A brief meditation on white twerking

Just something to think about.

The Weekly Sift

One of the more interesting discussions to come out of Miley Cyrus’ controversial performance at the Video Music Award (which I gave links for two weeks ago) concerns cultural exploitation: When is it OK or not OK to steal or borrow from an ethnic culture not your own?

White people (like me) have trouble wrapping our minds around this topic, because we’d prefer to ignore power imbalances and express everything in terms of universal principles. When you do that, examples of whites “stealing” from black culture (like Elvis, Eminem, and even Paul Simon) look just like blacks participating in European genres like opera or classical. If you want to get stupid about it, you can make your principles so sweeping that whites shouldn’t make tacos and only Greeks should teach Plato.

I’ve been looking for an analogy that would bring the power dynamics back into the…

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Published by: Symone P. Harris

A recent graduate of Northwestern University, Symone is the alias of someone who doesn't want her parents or future employers to know this blog exists, not for fear of persecution, but simply because she already has one too many social networking platforms under her real name. Contact her via twitter for more comprehensive information.

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