I am enjoying Lupita’s shine. But not without my reservations. And these reservations of course have nothing to do with Lupita herself, but everything to do with the way in which white supremacy maintains itself by utilizing tokens to give the appearance of fairness and equity.
Is Hollywood really challenging racist beauty standards? Or any beauty standards at all? Or is it maintaining the status quo and welcoming Lupita in as an anomaly?
Any dark-skinned girl knows that just because an individual may find us physically or sexually attractive doesn’t mean that they are anti-colorist or anti-racist. That’s why comments like “you’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl” are so common. An individual dark-skinned Black girl can always be recognized as beautiful. But it must be done so by positing her as an exception.
I believe there is no difference for a white-dominated magazine or Hollywood in general.
And I cannot trust a magazine or industry predicated on anti-Blackness 364 days out of the year to suddenly fundamentally change their behavior now that Lupita has been named as the world’s most beautiful woman.
I will be a believer when I am able to pick up a magazine that has racial and ethnic diversity without looking directly for Essence or Jet. I’ll be a believer when I start to see dark-skinned women cast in movie roles where they are neither evil and unwanted or the victims of vicious sexist and racist violence.
I know that I must remain vigilant so that honors such as this do not make me too comfortable.
So I celebrate this. But I also demand more.
Tim Wu on a new rule that violates Obama’s promise of net neutrality: http://nyr.kr/1jU2AQ2
“It threatens to make the Internet just like everything else in American society: unequal in a way that deeply threatens our long-term prosperity.”
Above: Obama at Coe College, in 2007. Photograph by David Lienemann/AP.