Alison Roh Park...Flawless Victory
I also find the “Is Miley racist or not?” debate ridiculous. Of course she is. Cyrus is descended from a long line of European American celebrities from a range of artistic disciplines—Gwen Stefani, Elvis, Alan Ginsberg and other beat poets, Madonna, The Eagles, The Beatles, to name a few—whose careers are built on the backs of people of color and the third world and the use of black women as sexual and racial props.Um...what's that we were just saying?
...Miley Cyrus’ appropriation of twerking and other emblems of “ratchet culture” (e.g. NYC public school in the nineties…good times) was made possible by the historical and social context from which it arises. It’s completely in line with not only recent White pop culture but also the spectacalizing of non-white women’s bodies as early as Ms. Baartman and that of Ah Fong Moy, a young Chinese woman who performed “Chineseness” and was exhibited along with “Oriental” furniture just a few decades later in the U.S. as a teenager.
Today, we have the appropriation-cum-bastardization of kama sutra, ginseng, “geisha” lingerie, grills, colloquialisms, moccasins, and so much. We have Sports Illustrated photo shoots of exemplars of “western” beauty with backdrops of parts of Asia that look very much like places where, during the Vietnam War, the U.S. buried thousands of mines that blow up little kids to this day. We have Katy Perry rocking grills while over a million black men are locked up. We have White suburban youth wearing scanty Pocahontas costumes while over 30 percent of Native women are raped in their lifetime. We have foodies and hip fusion eateries proliferating right next door to food deserts in the U.S., while Montsanto appropriates seeds in Asia and devastates the ecosystems, economies, and lives of millions in Asia. We have the myth of Western democracy (read: capitalism) as a catalyst for gender equality in the third world while the meme “little brown fucking machines”, coined by U.S. military personnel in southeast Asia, continues to generate over 111,000 Google search hits for the use and pleasure of the “Western” male to “[d]iscover what only Asian girls can do with their pussy: Extracting flowers, needles, razor blades, bananas…writing a letter, playing trumpet….”
~ Alison Roh Park, "After Miley, Remembering Hottentot Venus and Ah Fong Moy"