CULTURE

"Looking Like a Rottweiler": Ari Lennox Takes on Internalized Racism

Another day on Twitter, comparing black women to dogs.

Ari Lennox and Teyana Taylor are very familiar with backhanded compliments.

Recently, one user tweeted, "Ari Lennox and Teyana Taylor's ability to have dangerously high sex appeal while simultaneously looking like rottweilers will always amaze me." To which, both singers responded by calling out the cultural toxicity that still attacks black identity. Lennox retweeted the post with the reply, "People hate blackness so bad." Taylor shared Lennox's response, commenting, "No lies detected."


But the discussion launched thereafter delved much deeper than the persistent scourge of cyberbullying celebrities. By comparing the two black women to dogs, the passive aggressive attack drew from a history of anti-black sentiment that's particularly targeted black women.

Lennox took to her Instagram livestream in angry tears to address the history of prejudice, systemic racism, and oppression behind the remark: "How people hate black people so much, how black people can sit up here and say, 'that's not my problem' or 'she does look like a Rottweiler'–that's fine–but you want to talk about being so sensitive?"

Most cuttingly, Lennox addresses the internalized racism behind the comment. In response to the argument shared by many that more culturally sensitive and inclusive language limits freedom of speech, she rejoined: "That's fine…but… Why is this your speech? Why are you so comfortable tearing down black women and no other race?" She called out the prevalence of racism and prejudice within the black community compared to other identities: "When are Hispanic women ever compared to dogs? When do they do that to white women? When are Hispanic men doing that to Hispanic women?"

Unfortunately, intra-racism, or internalized racism, occurs regularly among all groups (let's put aside, for now, the problematic issues with the word 'Hispanic').

Hence, we've tried to adopt a term to address such complex layers of misogyny, racism, bigotry, and all forms of oppression: "intersectionality." While the word's been badly misinterpreted among groups all along the political spectrum, the casual comparison between black women and dogs exemplifies the heart of its meaning. Simply, an individual is "impacted by a multitude of social justice and human rights issues," to the point that even conservative writer David French calls it "common sense": "An African American man is going to experience the world differently than an African American woman," French told Vox. "Somebody who is LGBT is going to experience the world differently than somebody who's straight. Somebody who's LGBT and African American is going to experience the world differently than somebody who's LGBT and Latina. It's sort of this commonsense notion that different categories of people have different kinds of experience."

All too often, those layers of different experiences produce particular forms of prejudices. The original poster, @WinEverUWantIT, was inundated with replies calling out the hypocrisy and misogyny of him, a young black man, criticizing the appearance of two successful black women. "Black men are the weak link in the black community," reads a top comment, followed by, "Let me clarify. Black men like YOU are the weak link in our community."

Lennox then tweeted, "Moms and Dads please love on your beautiful black children. Tell them they're beautiful constantly. Tell them Black people are beautiful. Tell them black features are beautiful." This past summer, Lennox told Buzzfeed she'd had many experiences with social pressure and prejudice to change her features, from her natural hair to her nose. "I would never get surgery and I love my nose," she said. "I just feel this is a conversation that needs to be had. There are black babies that have insecurities 'cause culture says it's funny to insult black features." She uses her platform to denounce the notion that black women's features exist outside society's standards of beauty: "Rocking my natural nose, hair, and skin — that makes me feel so empowered, because there's so many people out there that would rather me not do that," she says. "I refuse to change for them. Knowing that I can encourage someone else to rock their natural self really empowers me, as well."

Culture News

Kanye West's Presidential Run Is Great News for Donald Trump

"Better late than never" may not apply in this case...

On Saturday, in a strange celebration of Independence Day, rapper, producer, and sneaker mogul Kanye West announced his intention to run for president in 2020.

As in, this year. Right now.

The announcement quickly prompeted messages of support from Kanye's wife, prison reform advocate Kim Kardashian West, as well as from billionaire weirdo/Grimes baby daddy Elon Musk.

Of course, this news comes well past the filing deadline for independent candidates in several major states—which means that unless a political party randomly decides to nominate him, Kanye's name won't appear on those ballots. As deadlines in other states approach—with little apparent effort to gather the petition signatures required—Kanye is officially joining the long, proud history of vanity presidential campaigns. Unfortunately, that's a lot more dangerous than it sounds.

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TV

How to Watch and What to Expect for the "Steven Universe: Future" Premiere

With four brand new episodes premiering Saturday at 8:00, you'd better make sure you're ready

It's finally here!

After the announcement, the trailer, and all the teaser art, the anticipation was killing us. But now December 7th is upon us, and the premier of the first four full episodes of Steven Universe: Future is about to deliver some sweet escape from dull dark reality with a glimpse into Beach City and a new era of peace and liberation, thanks to Steven and the Crystal Gems. What new enemies will arise to threaten this hard-won stability, and what lessons will Steven have to learn to take them on? Also, did they ever bring back Cookie Cat? Because Lion Lickers just aren't cutting it.

Steven Universe - Toon Tunes: Cookie Cat Rap www.youtube.com

All these questions and more are finally about to be answered…for those of us who have cable. Unfortunately for the millennial cable cutters who make up a big portion of the Steven Universe fanbase, until next spring rolls around, there isn't really a great way to stream Cartoon Network content. You could always find a source to pirate the episodes, but apart from the legal issues, you'll have to find a way to sleep at night while knowing that you stole the hard creative work of Rebecca Sugar and all their collaborators.

rebecca sugar, zach callison, deedee magno, and michaela dietz You monster!

If you have it in your budget, and know you're going to watch these episodes over and over, Amazon already has a "season pass" available. If you don't, then you might want to find a friend with cable, and just watch it with them. And if you're reading this with 8:00 PM approaching, and you're scrambling for an option, there are a number of Live TV services with Cartoon Network access that offer free trial periods. Just don't blame me if you forget to cancel…

If you aren't convinced, and think you might still wait for who knows how long to watch these episodes when they finally come to Hulu or Netflix, here are the episode descriptions for Saturday's premiere, along with a first look clip of Steven being a sort of social worker for a restored Jasper, just to whet your appetite:

Steven Universe Future - First Look (Clip) www.youtube.com

"Little Homeschool"

Welcome to Little Homeschool, a place on earth where Gems from all over the universe can come learn how to live together peacefully! But there's one Gem who refuses to attend.

"Guidance"

Amethyst has been helping Little Homeschool Gems find jobs on the boardwalk, but Steven isn't sure about her approach.

"Rose Buds"

Steven gets a surprise visit from some old friends, and an even more surprising introduction to some new ones.

"Volleyball"

Steven is determined to help Pink Diamond's original Pearl heal the scar on her face.