Bryan’s Question Corner #6

Here is my question for Wages of Whiteness sections 1 and 2:

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Whitewashing vs. Racebending

The past few decades alone bear witness to numerous accounts of cross-racial casting in the movie industry – some as obvious as a white man in brown-face playing an Indian character, and some as seemingly innocuous as a white Mean Girls character who apparently originates from Africa. Continue reading

Racecraft Redefined

Although we did not spend much time discussing the book Racecraft in class, I like how Karen and Barbara Fields connected race to the idea of witchcraft and created “Racecraft”. The authors drawing a distinction between race, racism, and racecraft has made it easier for me to understand how each evolves from the other. Race, the idea that nature produced humankind in distinct groups, racism, a social practice that is an action towards someone based on ancestry and race, and Racecraft, which does not refer to groups or ideas about groups, and cannot be physically seen but is what sustains racism. Continue reading

Miley Cyrus: The Cultural Bandit

While watching the 2013 Video Music Awards, 10 million viewers found their jaws glued to the floor after Miley Cyrus’ raunchy, disturbing, and provocative display performing Robin Thicke’s hit single, Blurred Lines.  In case you missed it, take a minute to watch the clip below.

Disclaimer: If you recently ate, please take a moment to digest before attempting to watch this video. The content is highly graphic and suggestive which may cause an upset stomach.


This performance brought a lot of heat and attention to Miley Cyrus for being “over the top”. The world was shocked and left asking why?  A CBS News article titled, “Miley Cyrus’ booty-shaking VMA performance gets quite the reaction,” quoted former NSYNC member, Lance Bass, “I didn’t know I had to warn them that their little Hannah Montana was going to be naked and humping a finger.” Everyone was shocked at Cyrus’ transformation from America’s Disney Channel sweetheart, Hannah Montana, to rump-shaking, grill-wearing, “ghetto” Miley Cyrus. However, looking at this performance objectively, Cyrus’ intent is quite clear; do what it takes to gain attention because there is no such thing as bad press. Thus, what makes her VMA showing problematic is not why she did it, but rather, how she did it. That night, America witnessed the manifestation of cultural appropriation that propelled Miley’s career forward at the expense of respect for the black culture, which she attempted to mimic.
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Am I Black?

Regardless of my mixed race heritage, I was raised by my parents to represent myself as a proud black man. When people see a person and surmise that they are ‘mixed’, they will generally assume one black parent and one white parent. If my heritage proves anything, it shows the impossibility of generalizing this idea of a ‘mixed person’. Continue reading