Thursday, March 27, 2008

Worst Look of the Day - Issues with LeBron on The Cover of Vogue

Just to be perfectly clear, I have no issues whatsoever with this cover.

What I do have is an issue with are those individuals who read into every representation of Blackness and try to find the racism hidden slightly beneath the surface.

This ploy was recently used by Orlando Patterson, a Harvard sociology professor, when he enlightened us on the racist undertones of Hillary Clinton's Red Phone campaign ad.

Now, people are up in arms about the new representation of the "King" LeBron James on the cover of Vogue. Of course it is a play on his "King" nickname and the transferral of that imagery of him as a king to him as King Kong. King Kong just so happened to be the motherfucking king of the jungle, and New York too after he was enslaved and used by a White man as a source of immense profit.

And before you call me on it, yes, I do understand that there are troubling racial undertones built into the King Kong story that I was beginning to pointout. King Kong is a Black gone mad. He's bigger than everyone else. He's a violent dude. He's straight out of the jungle, aka hood. And most importantly he poses a threat to White America. So while there is no better embodiment of White America than a vulnerable White female, there is no better embodiment of the threat posed to White America than that of an oversized, tattooed and aggressive Black male.

With all of that said, I see none of this in the Vogue cover. And truth be told, I wasn't terribly upset by the Geraldine Ferraro comments that were painted as being blatantly racist until she repeatedly repeated and defended her comments on any major media outlet she could get access to. The slippery line of reasoning that I exhibited in the paragraph above is part of what plagues our nation and deters our hopes for having completely harmonious race relations in America.

I am not colorblind. I understand very well that racism exists. On a daily basis I can see, or at the very least sense, the implications and consequences associated with racist behavior. I have been demonized time and time again. I have been suspected to pose a threat to others well-being, when in fact I wouldn't harm a fly. Yet, this has not driven me to leading a hypercritical and hypersensitive lifestyle. I do take note of instances were Blackness is portrayed in a negative light. But, as Jason Whitlock expresses in his article which can be linked to above, I see just as many negative portrayal of Black culture in America that are generated by Black people in America:

Vogue ain't for us. Tyler Perry's new movie, Meet the Browns, was produced with us in mind. It had a great box-office debut, coming in at No. 2 with a take of more than $20 million. It also broke records for negative black stereotypes and simple-mindedness.

We ate it up, and I've yet to hear much of an outcry about a romantic comedy built around a single mama with three baby daddies, her loud-mouthed, weed-smoking, gun-toting Latino best girlfriend, a deadbeat daddy, a drunk sister and a deceased father who was a pimp-turned-preacher. I could go on. This list is endless.

No offense to Professor Patterson, or all of the others who take issue with the LeBron cover. But I for one do not. Draw your own conclusions. But don't drum up an incidence of racism that might not really exist.

Those who have concerns over the cover have earned their way into the infamous status of being my Worst Look of the Day.

1 comment:

heisenbergwk said...

i don't get it either.