MIXLY PERSPECTIVE: White Privilege is Like Flying First Class

We’ve been hearing the phrase “white privilege” in the news a lot lately – in discussions revolving around everything from New York’s controversially-unconstitutional “Stop and Frisk” policy to Miley Cyrus’s possibly more controversial VMA performance. Though some of the conversations it’s surfaced in may seem trivial, white privilege is anything but. In fact, for an idea that’s become as ubiquitous as it is important, there are shockingly few explanations of what white privilege actually is out there. We thought we’d give it a shot with another analogy – “White Privilege is Like Flying First Class.”
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MIXLY Panel Discussion: Diversity and Hip Hop

UPDATE: We are excited to announce that the first ever MIXLY Panel Discussion will be airing live this coming Friday at 12:00 noon on this website and on our YouTube channel. “Diversity and Hip Hop” brings together two leading scholars of hip hop and diversity to discuss the deeper meaning of recent events such as Miley Cyrus’s VMA performance, Macklemore’s Rolling Stone interview, and Robin Thicke’s (controversial) song of the summer, “Blurred Lines.”
We’re pleased to announce the two participants today. Marcia Alesan Dawkins is a communication professor at USC Annenberg, contributor to numerous publications, including The Huffington Post and The Root, and author of both the critically acclaimed Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity as well as the recently released and well-reviewed Eminem: The Real Slim Shady (Hip Hop in America.) Rebecca Haithcoat is currently a music writer for MySpace and has previously worked as the assistant music editor of LA Weekly, where she wrote about numerous hip hop figures, including Kendrick Lamar, V-Nasty, Iggy Azalea and Speak.
Be sure to tune in Friday at noon for Marcia and Rebecca’s take on the hottest topics of the summer! You can watch right here on the website or on our YouTube page, where the discussion will be streaming live.
Photo from MTV.

MIXLY Roundup

50th Anniversary of the March on Washington


This week was, of course, the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Leaders from around the nation gathered in Washington to celebrate the progress we’ve made, as well as to note how far we have left to go before that dream becomes reality.
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We Can’t Stop (Talking About Miley Cyrus): MIXLY Poll

The title says it all. It seems like ever since we got up this morning all we’ve read, watched, and talked about has been Miley, Miley, Miley, and her undoubtedly controversial performance at last night’s Video Music Awards. Some are calling the twerk-tastic performance a “cartoon version of black culture that…lacks depth and context,” others are criticizing “grinding on Robin Thicke” as “a misuse of feminism” and still others have suggested that the most responsible, grown-up thing for the rest of us to do is to do our best not to care at all. Check out the video after the break, and let us know what you have to say!
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MMXLII Reflection: Are White People Allowed to Twerk?

Cultural appropriation is an unexpectedly hot topic right now, pushed to the forefront of our collective consciousness by no less than Miley Cyrus and her recently released video “We Can’t Stop.” More than one critic has suggested that a video which was created for a wealthy Caucasian artist but whose look and feel can be easily traced to a specific segment of hip-hop culture, one most associated with African Americans from lower socio-economic backgrounds, is problematic at best and offensive at worst. And in a story with any number of parallels, certain segments of the South East Asian community have taken to the blogosphere to protest the use of traditionally Indian garments and music in performances of Selena Gomez’s new song, “Come & Get It.” At the same time, plenty of commentators have risen up to defend both girls. In this MMXLII Reflection, we’ll consider where the line in the sand separating cultural appreciation from cultural appropriation ought to be drawn.
We’ll start by proposing that some cases of cultural borrowing are clearly acceptable and even positive, while others are clearly offensive. For an example of the latter, check out this Ashton Kutcher-starring Popchips commercial from last summer.

We think it’s fair to say that most of our readers would describe that ad as inappropriate. On the other hand, consider a phenomenon most of you will be familiar with – Caucasians obsessed with Japanese culture, and especially anime and manga. These Japanophiles consume Japanese media, eat Japanese food, even learn Japanese, yet very few cultural critics or Japanese Americans (at least that this author is aware of) seem to be complaining that that obsession constitutes cultural appropriation.
The question, then, is what’s the difference between the anime nerds and Ashton? Why is one clearly offensive and another clearly acceptable, and where does the line lie between these two extremes? How are we to make judgments about seemingly borderline cases, like the Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez videos?
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