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Episode 236 — White People Twerking


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#1 July Diaz

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 05:27 PM

Today Sandeep Parikh & Andrew talk about white people co-opting black culture and starting to twerk because of Miley Cyrus. Be sure to keep leaving us messages at (323) 389-RACE.

#2 Joshie

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 10:00 AM

This whole discussion was dumb. Getting worked up about people moving their butt cheeks like other people is an insult to actual instances of co-option and destruction of important ritual taboos in co-opted culture. A good question to ask is what would WEB Dubois, or Malcolm X, or MLK have to say about the issue. Here they'd shake their damn heads at you guys for getting worried about butt stuff. All cultures should be working to moving beyond a point where anyone of any race twerking is national pop cultural news, even working past the co-option there is a core of commodotizing sexuality for sale and misogyny that it is not worth fighting for.

#3 Shariq Torres

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 10:35 AM

View PostJoshie, on 18 September 2013 - 10:00 AM, said:

This whole discussion was dumb. Getting worked up about people moving their butt cheeks like other people is an insult to actual instances of co-option and destruction of important ritual taboos in co-opted culture. A good question to ask is what would WEB Dubois, or Malcolm X, or MLK have to say about the issue. Here they'd shake their damn heads at you guys for getting worried about butt stuff. All cultures should be working to moving beyond a point where anyone of any race twerking is national pop cultural news, even working past the co-option there is a core of commodotizing sexuality for sale and misogyny that it is not worth fighting for.


This whole comment is full of crazy. What are the "actual" instances of co-option vs the "fake" instances of co-option, Joshie? I want a definitive list.

And can you ask the reanimated corpses of black civil rights leaders what they think of Kanye West's new album as well? It should be easy since you have them in your Frankenstein lab and are apparently grilling them about twerking. And what makes you so sure that the misogyny that you see is "actual"? It could very well be "fake" misogyny, which would make sense since it stems from a "fake" instance of co-option. Can you reanimate the corpse of Susan B. Anthony and ask her before you make such statements?

#4 GregZ

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 01:14 PM

SHariq, I think all he meant to say was that talking about twerking in such depth is a waste of time and that there other issues related to the Miley Cyrus incident that he thinks are more important. Why don't you argue about that instead?

Edited by GregZ, 18 September 2013 - 02:00 PM.


#5 Shariq Torres

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 01:48 PM

View PostGregZ, on 18 September 2013 - 01:14 PM, said:

Fariq, I think all he meant to say was that talking about twerking in such depth is a waste of time and that there other issues related to the Miley Cyrus incident that he thinks are more important. Why don't you argue about that instead?


I think he meant exactly what he wrote. By the way, the name is Shariq.

#6 GregZ

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 02:05 PM

Oh, crap, I'm sorry about that. Writing on breaks is apparently conducive to mistakes. Either way, I'm now just imagining the first poster yelling at zombified versions of activists from the past about what they think about pop culture.

#7 pfchangs

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Posted 18 September 2013 - 06:37 PM

Be real, all the zombie civil rights leaders would just wanna talk about brains.

But even more real, uhhhh how is Miley Cyrus NOT important? Millions of people listen to her and watch her videos. Hundreds of thousands of people go her shows. She's got all kinds of merchandise. Her name is used to draw high volumes of lucrative web traffic. Entertainment is an industry, in which she is a very large and successful business. It's not just some girl twerking, there's mad money involved.

#8 Shariq Torres

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Posted 19 September 2013 - 04:50 AM

View Postpfchangs, on 18 September 2013 - 06:37 PM, said:

Be real, all the zombie civil rights leaders would just wanna talk about brains.

But even more real, uhhhh how is Miley Cyrus NOT important? Millions of people listen to her and watch her videos. Hundreds of thousands of people go her shows. She's got all kinds of merchandise. Her name is used to draw high volumes of lucrative web traffic. Entertainment is an industry, in which she is a very large and successful business. It's not just some girl twerking, there's mad money involved.


What I hated about Joshie's comment was that he was defining these arbitrary lines about "actual" instances of co-option and what Miley Cyrus was doing -- which, in my opinion and many others, is co-opting a culture she is not a part of to sell shit. And while he isn't certain about what co-option is, he is ready to say that there is "actual" misogyny going on though. It's all bullshit; either you see the intersectionality of this shit or you are condoning bits and pieces to suit your agenda.

#9 mall

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Posted 20 September 2013 - 05:15 PM

when i saw miley cyrus do such things on TV i jumped in shock and fright. verdict: RACIST

#10 Homelessbird

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 04:08 PM

I understand the unwillingness to "share" a cultural touchstone that was previously an ingroup thing, but:

a) The flipside of "co-opting" is "imitation," which, some guy once told me, is the sincerest form of flattery. A positive spin on white people doing things that black people have been doing for years is to look at it as them wishing they could be that cool. I have a white friend who is perpetually upset that he can't drop the n-bomb, but not because he bears any ill will to anyone - he just loves rap, and he can't really rap along to rap when other people are around. He just wishes he could be in the club too. He still doesn't get to use the word, of course, but I feel like that's a lot more understandable than the whole CNN thing.

B) Really? Twerking is a thing you want to defend? I'm not saying twerking is bad, but it's not exactly the most interesting or creative thing to be contributed to culture that is also uniquely identifiable as "black." Considering how funny it is when most white people do it, I say go for it. Shine on you crazy diamonds.