Tag Archives: The Guardian

Voices: Makode Aj Linde And That Cake

By Arturo R. García

Via CarltonJordan.com

It’s the kind of thing that shocked even experienced anti-racism activists around the Web: a few tweets went out along the lines of, What’s this going on in SwedenWHATTHEHELL? And this time the reaction was justified.

In what he has called an attempt to draw attention to the practice of female genital mutilation, Swedish artist Makode Aj Linde made himself into a “cake” as part of an art installation at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. This past Sunday, according to reports, the country’s Minister of Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, took part, cutting slices from “his” clitoris as he screamed in mock agony, and Liljeroth and the crowd of white attendees with her laughed at what a spokesperson for the National Afro-Swedish Association (NAFA) called “a racist spectacle.”

Shots of Linde’s project can be seen here, as well as in the other source material for this post under a heavy Trigger Warning. But as you can see from the image above, blackface was apparently a part of Linde’s repetoire before this incident.

Colorlines quoted from an interview with the artist on Swedish radio:

Makode: It’s sad if people feel offended, but considering the low number of artists in Sweden who identify as Afro-swedish I find it sad that the Afro-Swedish Association haven’t followed my artistry and do not understand what my work is about.

What did the minister of culture say to you when she was there? Was she hesitant about eating of the cake?

Makode: I didn’t clearly see her reaction, but judging from the pictures she was surprised when she realised that the cake was living. And before she put the knife into me, into the cake, she said “Your life will be better like this”. And when she put the knife into me I started screaming and begged her to stop. This was a part of the performance.

But what was the thought behind you being a living head?

Makode: I wanted to somehow make the cake more human, not just a silent object. More interactive, simply.

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‘The Ring Was The Only Place I Felt Safe’

By Guest Contributor Theresa Runstedtler, cross-posted from her blog

In reflecting on his tumultuous life and storied career, boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard recently told Guardian reporter Donald McRae, “I went through real darkness but the ring was my light. That was the one place I felt safe. I could control what happened in the ring. My heart turned icy” (my emphasis added). In his new autobiography, The Big Fight: My Story, Leonard reveals a painful past hidden behind the headlines of his historic ring victories–one of sexual abuse, a sense of rejection, and struggles with substance abuse.

What does it mean that Sugar Ray had to find safety in the violent confines of the boxing ring? What does it mean that he could only really feel empowered and free when fighting other men? McRae notes that back in the 1980s British boxing writer Hugh McIlvanney “spoke vividly of the hard chip of ice that Leonard stored in his fighting heart.” It seemed as if “Sugar Ray must have endured terrible darkness to fight with such chilling brilliance.” The turmoil of Leonard’s life outside the ring made his career in the ring a matter of financial and spiritual survival.

Yet Sugar Ray’s autobiography is much more than just a personal, singular story. His haunting revelations expose much about the racist society he lived in, and how little that society valued young black men like him in any other setting than the squared circle.

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Racism, He Wrote?: Showrunner’s Ethnocentrism Shakes Up Midsomer Murders

By Arturo R. García

Notice a certain lack of pigmentation in that fan-made trailer? Well, that’s just the way <em>Midsomer Murders</em> showrunner Brian True-May likes it.

“We just don’t have ethnic minorities involved. Because it wouldn’t be the English village with them,” True-May told the Radio Times. “It just wouldn’t work. Suddenly we might be in Slough … We’re the last bastion of Englishness and I want to keep it that way.”

I haven’t watched much of the show, but what I have seen bears a striking similarity to an old American favorite.
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