Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Objectification and Humiliation of the Black Woman

The Huffington Post reports that:
The online magazine Buro 247 has published a story about Dasha Zhukova, the Russian editor-in-chief of Garage magazine, which shows the editrix perched atop a chair designed to look like a half-naked black woman. Ugh.

Note: the image has since been cropped on the website to only show Zhukova and not the chair. We have reached out to Miroslava Duma the editor of Buro 247 for comment.

Claire Sulmers, the editor of FashionBombDaily.com, alerted us to the unfortunate feature and calls the image an example of "white dominance and superiority, articulated in a seemingly serene yet overtly degrading way."

We couldn't agree more. Although the chair also comes in "white woman," we can't help but be filled with anger and frustration over the onslaught of negative imagery, constant disregard and unabashed bigotry that continues to plague the fashion industry. From Bethann Hardison's crusade to end racism on the runway to our attempt to educate society over and over and over again about the nonsense that is Blackface -- the stories of racially insensitive absurdity are never ending.
In response to the backlash, Ms. Zhukova issued the following apology:
The chair pictured in the Buro 24/7 website interview is an artwork created by Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard, one of a series that reinterprets art historical works from artist Allen Jones as a commentary on gender and racial politics. Its use in this photo shoot is regrettable as it took the artwork totally out of its intended context, particularly given that Buro 24/7′s release of the article coincided with the important celebration of the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I regret allowing an artwork with such charged meaning to be used in this context. I utterly abhor racism and would like to apologize to those offended by my participation in this shoot.

Garage Magazine has a strong track record of promoting diversity and racial and gender equality in the worlds of art and fashion, and will continue in our mission to stir positive debate on these and other issues.  Read more here.
Clearly, that photo is blatantly racist and sexist. Illustrating her racial superiority and domination, Dasha Zhukova is literally sitting on top of a partially nude black woman who is sexually positioned in the shape of a chair. The black woman has been reduced to an object, a chair. This is even worst than a modern day field jockey statue. At least, the field jockey is standing upright.  That photo is reminiscent of slavery times when our half-naked ancestors were placed on auction blocks and examined like cattle. It is absolutely impossible for me to understand how anyone in their right mind would actually believe that such a photo would be acceptable under any circumstances.

Every single time one of these incidents occurs,  the racists always pretend to be completely unaware that their actions are offensive. Apparently, many white people have been thoroughly brainwashed to be unconsciously racist.

Unfortunately, this story is not the first time that I read about Europeans objectifying black women. In 2012, as reported in The World Post, Sweden's minister of culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth was photographed cutting a cake designed to look like an African woman.  As if that was not bad enough, in recent times, some white women further humiliate black women by parading around in black face.  Clearly, some white women do not see black women as their true sisters in the struggle for women's liberation and feminism. In fact, many of them help their white husbands, brothers and sons oppress and humiliate black women and black men.


We must stand up speak out against the objectification and humiliation of black women. We must speak out against racist white people who degrade our women.

Equally as important, we must speak out against sexist, misogynistic black men who degrade our women. Sadly, it is not white woman who is usually sitting in that chair of domination and oppression. It is a black man, a rapper or a YouTube minstrel. It is a black man calling our sisters "bitches, hoes, chicken heads, etc."  Influenced by white owned media corporations, a few misguided black men depict our women as prostitutes and strippers. Unfortunately, there are too many sisters who are willing to play the role of the modern day Sarah Baartman. For a few dollars, they volunteer to be proverbial black woman chair.

We must fight to maintain and defend our dignity and self respect as a people. We must defend and protect the black women from the enemy within and the enemy without.

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