We’re One in the Same?

In class this week, we discussed the perspective that some have of “variety is the spice of life” and to how this can quickly turn into the equally troublesome perspective of being “color-blind.” Being so celebratory of multiculturalism can easily turn into race erasure. Regarding diversity in race as simply variety or something to keep life interesting is diminishing of the serious struggles that people of all races have had to endure, past and present. After discussing these topics in class, I looked introspectively at my own experiences with these concepts. This brought back my feelings and understanding of a … Read more

Can a White Person be a Good Ally?

After stumbling upon Macklemore’s “White Privilege II,” I was excited to hear what he had to say. It felt like a direct application of the concepts that we had been learning in Contemporary Racism. The song directly references protest slogans from the Black Lives Matter Movement, police brutality, the double standard of hip-hop, and (of course) white privilege. He goes as far as to call himself out for the base of his fame from—and the history surrounding—cultural appropriation of Black music. Hell, he even goes as far as to include a Black artist, so that must mean he is doing … Read more

“Cultural Appropriation” – Where Do We Draw the Line?

One of the most widely used terms in discussions about race is the phrase “cultural appropriation.” And yet despite its frequent usage, cultural appropriation is one of the most controversial concepts. It is especially difficult to understand in conversation with the arts. The primary purpose of the arts is arguably to provide a medium for creative and emotional expression of the artist(s). The visual arts allow for creative expression devoid of auditory stimuli. The performing arts such as dance, theatre, and music allow for emotional expressivity with the added features of motion, sound, and/or words. Hans Christian Andersen once said … Read more

Don’t We All Culturally Appropriate?

In light of the recent posts regarding the performance of historical dance works by Muhlenberg College students as cultural appropriation, I find myself questioning cultural appropriation, its nature, what is appropriate, and what is not. To put it even more simply, can anyone really emulate someone else’s experience via performance? And if not, what is the point of performance, if it is not to express an experience of an artist? In my opinion, it comes out of individual perspective and individual accounts of the purpose behind art.  If someone of color sees a performance as offensive and a direct account … Read more

From Blackface to Blaxploitation: Racism and Representation in Entertainment

At some point this week, I came across a BuzzFeed post entitled, “The BuzzFeed Black History Reading List,” which included a series of essays and articles reflecting upon the end of Black History Month. One of the articles in this post shines an accusatory spotlight down on Hollywood’s use of Blackface today. After some initial disbelief and some precursory digging, I found the amount of performers who have performed in blackface appalling and the names I cam across equally as shocking. And, no, these were not performers from the Civil Rights Era-America of the 1960s; these were household names that are … Read more