Racialicious’s AJ Plaid talks about “hipster racism”, in the context of the New Yorker Obama cover debacle:
I define hipster racism (I’m borrowing the phrase from Carmen Van Kerckhove) as ideas, speech, and action meant to denigrate another’s person race or ethnicity under the guise of being urbane, witty (meaning “ironic” nowadays), educated, liberal, and/or trendy.
AJ goes on to explain:
Well, some of the New Yorker editorial staffers, in trying to demonstrate these traits, showed themselves far more closely aligned to some of those “hardworking white folks” who may hold these beliefs that the Obamas aren’t true Americans, who will use the White House to carry out the collective and international people of color revenge against white people, as the high afro-wearing Black militants (think 6os era Black Panthers) and non-Western garbed folks seem to signify in the popular consciousness. The editorial staffers also must not have heard the ad nauseum arguments of their fellow media workers employing racist and sexist stereotypes of presenting the Obamas as “angry”—especially presenting Michelle as an “angry, vengeful Black woman,” as the cover more subtly conveys with the framed picture of Osama bin Laden over the fireplace, which has a burning flag in it. In other words, the New Yorker cover isn’t hip at all; it’s damn tired.
I agree. But I have to admit, I’m less incensed by hipster racism on the part of the New Yorker, which at least tried to be satirical even if the satire fell flat as a three-day-old Coke, than I am by more local examples of hipster racism that are just flat-out stupid.
When a 25-year-old Manhattan graduate student who was assaulted Tuesday night got dressed that morning, she probably didn’t anticipate that her T-shirt would provoke four teens into shoving her, pulling out her earphones and spitting in her face.
Then again, with a shirt sporting the slogan, “Obama is my slave,” it may have been wise to consider the possibility.
Now she’s suing the $69 shirt’s designer, Apollo Braun, for “all he’s got,” the designer claims.
I have only one thing to say about this.
She paid $69 for that?