Patt Morrison for May 4, 2012

Hipster racism: myth or fact?

Youtube

A screen grab from a commercial for Popchips, shows Ashton Kutcher playing an Indian man named Raj.

The term ‘hipster racism,’ has been tweeted about quite a bit lately, prompting praise, debate, and a lot of head-scratching. What is it?

According to “A Complete Guide to ‘Hipster Racism',” think privileged white girls flashing gang signs in Facebook photos; or “Girls,” the new HBO show about privileged, white college graduates void of any minorities; or Ashton Kutcher donning brown face as a Bollywood star in a potato chip commercial.

It’s “the racism of everyday life,” according to Racialicious.com, a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. It refers to racism that isn’t intended to be racist because it’s ironic, or it’s coming from someone educated enough, who “knows better,” or who has enough minority friends for it to be “just a joke!”

The term has been largely attributed to the millennial generation, most of whom barely remember Rodney King or O.J. Simpson and perhaps have a different idea of how to talk about race. On the other hand, there are the skeptics, who argue that ironic racism is commentary on racism.

WEIGH IN:

It’s “play acting.” Is it? Does hipster racism exist? Is it any different from more traditional racism?

Guests:

Andrea Plaid, associate editor, Racialicious, a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture

Lindy West, author of “A Complete Guide to ‘Hipster Racism” posted on Gawker Media’s site Jezebel

Kyria Abrahams, blogger, streetcarnage.com; author, "I'm Perfect, You're Doomed"


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