by Latoya Peterson
We got a request from reader Nafis to cover the Essence magazine controversy that is heating up the black blogosphere. But the comments included with the tip made me laugh a bit. Nafis writes:
i know it might go against parts of the racialicious agenda, but i feel like you should talk about the ”cycle of ignorance” that leads to racism. The comments that the author highlights are very derogatory, and it speaks a lot about the situation within the black female community.
Our agenda is to fairly clear – to provide an anti-racist perspective on pop culture. And regular readers know that we are a feminist-minded site, and generally work to incorporate other anti-oppression principles into what we do. So talking about “the situation within the black female community” isn’t really what we do since most of those perceptions are based in stereotypes about black women. However, what is compelling about the whole situation is how conversations about interracial dating play upon stereotypes and deeply held convictions, that tend to drown out any other type of commentary.
BET’s entertainment blog gives a good summary of what is going on:
When Essence editors chose to put Reggie Bush on the cover of their February 2010 “Black Men, Love & Relationships” issue, I’m sure they thought they were just giving their readers a little dose of sexual chocolate eye candy (those abs!), but instead all hell broke loose!
The Essence.com boards are flooded with seething comments from people who can’t understand why a magazine geared towards Black women would make the NFL player who is dating a non-Black woman, Kim Kardashian, the cover choice for an issue that celebrates Black love.
A lot of hateful comments were posted to the Essence boards, some even saying that Bush was a “white supremacist” and anger that a magazine dedicated to celebrating black women would put a man dating a non-black woman on the cover.
The vitriol on this one is fierce – but what is really the issue here? Continue reading