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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 ar 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 ar 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 ⚔️ Queen of Villainy ⚔️ 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 imp 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

    White Negroes is a powerful tome to help the uneducated white reader (or I suppose any reader) learn specifically what cultural appreciation is and gives a wide range of examples. In that sense, this is the perfect book for people who scream “cultural appropriation isn’t real, it’s cultural appreciation!” On the flip side, the fact of the matter is, even if you’re vocally against cultural appropriation, odds are there’s more to it than you realize. Appropriation isn’t as simple as whether or not White Negroes is a powerful tome to help the uneducated white reader (or I suppose any reader) learn specifically what cultural appreciation is and gives a wide range of examples. In that sense, this is the perfect book for people who scream “cultural appropriation isn’t real, it’s cultural appreciation!” On the flip side, the fact of the matter is, even if you’re vocally against cultural appropriation, odds are there’s more to it than you realize. Appropriation isn’t as simple as whether or not you can or cannot wear a Moana costume for Halloween. As Jackson mentions in her conclusion, culture itself is incoherent, confusing, and borderless, and I think that’s the reason people struggle with the concept. Like imagining outer space is borderless and infinite, it can be hard to wrap your head around. Thankfully for the reader, Jackson takes us through the vast sea of appropriation by breaking it down into categories such as music, art, fashion, language, and even the Internet. I think it’s relatively easy to see the appropriation in popular music (there’s a great podcast called 1619 hosted by Nikole Hannah Jones, and in episode three the history of American music discussed; this complements Jackson’s work very well), but I learned so much about appropriation in other areas. Some of the words and phrases used on a daily basis by literally everyone are culturally appropriated from the black and queer community. Do you know the origins of NYC being called “the Big Apple”? Read the book and you will. I don’t want to give an example from every section as the book is short and succinct enough that I think anyone with even the smallest bit of curiosity (you’re reading this review aren’t you?) should find the time to read it and learn for themselves. I knew what cultural appropriation was in a broad sense before reading the book, along with a litany of examples from keyboard warriors on Facebook, but every single chapter expanded and gave examples I never would have thought of before. This book is so much bigger than what you can learn from Internet strangers. I found chapter three, entitled “The Artist” to be the most fascinating. My original thought was that art is subjective so how can it be appropriated? But oh my goodness, the examples of artists given were shocking. Jackson makes several good points about using the violence black people experience as art and that is clearly wrong. The discussion of a painting by a white woman of Emmett Till’s open casket was especially disturbing to me. But in my opinion, the most powerful essay in the book is called “The Meme: Kermit the Frog Meets Nina Simone.” If you only have time for one essay, make it this one. I have read debates in forums on whether or not Internet Blackface is truly a “thing,” mostly in regards to the reaction memes white people choose to use with black people - they are literally using black faces to express an emotion. But, the chapter goes much, much further than that. Black artists on Tik Tok, for example, create new dance moves or combinations, which a white person can then use to make themselves famous; they end up getting famous and hit a round of talk shows and maybe an endorsement deal, but the bottom line is they can make money on that dance whereas the original artist gets nothing, not even their name cited as a source. Even more disturbing in this chapter are the groups of white men who haunt the dark, nazi side of social media sites. They create fake profiles using a black person’s photograph, appropriate what they consider black language, and use that profile to infiltrate online discussions about justice. It’s like literally donning a black mask for nefarious reasons. In the back of my head I knew this was likely happening but the extent to which it is happening is greater than I imagined. The whole chapter is a reminder to trust nothing on social media. I’ll stop there, but I would like to say that this book is a must read for anyone invested in social issues and for anyone questioning the concept of cultural appropriation. I think there’s something for everyone to learn from this book and I thank Ms. Jackson for taking the time to write it. One would be hard pressed to find someone who has actually read and thought about the book to still deny appropriation exists. PS: I will not be responding comments, my blood pressure can’t handle it. ——————————————————— 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. 5 out of 5

    Traci at The Stacks

    This book is pretty incredible. Its comprehensive when it comes to the appropriation of Black culture. Jackson has an in-depth understand of culture and whiteness and her thoughts are so flushed out. I only wish there was more of a conclusion or overreaching point made.

  5. 5 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. 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.

  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

    Courtney

    It’s a hairstyle. Get over yourself.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Maggie (babewithabookandabeer)

    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.

  10. 5 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 5 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.

  13. 4 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 appropriat 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.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cait

    This whole book is "what do we owe to black culture" and the answer is a whole fucking lot of modern pop culture. I think this was also the rare US-centric book that makes it easy to see how the cultural exchange has also globalised.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Excellent cultural criticism that looks at appropriation, black lives and how America continues to benefit from black lives without deciding they matter.

  16. 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 ra 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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Kenneth Goldsmith’s Seven American Deaths and Disasters transcribes live audio broadcasts of major news events, such as the death of Michael Jackson. Lauren Michele Jackson’s White Negroes delves into the history and ramifications of this and other examples of white sampling, plagiarism and appropriation, especially of Black culture. Read both books, examine your own behavior and fathom a future in which black people have “options instead of destinies, options instead of statistics.” "A reiterati Kenneth Goldsmith’s Seven American Deaths and Disasters transcribes live audio broadcasts of major news events, such as the death of Michael Jackson. Lauren Michele Jackson’s White Negroes delves into the history and ramifications of this and other examples of white sampling, plagiarism and appropriation, especially of Black culture. Read both books, examine your own behavior and fathom a future in which black people have “options instead of destinies, options instead of statistics.” "A reiteration of the obvious is never wasted on the oblivious." —PE "Stop trying to fact check fascism and fight it." —AS Culture is contradictory, not mythical. "There is time enough, but none to spare." —CC

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    A smart discussion of white appropriation of black culture.

  19. 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.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Georgia

    A brilliant collection that examines cultural appropriation in 9 different spheres. I particularly enjoyed The Artist, which illuminated a lot about a world I don’t know much about, as well as The Chef, which examines the cultural impact of food through the lens of Paula Deen. The focus is the white appropriation of black culture, which has dominated conversation for many years. As a friend said, I wish we could’ve had this work a little earlier! Some masterful cultural criticism

  21. 5 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!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Albright

    This book seems to come from a point of view of envy.  A great deal about leftist discourse can be understood from its desire to simply turn the existing (and reputedly unjust standard) on its head without concern that it is any more just than it was before.  Whereas in the past it was viewed as a good thing for someone to pass as white because it provided for the chance to live one's life without being troubled or bothered because of one's ethnic identity--for most people have always judged by This book seems to come from a point of view of envy.  A great deal about leftist discourse can be understood from its desire to simply turn the existing (and reputedly unjust standard) on its head without concern that it is any more just than it was before.  Whereas in the past it was viewed as a good thing for someone to pass as white because it provided for the chance to live one's life without being troubled or bothered because of one's ethnic identity--for most people have always judged by appearances and not demanded to know the detailed genealogy of those people they happened to be sharing public space with, for the author those who are able to pass are counted as white and their own particular ethnic origin is disregarded as far as regards questions of appropriation.  So it is that the author views the half-Ecuadorian Christina Aguilera as being white and appropriating urban tropes during her career simply because she is light enough to pass as white.  Examples like that abound in this book of the way that the author views those who are able to move between mainstream white culture and an appreciation of less mainstream cultures with a great deal of envy and dissatisfaction. This book is a bit less than 200 pages and contains four parts and nine chapters.  The author introduces the book with a discussion about appropriation as being fundamental to American mythmaking before looking at appropriation specifically of black culture, in various areas.  First, she looks at sound and body (I) by discussing how this occurs in music (1) as well as fashion (2), in looking at how blackness looks different when attached to perceived whiteness.  After that the author discusses how appropriation occurs in art and language (II) with a look at how high art often reconceptualizes previous experiences of others (3) and how hipsters can be considered as white Negroes in their attempts to be cool (4).  The author discusses technology (III) with a look at the meme, something I can relate to as an edgy meme lord (5), along with the question of the viral star and how such people gain viral fame (6).  Finally, the author discusses appropriation in the economy and politics (IV), discussing how white chefs copy comfort cooking from blacks (7), and how the author feels about entrepreneurial culture (8) and the search for freedom as well as her role as an angry activist (9), before discussing such matters as appropriation as business as usual, as if it that was always a bad thing, before the usual acknowledgements and notes. That said, this book is not nearly as unjust as most books in this sort of vein.  The author seriously explores what it leads people to move back and forth between different identities or leads the to engage in cultural appreciation of the sort that the author disapproves of.  The author even manages to present reasons why people like Rachel Dolezal should not be simply insulted for their complex assumption of a complex racial identity.  At its core, the author appears to be arguing for respect for those who create the culture that gets appropriated.  I do not personally view appropriation as anything unusual or anything necessarily negative, but all the same I also agree that we should respect those whose culture we adapt, and not make them invisible or pretend that we came up with the ideas ourselves when we clearly did not.  Whether or not that would resolve the larger cultural battle over such matters as now exists, it would at least allow those of us who view cultural appropriation positively to know that we were doing justice by those whose culture we so openly and honestly appreciate.

  23. 5 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 essay 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).

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kellie

    I'm sure there are a lot of white people who think that, right now, cultural appropriation isn't the most important aspect of racism to focus on, but Lauren Michele Jackson shows how it's all connected to larger issues, and how important it is for white people to genuinely have a think about what, and why, things have been appropriated. One essay that struck me the most, personally, as I love cooking food from other cultures, was the one about Paula Deen and food cultural appropriation. Cooking f I'm sure there are a lot of white people who think that, right now, cultural appropriation isn't the most important aspect of racism to focus on, but Lauren Michele Jackson shows how it's all connected to larger issues, and how important it is for white people to genuinely have a think about what, and why, things have been appropriated. One essay that struck me the most, personally, as I love cooking food from other cultures, was the one about Paula Deen and food cultural appropriation. Cooking from a culture not your own is appropriation, but it doesn't become a problem when white people take this food and claim it as their own and receive credit and profit from it at the sufferance (or even with outright objection) of the poc they've stolen it from. (Think hot chicken or kimchi or the "THIS Chinese takeaway is better than others because it's run by NON-Chinese Chinese food enthusiasts" person.) An important book for the moment, and beyond it. I think it'll be, as she says in her introduction, good for poc, and Black people especially, to feel seen, and good for white people to SEE.

  25. 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!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Caitlyn

    This is really informative reading for anyone who doesn't understand why cultural appropriation is innately harmful to POC. I was exposed to issues that I hadn't consciously thought about. Ex: White restaurant owners that glean recipes from Black people and then sell the dishes at an upscale price to turn a profit, with no credit or monetary compensation given to the people who cultivated those foods over the last century. This book reads as if it is Lauren Michele Jackson's dissertation, which This is really informative reading for anyone who doesn't understand why cultural appropriation is innately harmful to POC. I was exposed to issues that I hadn't consciously thought about. Ex: White restaurant owners that glean recipes from Black people and then sell the dishes at an upscale price to turn a profit, with no credit or monetary compensation given to the people who cultivated those foods over the last century. This book reads as if it is Lauren Michele Jackson's dissertation, which it might be. It's highly researched and weaves American history into present day, embedding internet culture and its impact on race into the fabric of American politics.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    I started this book pre pandemic. I got distracted by other things since this was a library book and I magically had endless time to finish it. Recently I made sure to finish it so I can return it for other people who are currently educating themselves. This book is so good and timely but also, unfortunately, timeless. Shit needs to change.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tanner Curtis

    Listened to the audio book. Excellent collection of essays on the breadth of cultural appropriation in America. It includes memes, protest movements, business, celebrity, fashion and much more. They challenge your way of understanding the world in a necessary way.

  29. 5 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 wh 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).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

    A complete evisceration of the ways that white people/non-Black POC appropriate Black music, speech, culture, art, political movements, etc. Brilliant and withering.

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