#RANT: Black Lips and Racism

Ladies and gentlemen, here we have it again. Even in the colorful, seemingly utopian world of MAC makeup, racism never fails to rear its ugly head. Let’s dive into the rant.

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First, a bit of background. MAC posted a silhouette shot of a model sporting the Matte Royal lip color on their Instagram on February 17th. Just another edgy photo to promote MAC’s lip line? Not so fast. This particular post got a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle racist comments, including:

  1. “Holy shit I thought this was Jay Z.”

  2. “Them fish lips tho”

  3. [this one just hits home on the racism] “Nigga lips?”

Of course, I found these comments absolutely horrifying and disturbing, but that was not the thing that infuriated me the most.

Two things I cannot tolerate at all: the justification of reverse racism and the proposition that we need to be color blind. I think my intolerance rooted from personal experience. My high school classmates just used that word whenever I brought up white supremacy. They’d cross their arms and say, “well if you are accusing us, then aren’t you marginalizing us? Treat people the way you want to be treated!” When I was applying for colleges and was afraid my race would prevent me from entering into my top choice school, white friends scoffed at me: “Your race doesn’t matter! They just look at you as a person!”

What a convenient, idealistic reassurance. Such simplistic, elementary-school-level reductions of racism. The sad thing is, African slaves were not freed if they smiled up friendlily at their masters. Illegal immigrants being swiftly deported or not getting access to education could not solve things by giving that local governor a hearty, genuine handshake. Asian Americans work hard and have become the model minority and everyone tells us we defeated racism – but we are far from equals to white people – instead they dehumanize us, calling us robots who just know how to memorize facts. Meanwhile, people soothe us, saying that we are all human after all, we all just need to love each other, the world is beautiful, race is no more. Empty, vague words with nothing substantial to grasp onto because society doesn’t work. Like. That.

So thanks but no thanks.

Racism is not a matter of being nice to each other. I wish was as easy as solving a dispute among two children. But it’s an institutional repression enforced and expanded throughout our history. It is echoed throughout social, cultural, political, and economic systems. So when I see this:

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And even this:

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I want to rip my eyes out Oedipus style. Why, you ask? First, reverse racism is not an institutional reality, because racism comes from a place of power and privilege – the minority does not have that privilege in the first place. Second, racism implies oppression, and by god, white people will never be oppressed. In America’s short history, they have been powerful in numbers and in important political positions. White people have a long way to go before they can be systematically oppressed, so don’t give me that fake white victim shit.

As for the whole post-racial push towards color blindness, I mean, come on. That’s just the hear no evil see no evil, using ignorance to escape injustice tactic. Yeah, we could all put blindfolds on and repeat to our selves, “Gender does not exist. Race does not exist. Poverty does not exist. We are just human, living in a world with other humans.” But, let’s wake ourselves up to reality please. Race most definitely exists – it is internalized into our beauty standards, our treatment of people, our self-perception.To address issues of racism, one must first acknowledge race (and therefore racism) exists, instead of running away like a baby.

That is all. That is all.

 

 

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7 thoughts on “#RANT: Black Lips and Racism

  1. First off, I want to say that you do not have any facts to support your claims. Yes, the racist comments on that photo are horrible, but in an age where everything is seen, there are trolls EVERYWHERE. No one is safe from haters. The media LOVES this, it loves to see people hating each other, it makes great news. But I digress, you said that
    -“Second, racism implies oppression, and by god, white people will never be oppressed. In America’s short history, they have been powerful in numbers and in important political positions. White people have a long way to go before they can be systematically oppressed, so don’t give me that fake white victim shit.”

    Now anyone who knows even a fraction of history, just let that sink in. Your so angry at “white people”, and yet you have no knowledge of the oppression “white people” have faced as well. In the United States between 18th and 19th century, irish and Italians were systematically oppressed and often treated were worse than animals. I suggest you read a bit about the history of the Scots and the Irish. Then move on to the Italians. Then maybe, if you haven’t realized you’re wrong yet, take a look at Jewish history. And also, Russia is enormous, with a lot of power issues over the surrounding lands, Poland for example.
    Wake up. The world will never be perfect, power is always craved, but it is up to you to decide if the words used against you hold any power. I am a woman, I’ve been told I can’t do what boys can do. Boo fucking hoo, I stood up and kicked the soccer ball, hit a home run, shot every type of gun and many other nameless things someone once said I can’t do because of something I can’t control, being a woman. I didn’t rely on the media for the strength to defy, I showed them they were wrong. So what I have to say here is, everyone needs to stop complaining, SHOW them they are wrong. No one likes hearing the same old rant, it solves nothing but points fingers in other directions. Try growing a set and telling those guys to stop wasting their time hating on people more successful than them. Let’s be honest, that model hopefully made a good deal off of that photo. All she had to do was show her perfectly symmetrical mouth. Good for her.

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    1. Hey, although I wish you would have been more respectful in voicing your opinions, I think you misunderstand. Of course, outside the system of racism, white people have been oppressed by other white people. Within the racial spectrum however, that is simply not true. I think you took a distinction I made about whether white people can be oppressed racially in a white supremacy, and twisted my words to mean that I think everyone should not be oppressed at all. We can’t solve every single problem in the world, but using your very passive, cynical mentality doesn’t do much good. All in all, I apologize if I was unclear, but I’m addressing oppression in the sphere of racial discrimination. If you still disagree with me, please read this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/reverse-racism-isnt-a-thing_us_55d60a91e4b07addcb45da97

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    2. Besides, the whole idea of shooting guns and kicking soccer balls is in reality complying to traditional stereotypes of what it means to be a man – trying to masculinize yourself doesn’t do much in terms of actually addressing sexism; it only perpetrates it by reinforcing male stereotypes. You did not really defy the stereotype, but in fact, you played into it. It seems like you really didn’t want to kick a soccer ball because it was fun, but just to prove that you can be masculine in the most stereotypically masculine way.

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      1. The point was I did what I loved despite being told I can’t do it like a man. The same principle can be applied everywhere. Do what you love, be passionate, be kind, or be an asshole if that’s what you want. My point is that listening to what others say about you to the point where it debilitates you is the problem here.

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      2. OK, that’s fair, then I think we are on the same page. I would agree with your point. But I do believe using media to voice critiques is just as powerful, since many people really live off social media, and receive a lot of influence from online sources.

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