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.
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:
“Holy shit I thought this was Jay Z.”
“Them fish lips tho”
[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:
And even this:
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.