It seems to be a new trend in journalism these days for white people to write condescending articles about black people and black art. These articles are portrayed as deep, think pieces when in reality, they’re simply an outlet for these journalists to showcase how bothered they are by black excellence.
Take for example the op-ed published in the New York Post last week. In the article, entitled “Having a baby isn’t a miracle and doesn’t make you a goddess” the author specifically calls out Beyonce and her Grammy performance. Not only does the author come across as bitter and reaching with lines such as “Well, Beyonce has never known when to draw the line between what she should share with her husband and what she should share with an audience” and “Why is it that in an era when women are constantly insisting that they should not be defined by their traditional, biological roles, we have fetishized motherhood to such an extent?”, she joins the several white journalists who suddenly have a problem with the glorification of pregnancy when a powerful black woman does it. Having a baby is a miracle, especially to the millions of women who struggle to have children of their own. Why does a woman celebrating a joyous time in her life bother you? Beyonce wants nothing more than to share her blessings with her fans and the world, and to make it seem as if she is in the wrong for doing so is nothing more than a reflection of the author who who wrote this article.
An other example is this article about Serena Williams. The journalist behind this one, polices Serena’s sexuality and insinuates that a woman choosing to pose nude is a direct contradiction of her statements on equality. Despite the fact that the Sports Illustrated’s 2017 issue also features Kate Upton, Ashley Graham, Christie Brinkley, and more, the writer only calls out the famous tennis player. For some reason, the author focuses only on Williams and does not once mention the other women. How is a woman owning her sexuality and making a choice to pose in a way that made her feel sexy and empowered go against what she’s said about equality? What gives this woman the right to police a black woman’s sexuality and tell her how she should act if she wants to be taken seriously?
This casual racism is not limited only to specific black celebrities. Black art as a whole is scrutinized, picked apart, and brutally critiqued. Like this film review that manages to tear down Oscar-nominated films Moonlight and Hidden Figures in one breath. This review is filled with dismissal of the stories the films tell “many of the difficulties facing the black women who worked at Nasa occured less because they were black, more because they were women.” and “Because Moonlight barely has 10 minutes of plot. I’m not even sure it’s fair to call it a plot, more a hazy one-page meander through the journey of a gay man.” The writer, a white woman, says that neither of these two films is important, neccessary, or relevant because they do not cater directly to straight, white, middle class audiences. It seems as if the writer was determined not to like either film because she could not relate to the story.
It’s no secret that black people’s success, happiness, and overall joy is often seen as a threat in our society. These articles scream internalized racism and misogyny. What else could explain why someone would feel upset enough to write a whole essay on why Beyonce being pregnant, Serena posing for a magazine, and films about African-Americans and Civil-rights is a bad thing. All three articles are mean spirited and without a logical point. I reject the idea that black woman and black art are a problem.