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White Negroes: When Cornrows Were in Vogue ... and Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation

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Exposes the new generation of whiteness thriving at the expense and borrowed ingenuity of black people—and explores how this intensifies racial inequality. American culture loves blackness. From music and fashion to activism and language, black culture constantly achieves worldwide influence. Yet, when it comes to who is allowed to thrive from black hipness, the pioneers Exposes the new generation of whiteness thriving at the expense and borrowed ingenuity of black people—and explores how this intensifies racial inequality. American culture loves blackness. From music and fashion to activism and language, black culture constantly achieves worldwide influence. Yet, when it comes to who is allowed to thrive from black hipness, the pioneers are usually left behind as black aesthetics are converted into mainstream success—and white profit. Weaving together narrative, scholarship, and critique, Lauren Michele Jackson reveals why cultural appropriation—something that’s become embedded in our daily lives—deserves serious attention. It is a blueprint for taking wealth and power, and ultimately exacerbates the economic, political, and social inequity that persists in America. She unravels the racial contradictions lurking behind American culture as we know it—from shapeshifting celebrities and memes gone viral to brazen poets, loveable potheads, and faulty political leaders. An audacious debut, White Negroes brilliantly summons a re-interrogation of Norman Mailer’s infamous 1957 essay of a similar name. It also introduces a bold new voice in Jackson. Piercing, curious, and bursting with pop cultural touchstones, White Negroes is a dispatch in awe of black creativity everywhere and an urgent call for our thoughtful consumption.


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Exposes the new generation of whiteness thriving at the expense and borrowed ingenuity of black people—and explores how this intensifies racial inequality. American culture loves blackness. From music and fashion to activism and language, black culture constantly achieves worldwide influence. Yet, when it comes to who is allowed to thrive from black hipness, the pioneers Exposes the new generation of whiteness thriving at the expense and borrowed ingenuity of black people—and explores how this intensifies racial inequality. American culture loves blackness. From music and fashion to activism and language, black culture constantly achieves worldwide influence. Yet, when it comes to who is allowed to thrive from black hipness, the pioneers are usually left behind as black aesthetics are converted into mainstream success—and white profit. Weaving together narrative, scholarship, and critique, Lauren Michele Jackson reveals why cultural appropriation—something that’s become embedded in our daily lives—deserves serious attention. It is a blueprint for taking wealth and power, and ultimately exacerbates the economic, political, and social inequity that persists in America. She unravels the racial contradictions lurking behind American culture as we know it—from shapeshifting celebrities and memes gone viral to brazen poets, loveable potheads, and faulty political leaders. An audacious debut, White Negroes brilliantly summons a re-interrogation of Norman Mailer’s infamous 1957 essay of a similar name. It also introduces a bold new voice in Jackson. Piercing, curious, and bursting with pop cultural touchstones, White Negroes is a dispatch in awe of black creativity everywhere and an urgent call for our thoughtful consumption.

30 review for White Negroes: When Cornrows Were in Vogue ... and Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest Wow!! What a great collection of essays. Considering how short this book is, I am honestly so impressed by how thorough and detailed each of these essays are, and how each one of them stands alone and comes full circle by the end of the chapter. By the time I finished and closed the cover, I felt like I had learned so much. Cultural appropriation is one of those terms that tends to put people on the defensive, even though it's really Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest Wow!! What a great collection of essays. Considering how short this book is, I am honestly so impressed by how thorough and detailed each of these essays are, and how each one of them stands alone and comes full circle by the end of the chapter. By the time I finished and closed the cover, I felt like I had learned so much. Cultural appropriation is one of those terms that tends to put people on the defensive, even though it's really important to understand why it's harmful, and how it relates to privilege. This book is all about cultural appropriation and privilege, and it's written in a way that makes it virtually accessible to virtually everyone because of how concisely and logically it identifies problematic behaviors and why they cause pain. I challenge even the most bigoted person to pick this book up and not learn anything from it. Even if you don't agree with the author, you will at least understand why it's upsetting to individuals of color when white people don pastel locs to fashion shows or Coachella, and how erasure and white-washing remove people of color from key discussions about race and equality, and even from pop culture. Some of the subjects that the author wrote about that I found particularly interesting were, of course, the appropriation of black and rap culture by white people (focusing specifically on Miley Cyrus and Christina Aguilera, but also applied more broadly) and how that ties into the fetishization of people and women of color; cultural appropriation in fashion (tying back to the title of the book, and focusing on locs and box braids); black slang and Black Twitter and how pop culture borrows from the innovations of black people without giving credit or acknowledgement, leading to the ultimate white-washing and erasure of the origin of these references; Paula Deen, and the idealization of the historic South (while omitting slavery); activisim, feminism, and intersectionality; and then, throughout the book, the importance of BLM and how racism influences oppression and inequality. When I put down this book, I actually thought to myself, "WOW." In all caps. Wow, I learned so much and I still have so much more to learn. Wow, this book is so important and everyone should read it, because it will either validate you or educate you (or both), and it's written in such an affirming, engaging way. Even though the title is somewhat provocative and controversial, the text is not. It's matter-of-fact, and just states things as they are (with evidence to back it up). Racism is still a HUGE problem in the United States, and the world at large, and I think having dialogues-- as the author did, by writing this book-- and laying out these issues in the open where they're much harder to ignore is a key step in tackling the inherent inequality that is still such an integral part of our country's makeup. Read this book and boost this author-- she's amazing. I can't wait to see what she does next. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 4 to 4.5 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    Did the people who gave this book one star (and are, unsurprisingly, white) even read it? They leave no reviews, which leads me to believe they didn’t, or they know their opinions of the book are wrong. So I’m rating this book five stars to even things out until I actually get a chance to read it next month. At that point I will update my rating and provide an appropriate review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Monte Price

    I'm honestly not in a place to talk about the themes of this book in any kind of intelligent manner. A lot of the things discussed here have been discussed in various think pieces on various sites and by a plethora of people; plenty of whom are referenced in this collection of essays. I'm calling them a collection of essays though I'm not really sure that's an appropriate term. All of that said, despite a lot of this already being things that I've read or been exposed to, there was plenty that I I'm honestly not in a place to talk about the themes of this book in any kind of intelligent manner. A lot of the things discussed here have been discussed in various think pieces on various sites and by a plethora of people; plenty of whom are referenced in this collection of essays. I'm calling them a collection of essays though I'm not really sure that's an appropriate term. All of that said, despite a lot of this already being things that I've read or been exposed to, there was plenty that I wasn't and Jackson does a remarkable job of expressing themselves over the course of this book. There were so many moments I found myself wanting to engage with the text [ and being mad that I couldn't because I'd checked it out from the library ], mostly because Jackson was able to take a thought I'd had or an idea I'd seen expressed elsewhere and crystalize it in a way that I just found enchanting. I really cannot recommend this book more, to everyone really. It's a book I know in the future I'll return to time and again.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    Quick read and fascinating book. Very insightful. I recall this subject being discuss back in the '90's. And have always recognized white cultures stealing of music from the black community-that's gone on for decades. When I first learned of this back in the 70's I was pretty appalled that none of the rock stars of the day, who admitted stealing, weren't giving reparations to those black artists.... Every culture borrows from other cultures, that's a given. It's how cultures blend and grow. But Quick read and fascinating book. Very insightful. I recall this subject being discuss back in the '90's. And have always recognized white cultures stealing of music from the black community-that's gone on for decades. When I first learned of this back in the 70's I was pretty appalled that none of the rock stars of the day, who admitted stealing, weren't giving reparations to those black artists.... Every culture borrows from other cultures, that's a given. It's how cultures blend and grow. But I have never thought it right that anyone should make millions off of thievery. It's just wrong. Lately, I'm also beginning to hear talk of cultural appropriation of tacos...they've gone global and some folks aren't happy about it. Five stars for being well-written and well researched. Direct, straight to the point and no nonsense, I loved it! Thank you Ms. Jackson. I received an advance copy from the publisher in exchange for a fair review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    I don’t know what I expected going into this book but it was outstanding and so thought provoking. She totally told me about myself as a white woman. Jackson is an incredible writer and I will read whatever she writes in the future.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Chidester

    Finally have been given the cultural events with sharp insightful dialogue and the educational tools to explain to my peers just how deep the impact of cultural appropriation is. Loved the layout of the book and would read anything this author puts out moving forward.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    "to those who count themselves allies, may these essays make you a little less sure of yourselves" I started following LMJ for her really, really great, like I think I may have learned more from them than this book, and I learned a bunch from this book, articles on cultural appropriation in the cases of Awkwafina in Crazy Rich Asians + Ariana Grande. Read them!!! https://www.vulture.com/2018/08/awkwa... https://www.vulture.com/2019/01/a-dee... In them she doesn't really address the question of -- "to those who count themselves allies, may these essays make you a little less sure of yourselves" I started following LMJ for her really, really great, like I think I may have learned more from them than this book, and I learned a bunch from this book, articles on cultural appropriation in the cases of Awkwafina in Crazy Rich Asians + Ariana Grande. Read them!!! https://www.vulture.com/2018/08/awkwa... https://www.vulture.com/2019/01/a-dee... In them she doesn't really address the question of -- are they Problematic -- so much as suggest that is the wrong question. Once we acknowledge how culture, language, memes transmit -- unintentionally, zigzaggedly -- we realize that it's not a matter of "the thief who cherry-picked from outside for material gain," but that our exploitative systems function as systems, accumulations of subconsciousnesses that metastasize After reading those pieces I was wondering, and then what, what can/do we do? Does acknowledging the systemic nature of things mean we let individuals of the hook? (no, given the biting dissections she gives individuals here) Something she kinda addresses in the book. But more on that later I have my instincts about appropriation but often when I try to rationalize them my mind gets jumbled by philosophical nonstarters like what is it, what is culture, etc. How LMJ (doesn't, but maybe doesn't have to) address these is interesting, only at the end does she offer an explicit sense of how she views culture as "incoherent and confusing and borderless just as much as it is shared and trenchant and guarded and intuited." LMJ thinks about memes/webs rather than fixed concepts, murkinesses from which, by virtue of their murkiness, we can intuit insights/parallels across time and space. I think through this I've learned that philosophy, with its rigidity, isn't the right lens to approach this topic; rather, history, linguistics, poetry -- the beautiful writing of this book, a lens in of itself Thinking about her approach to the "essentialism" that is "black language": she makes what feel like intentionally broad assertions, "black language as much ascribes a community as a grammar; is a diction, a style, a politics all at once"; memes are inflected by a "black spirit," constantly innovating "traditions that know themselves to be up for grabs," "moving as if constantly surveilled." Poetic parallels more than philosophical definitions, which again isn't a criticism. Assertions from the gut, within a community that knows itself, that creates things for itself and not for outsiders despite what those outsiders think That said I (as a outsider) don't know if that essay really gelled for me the ways other did, those that more clearly addressed -- something, where it came from, how it was taken, why -- the desire, as she stresses, to take, and what that says about how society views/treats black people -- and how those who took profit while black creators don't The desire: for white women pop stars, taking from black women as a shortcut to sexuality reveals both how society exalts white female innocence and hypersexualizes black women; Joe Scanlan, taking only the identity (rather than history, community, culture) of a black woman reveals how he believes that to be "the only worthwhile feature" (how she fries him without ignoring his black collaborators is honest and genius) Aside to talk about the art essay, my 2nd favorite! Really sharp her analysis that what's painful isn't just the taking, but the lack of humility it reveals on Kenneth Goldsmith's behalf, the belatedness and hence cheapness of Dana Schutz's empathy (cont lol) for hipsters/poverty tourists, taking comes from the "yearn[ing]… to reconcile his place in the violently modern society that could at any moment see him dead with the inheritance that would see him at the helm of the same violent society if it all goes to plan. The hipster seeks out "the Negro" because from who better to learn the transitive properties of living than the community who could never take life for granted?" Often she is empathetic to the takers. Besides the quote above, she notes she loves Xtina. Her portraits of Rachel Dolezal, Paula Deen mention their abusive pasts. Which is surprising but also honest/necessary/powerful? Here we see the system is rotten, if it makes ordinary humans into exploiters, and also made of ordinary humans My favorite essay, and the one I wanted the most to give me more, was the fashion essay, for its assertion that for things to really change, for black people to really get the credit/resources they deserve, we have to essentially end intellectual property! Maybe not the right word for it. But we have to end (paraphrasing) houses, high vs. low, crediting designers rather than makers, ignoring where things really come from across time (old trends) and space. "It might mean the end of fashion." I wanted this point to be broadened, to be made in every essay, though specifically, not just general "revolution," because I'm not quite sure how to do it myself. How can we reorganize our resource distribution to fit how ideas really travel -- unintentionally, zigzaggedly, bottom up? Tempted to take one star off because sometimes I felt the book could've been streamlined against asides and things that have felt already written about (particularly the final essay about the Women's March/whiteness, belatedness, complacency of its feminism), at other times slowed down (sometimes she'd land on a beautifully written kicker and I'd be like wow! But then think, wait what does that mean?). But then I put that star back on because it was clearly good enough to drive me to write a million word review, that still couldn't find room for these bits: -she analogizes how memes seem to take a life of their own, and hence their success doesn't entail success for their black creators, with how tech companies make their services appear humanless, disregarding workers' rights. Also juxtaposes the marginalization and criminalization of scrappy black small businesses with how tech companies like Uber, Airbnb are celebrated for their "innovative" rulebreaking -on watching viral police brutality, being "witnesses … to an event that forms the horizon of our existence"; even with videos that are known to end (relatively) safely, "the fear that "some glitch will peel back the statistical plausibility behind the counterfactual playing out before my eyes" -"in the context of wealth and power - who has it and who doesn't - America's allegedly unique ability to take in hybridity and generate more of it looks more like the survivalist motivations of capitalism than amity or cosmopolitanism" (wow wow wow) -white progressive "anger picked up and dropped off like dry cleaning"

  8. 5 out of 5

    Zoe's Human

    Cultural appropriation is a topic about which I could read endlessly and still not fully understand. For one thing, I'm a bit culturally disconnected—oblivious for the most part to the Twitterverse, the music scene, and filmed media until some major event occurs that transfixes the world (and sometimes even then). For yet another, culture is complex and racism is complex thus cultural appropriation is exponentially so. This collection of essays delves into the complexities of cultural Cultural appropriation is a topic about which I could read endlessly and still not fully understand. For one thing, I'm a bit culturally disconnected—oblivious for the most part to the Twitterverse, the music scene, and filmed media until some major event occurs that transfixes the world (and sometimes even then). For yet another, culture is complex and racism is complex thus cultural appropriation is exponentially so. This collection of essays delves into the complexities of cultural appropriation. As with most academic works, it reads a bit dry; however, it is only lightly so given the topic at hand. It begs for more than one read to fully appreciate as it contains within 175 pages an astonishing amount of information requiring an intensity and depth of thought and consideration beyond what one normally finds even in tomes exceeding 500. I received a complimentary copy of this book via a Goodreads giveaway. Many thanks to all involved in providing me with this opportunity.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I’ve been using cultural appropriation as a controversy to teach my Intro Comp class for the last three semesters, mostly because it doesn’t have any easy answers or easy lines to draw. Jackson knows that, and through some very detailed research she considers the roots of cultural appropriation and the ramifications of those realities. She doesn’t attempt to draw the broad lines that my college freshmen so desperately want drawn, because she considers revolution to be the only way to remake a I’ve been using cultural appropriation as a controversy to teach my Intro Comp class for the last three semesters, mostly because it doesn’t have any easy answers or easy lines to draw. Jackson knows that, and through some very detailed research she considers the roots of cultural appropriation and the ramifications of those realities. She doesn’t attempt to draw the broad lines that my college freshmen so desperately want drawn, because she considers revolution to be the only way to remake a racist system. So, pragmatically, she wants people to *think* about why we appropriate and what it means, whether considering Paula Deen, Christina Aguilera, or the legalization of weed. She makes a very good argument that the constant appropriation of, particularly, African-American culture is based on desire, power, and the way that white America cannot reconcile the wish for power over black culture, even as white America desires the creativity of black culture. A very academic, detailed read. I, at the tail end of Gen X, felt lost with some of the tech and pop cultural references that Jackson makes. I could be aging out of relevance, but I do wish that Jackson hadn’t assumed her audience to be quite as familiar with the minutiae of those areas, especially since I do think people like me, academic but wishing to be better informed allies, should be an audience for a fascinating and informative book like this. I just wanted a few more explanations and a little more context at times; I had to google multiple references to memes and Kardashian-related details, for instance (yes, I had no clue about Crying Jordan — I admit it. Sigh). She is fully a millennial author when it comes to immersion in pop culture and social media, with the good and the challenging entailed by that.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    A smart discussion of white appropriation of black culture.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Timothy

    An interesting analysis of the cultural shift and application of African American cultural creations and developments in music, technology and language among other aspects that have significantly influenced the greater American community and specifically to the younger Caucasian American generations born within the last thirty or so years. For those that are interested in the concept of cultural appropriation, this book using different imagery and examples illustrating the ever changing aspects An interesting analysis of the cultural shift and application of African American cultural creations and developments in music, technology and language among other aspects that have significantly influenced the greater American community and specifically to the younger Caucasian American generations born within the last thirty or so years. For those that are interested in the concept of cultural appropriation, this book using different imagery and examples illustrating the ever changing aspects of American culture and society, this book is a great educational yet simplified critique and analysis. It should be noted that while the book divides this "cultural appropriation" into distinct categories such as economics, politics, technology, language, music, etc., the book is less than 200 pages meaning the amount of information and examples is somewhat simplified and condensed, but nevertheless worth a second look. Well done. **I received this as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tricia Sean

    This book is amazing in that it was so short, yet managed to thoroughly cover so many area in the essays that pulled together in an amazing manner. I think within the black community we've seen appropriation in this manner FOREVER but we didn't do the research. Lauren Michele Jackson did. The book is more of a 4.5, but I'm rounding it to a 5. Recieved as a goodreads giveaway. What a gift!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Aolund

    Jackson’s book of essays is a stylish, incisive, and insightful collection on a labyrinthine topic. In writing about music, art, language, pop stars, chefs, entrepreneurs, memes and more, Jackson performs multiple balancing acts: the book discusses both historic and hyper-modern examples of cultural appropriation in language which hovers pleasantly between academic and informal, and Jackson is unafraid to be funny, earnest, despairing, inspired, committed, and angry in equal measure. These Jackson’s book of essays is a stylish, incisive, and insightful collection on a labyrinthine topic. In writing about music, art, language, pop stars, chefs, entrepreneurs, memes and more, Jackson performs multiple balancing acts: the book discusses both historic and hyper-modern examples of cultural appropriation in language which hovers pleasantly between academic and informal, and Jackson is unafraid to be funny, earnest, despairing, inspired, committed, and angry in equal measure. These essays explore and complicate the various ways cultural appropriation can look and occur in an attempt to show not how easily understandable this phenomenon is but rather how pervasive, constant, and complex are its manifestations—and how this complexity doesn’t foreclose the importance of thinking about solutions. As Jackson writes in the book’s conclusion, saying it best herself, “Appropriative gestures are devilish in their contortions, every bit as convoluted as they make you feel by sussing them out…Our world deserves reordering. Only under a transformation on that scale could I ever imagine a version of society in which black people have options instead of destinies, options instead of statistics” (172).

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    A fantastic collection of essays that shed insight on different forms of cultural appropriation and the effects that it has on the Black community in America. My favorites were; Chapter 1 - The Pop Star: Swinging and Singing, Chapter 4 - The Hipster: The New White Negro, and Chapter 8 - The Entrepreneur: A Bit Free Jackson gave me a better idea of the language I could potentially use when I'm explaining to someone why cultural appropriation is damaging and downright insulting. This book helped me A fantastic collection of essays that shed insight on different forms of cultural appropriation and the effects that it has on the Black community in America. My favorites were; Chapter 1 - The Pop Star: Swinging and Singing, Chapter 4 - The Hipster: The New White Negro, and Chapter 8 - The Entrepreneur: A Bit Free Jackson gave me a better idea of the language I could potentially use when I'm explaining to someone why cultural appropriation is damaging and downright insulting. This book helped me cement my decision to not engage or spend my money with businesses or companies that profit off appropriation, no matter how small it may appear to be. All around a very good read!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    3.75 stars. This book made me really angry - Black people can't have anything (music, food, culture, even pain) without white people wanting to own it. I sucked my teeth and my blood boiled as Dr. Lauren Michele Jackson provided example upon example about how such culture vultures some white people can be. In part I think this was a critique of cultural appropriation and an indictment of social media. Jackson shows how cultural appropriation has been with us pretty much since the invention of 3.75 stars. This book made me really angry - Black people can't have anything (music, food, culture, even pain) without white people wanting to own it. I sucked my teeth and my blood boiled as Dr. Lauren Michele Jackson provided example upon example about how such culture vultures some white people can be. In part I think this was a critique of cultural appropriation and an indictment of social media. Jackson shows how cultural appropriation has been with us pretty much since the invention of white people, but it is now exacerbated by social media. The book steadily kept my attention in the first half as it was clever in the way that it exposed the methods and techniques of whiteness though the latter half seemed to throw many ideas out there that I wished could have been unpacked more. This book could have easily been 200 pages longer and I would have been here for it. I'm interested to read more from Dr. Jackson as White Negroes has intrigued me. Highly recommended to all consumers of social media and Black culture (both directly and indirectly).

  16. 4 out of 5

    Makini

    This was excellent!!! It's like she turned my brains into words and put it on a page. Anyone who writes a criticism of this book via statements like "I'm not convinced," "where is the evidence," or "all culture is shared" is probably doing a lot of appropriating. Jackson gives plenty of evidence (citations run abundant) and she explicitly states that Power defines appropriation. Anyone who is not convinced doesn't really want to be. I especially love the chapter on food; as #foodjustice is a This was excellent!!! It's like she turned my brains into words and put it on a page. Anyone who writes a criticism of this book via statements like "I'm not convinced," "where is the evidence," or "all culture is shared" is probably doing a lot of appropriating. Jackson gives plenty of evidence (citations run abundant) and she explicitly states that Power defines appropriation. Anyone who is not convinced doesn't really want to be. I especially love the chapter on food; as #foodjustice is a topic near and dear to my heart. I have heartily protested gentrified tacos, ramen, and fried chicken for a decade. This text should be taught in school. Great opportunity to discuss the flow of culture, cultural capital and the consequential economic gain, or loss depending on one's racial status.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    It’s a hairstyle. Get over yourself.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    I couldn’t get through this book. I’ve been trying to read a lot of books to challenge my perspective. I would be reading this one and not be able to follow the point the author was making because of all the examples given. It could’ve been my headspace.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Doris Raines

    AWESOME BOOK IN MY LIBRARY A —MUST—

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tamara

    I went into reading this book with an open mind. I knew the book was going to be about race and for the most it was but it wasn't just about race. This book was very insightful and shocking. It is heavy book with lots of information and facts/examples. In this book, Ms. Jackson uses examples from the music industry, different time periods and modern day issues to prove her point. This book blew my mind. I will be purchasing this book; it is something I want to have for years to come. The only I went into reading this book with an open mind. I knew the book was going to be about race and for the most it was but it wasn't just about race. This book was very insightful and shocking. It is heavy book with lots of information and facts/examples. In this book, Ms. Jackson uses examples from the music industry, different time periods and modern day issues to prove her point. This book blew my mind. I will be purchasing this book; it is something I want to have for years to come. The only negative thing I have to say about this book is that is read a little like a textbook, but that could be because it was just tons of information. I felt like I need to go and do some research.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shelby Lynne

    "It feels bad to wade in the repercussions of our behavior, it feels good to apologize and disavow and consider oneself exempt moving forward. But being online, being white, being online as a white person, means never being exempt. Antiracist as a noun does not exist. There's only people doing the work, or not. The person genuinely invested in the work doesn't run from discomfort but accepts it as the price of personhood taken for granted." There were a lot of passages in this book that "It feels bad to wade in the repercussions of our behavior, it feels good to apologize and disavow and consider oneself exempt moving forward. But being online, being white, being online as a white person, means never being exempt. Antiracist as a noun does not exist. There's only people doing the work, or not. The person genuinely invested in the work doesn't run from discomfort but accepts it as the price of personhood taken for granted." There were a lot of passages in this book that stretched, challenged, humbled, and demanded better of me, but I think this one sums it up best.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rosa Sealy

    If Petty Betty had a doctorate degree in throwing shade, it would be this book. Summary: "everybody wanna be a nigga but nobody wanna be a nigga." She even uses this legendary Paul Mooney quote. I wholeheartedly agree with White Negroes but as a black woman, okay so what's next. In other words, water is wet. It's a short book but a long read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    chantel nouseforaname

    A quick, interesting and affirming read. I loved this look into the various entities that seek to extrapolate the blackness from black culture and "liberate" *cough, whatever, cough** the culture from blackness after stealing our shit. I love that Dr. Lauren Michele Jackson went into current reference points like the Kardashians and their culture-vulture nature, as well as Rachel Dolezal and her self-hatred/reinvention and the historical ways that black culture has been stolen and reappropriated A quick, interesting and affirming read. I loved this look into the various entities that seek to extrapolate the blackness from black culture and "liberate" *cough, whatever, cough** the culture from blackness after stealing our shit. I love that Dr. Lauren Michele Jackson went into current reference points like the Kardashians and their culture-vulture nature, as well as Rachel Dolezal and her self-hatred/reinvention and the historical ways that black culture has been stolen and reappropriated for the white masses via food, art, style and even activism. I loved it because, as much as it was frustrating to read the ways that cultural appropriation has harmed the black community (many have tried to erase us from our art and legacy, which will never happen), it was affirming to read what educated and knowledgeable people done been knowing: we set the wave. EVERYTHING THAT POPS in this society, in the popular world as we know it, was built off black culture. We set the trends. We are the wave. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery and we are icons. Nice to see it here, crystallized.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Stevenson

    This is an informative book that explored various topics of cultural appropriation. Topics include: Black Music, Language and memes, Black Anger and Death and lastly Black Money and businesses. This book doesn't have a strong call to action, but rather a request to be empathetic when using another culture and to if possible provide reparations for benefiting from someone else.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bri

    Full disclosure, to me, this is a book that will take a lot of brain power to read. It's heavy subject matter written like a text book. Fascinating, but not easy to knock out all at once. Worth the read, without a doubt, though.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Josephine

    An indispensable voice: cuts through the most complicated and important cultural issues of our time with accessible, entertaining precision.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    "White and non-black people who defend their right to use n*gga in public generally don't intend to use a pejoratively (in public, at least.) Self-aware racists usually keep quiet. This isn't their fight. White people who defend their right to use n*gga want the right to hop to another branch without the memory of the branch left behind. They don't want the n*gger of their ancestors and relatives, but the n*gga known to their rap idols. Of course, they forget that n*gga wouldn't be n*gga without "White and non-black people who defend their right to use n*gga in public generally don't intend to use a pejoratively (in public, at least.) Self-aware racists usually keep quiet. This isn't their fight. White people who defend their right to use n*gga want the right to hop to another branch without the memory of the branch left behind. They don't want the n*gger of their ancestors and relatives, but the n*gga known to their rap idols. Of course, they forget that n*gga wouldn't be n*gga without the vulgar thrills encrusted upon it. Danger always accompanies anything genuinely hip. And nothing is more hip than n*gga. If it wasn't dangerous, white people wouldn't want it." This statement rolls in line with the thoughts that run through my mind every time I go to karaoke and cringe when that one non-black person shouts the N word with their whole chest (usually looking away from me or looking me dead in the eye depending on their confidence) without a care of how loaded and how violent the word really is. What's worse is the seeking of a honorable nod of approval from the few black person in the room for such usage and then the whining of "that's not fair!" when not well received. I don't know why that was important for me to include in this review, but here we are. While most of the time this book can easily turn left and read like Hertep pre-Ph.D. Dr. Hadassah Olayinka Ali-Youngman (especially in the first chapter), most of it addresses the issues of cultural appropriation in the format of having a conversation with a friend over coffee in public. There's a clear cut definition of cultural appropriation at the beginning that I believe a lot of people need to review before even discussing the topic. That alone might be worth reading the whole book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Ann

    Disappointing. Boring. Gossipy. Unsubstantiated generalizations. Lacking in insight. No differentiation between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation. No basis for steps to change. I truly anticipated a book that would be substantive, that would define and differentiate truly painful experiences that we have endured. I found the ever ongoing examples of life with Miley Cyrus (sp.:??) and Christina and Paula Dean to be unendearing and gossipy. One would be led to the impression that Disappointing. Boring. Gossipy. Unsubstantiated generalizations. Lacking in insight. No differentiation between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation. No basis for steps to change. I truly anticipated a book that would be substantive, that would define and differentiate truly painful experiences that we have endured. I found the ever ongoing examples of life with Miley Cyrus (sp.:??) and Christina and Paula Dean to be unendearing and gossipy. One would be led to the impression that ALL of their fame, their money came through cultural appropriation and not any underlying talent or other promotional possibilities. YUCK... I don't even watch any of their shows. The lack of true scientific basis was dismaying. The reference section was dismaying, if I were to look deeper into it I might find a comic book used as reference (sarcasm here!) The generalizations were astounding.. to present this as representational of all black culture, of all black peoples, let alone ONLY a problem with black culture ... wow. In all books, I look at WHO is the intended audience. It was difficult to determine here. It certainly wasn't for us. It looks like it was intended for whites that wanted to get on the band wagon of saying how much more enlightened they were by reading this book. I guess they may have been.

  29. 4 out of 5

    John

    Compelling essays from an engaging new voice in cultural criticism. Jackson writes about the white appropriation of black culture across a variety of fields — music, of course, but also fashion, slang, internet culture, activism, and more — with an eye to the question of how blackness gets erased when it is appropriated and what is lost when it does. It’s a strong set of observations and arguments, and I especially liked the way her work synthesized academic rigor and a more accessible writing Compelling essays from an engaging new voice in cultural criticism. Jackson writes about the white appropriation of black culture across a variety of fields — music, of course, but also fashion, slang, internet culture, activism, and more — with an eye to the question of how blackness gets erased when it is appropriated and what is lost when it does. It’s a strong set of observations and arguments, and I especially liked the way her work synthesized academic rigor and a more accessible writing style (I say that as someone who has done his own academic work on popular culture and found much of the writing in the field either turgid or deliberately obscure). Not every essay was equally convincing — I thought the section of technology stretched a bit — but on the whole I’ll say something I say too rarely about about works of contemporary cultural and political criticism: I learned a lot. Recommended.

  30. 4 out of 5

    cat

    A more in depth review will come later, but this was definitely an important read. From the Chicago Tribune, "Jackson... casts a wider net, examining fashion, music, food, memes, activism, the art world and beyond to analyze the implications of “black aesthetics without black people.” She argues that, for many white people, the act of borrowing, flaunting or even profiting from black ingenuity is “a non-dilemma.” While freedom and choice often dominate conversations about cultural appropriation, A more in depth review will come later, but this was definitely an important read. From the Chicago Tribune, "Jackson... casts a wider net, examining fashion, music, food, memes, activism, the art world and beyond to analyze the implications of “black aesthetics without black people.” She argues that, for many white people, the act of borrowing, flaunting or even profiting from black ingenuity is “a non-dilemma.” While freedom and choice often dominate conversations about cultural appropriation, largely missing, Jackson writes, is talk of power: “When the powerful appropriate from the oppressed, society’s imbalances are exacerbated and inequalities prolonged.”

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