroy families, work menial jobs, and procreate excessively to cheat the system, the police use extreme, sometimes extra judicial tactics to “police” our neighborhoods. There was a Sikh massacre in Wisconsin, taxi cab drivers stabbed or spit on in NYC, because they look “Muslim”. I’m not even bringing up the internment of Japanese America during WW2, or the abuses the Chinese immigrants faced here in the states, or that in the green Hornet Bruce lee had to play a subservient role to a white man or the “Asian woman fetish”.

Seriously Now

Speak up now or forever hold the cries and deaths of the innocents in your memories as you watch more lives being taken.

Before you know it, you might end up like Renisha McBride – shot in the face with a rifle looking for help after a car crash or like Kalief Browder  who as a teenager was as a teen was thrown in a violent New York jail For 3 Years Without Ever Having Been Convicted, spending 100 days in solitary beaten by both guards and by inmates.


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