Race and Sexuality

Whitewashing Representation

Authored by: Robert D. Byrd

The Routledge Companion to Media and Race

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138020726
eBook ISBN: 9781315778228
Adobe ISBN: 9781317695837


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University of Mississippi student Sierra Mannie caused a raucous debate among many white gay bloggers and readers in early July 2014 with an opinion piece posted on the Daily Mississippian online, later posted on Time.com, titled “Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture” (Mannie 2014). In the piece, Mannie argues white gay men often appropriate the stereotyped culture of black women by adopting racist dialectical, physical, and affectational characteristics of black women. Mannie contends:

I need some of you to cut it the hell out. Maybe, for some of you, it’s a presumed similar appreciation for Beyoncé and weave that has you thinking that I’m going to be amused by you approaching me in your best “Shanequa from around the way” voice. I don’t know. What I do know is that I don’t care how well you can quote Madea, who told you that your booty was getting bigger than hers, how cute you think it is to call yourself a strong black woman, who taught you to twerk, how funny you think it is to call yourself Quita or Keisha or for which black male you’ve been bottoming—you are not a black woman, and you do not get to claim either blackness or womanhood. It is not yours. It is not for you.

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