Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” is Most Certainly Racist

taylor-swift-shake-it-off-videoI meant to write about Taylor Swift’s cultural appropriation antics this week but, honestly, more pressing matters in Ferguson demanded my attention. Yet, here I am, writing about Swift’s new video “Shake it Off” anyway. As if the the title  – or the image I chose for this feature – weren’t apt enough, the entire song is about how Taylor Swift is young, white, pretty and carefree so she doesn’t have to care about what people think about her. Then, she caps this narrative off by making fun of black women ‘twerking’ as she crawls between their disembodied legs. End plot.

I feel like what needs to be said has already been said on Salon, and The New York Times. Pay close attention in the video below to Treva Lindsey’s (@divafeminist) explanation of the danger of Taylor Swift’s mistaken intentionality and the hierarchy of dances and dancers in the video.

Yes, the video is incredibly problematic in its clear imagery that black women don’t dance ballet but love to twerk. Yes, the video portrays pale-faced Taylor Swift as the white voyeur in “awe” of black women’s gyrating bodies. Yes, everything is wrong with this video but Swift is white and she didn’t mean to so….

Son of Baldwin’s response on Facebook yesterday did the trick for me, personally.

Son of Baldwin










Swift might want us to believe she doesn’t fit in. She might want us to believe this video is about being socially awkward (in only the way a millionaire can be). She might want to play this off as a playful video about shaking what Amanda Seales described as her “no ass at all.” But, the truth is, she positioned herself and her dancers in such a way as to elitize some dancers and reduce others.

She crawled through the legs of women of color (mostly black women) with her mouth agape while respectfully gazing at the beauty of the white ballerinas (I guess she has never heard of Misty Copeland). She was her silliest, most mocking, and visually ridiculous self in scenes with people of color. Her “black girl costume” was gaudy, outlandish, poorly fitted, and obtrusive while she looked cute as a button in every other costume presented. And, her pseudo-black face antics are yet another tool of white privilege.

This type of positioning and framing is not happenstance. It plays on age-old notions of the entertainment value and commodification of black women’s bodies. Swift just took a bit longer than Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus to immortalize her inherent anti-black attitudes in video. And, her reticence to apologize or even admit a single shred of culpability in putting the ineffectual shenanigans together in the first place is just further evidence of her privilege.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch it below.



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Jenn M. Jackson

Jenn M. Jackson is one half of the Water Cooler Convos team. She is a native of Oakland, CA, resided in sunny SoCal for a decade, and now lives in the Chicago suburbs. Bringing the bourgie and good measure of the nerdy, she fearlessly writes about politics, pop culture, and whatever other topics in black America have firmly planted a bee in her bonnet.
  • Angela Morgan- London

    Okay, is that ALL you saw…twerking black girls, and twirling white ballerinas???? Did we watch the same video? You are really reaching here.

    • Actually, I saw that plus a ton of problematic stereotypes.

      • Wlalkskk Thosomomm Frlahslm

        We’re those stereotypes the white girls twerking, of which there are half white to black ratio in the “crawling” scene? If you wanna take offense to this, that’s fine. This topic fell soooooooooooo far off the ridiculous side that the salon and nyt article, like all these follow ups, are asking puerile to “want” to be offended instead the actual opportunity for genuine offense.

        • B Robert

          Truth…but dont tell the writer…they think theyre the only one yhat knows truth and “gets it”

      • Trish J. Stevens

        But what about Nicki Minaj degrading herself on stage, Jenn M.

        Nicki Minaj Thrusts Her BOOTY With A Hot Male … – YouTube

        • What does this have to do with Taylor Swift? Like, you literally have no point.

        • nick

          It’s her. Her body and her choices. She is not degrading herself at all. And if you think female sexual empowerment is “degredation” you have a LOT to learn.

          • The Painful Truth

            Come on. Come. On.

          • Brian L.

            “Female sexual empowerment,” you say? And yet scores of people like
            you, rushing to the whole “sexual empowerment” claim, will generally
            complain about male game developers making sexy virtual women in video
            games, or claim any sort of male entertainment that exhibits women in an
            “objectified” manner, as “degradation”…

            See, it’s conveniently “sexual liberation” when women want to exhibit themselves in a sexualized manner, but too often deemed a trampling upon the whole of womankind if you as a male depict a sexualized female in a fictional context.

          • B Robert

            CUz this person is a complete hyprocritical moron….and somehow a co-founder and editor of this bloody vile rag….watercoolerconvo sounds like something a stoner white girl would say not a black person so she must have appropriated it from some white girl…cuz thats how we should interpret everything in life: balls and skin…thats all these feminazi race mongers care about…must be a sad existence being so wrong yet acting so assurdely right no matter how ignorant….

          • Imane Assi

            You think that pretending to have sex on stage is female sexual empowerment? You need some serious reality check

          • It actually is for some people. That’s their right. To diminish it is an act of censorship.

          • Imane Assi

            But it isn’t

          • B Robert

            So why isnt it an artist or persons right to twerk or be taylor swift or make a video u tried making a big deal about?? ..ahem ahem…censorship? Personal rights? To dimish it is an act of censorship…so YOUR OPINION IS RIGHT while others are simply biasly diminishing things?? Ok ok…such a scab on society….btw white girl hair and make up might make u look like a fuckable girl but i wouldnt want to diminish or censor your ugliness

          • B Robert

            Its my right to diminish it

          • B Robert

            Why do u defend minaj right to be an idiot and reinforce negative black stereotypes but mock swift for depicting the stereotype minaj has reinforced …makes utterly no srnse…be consistent about your stances on personsl choice and censorship….like youd rather have it so no white girls twerk but have twerking actually stay a black thing?…i think both races and artists involved regarding lame dancing is embarassing and anyone that twerks looks just as silly regardless of color or booty

          • This article is pathetic

            An act of censorship? Kind of like you censoring Taylor Swift and any other person who doesn’t buy into your tropes. You need a reality check.

        • B Robert

          Hey now now…nicki is an intelligent creative artist that does covers of sir mix alot big butts so thats not fair to say at all….jk btw…cant tell with some of the morons that read this race and click baiting garbage like its actuslly something important to discuss….

      • Ikerumbus

        Playing the race card too often is even worse stereotype

      • B Robert

        Really? A ton is 1000 pounds. Give me the tons of examples…..

    • Rich Garriques

      reaching? you must be an idiot. how many black artist videos do you see stereotyping white people?. see im guessing you didnt see all the ballerinas were white and the people twerking were black and white. you cannot see they are stealing your culture while keeping their own in tact?

  • channelle ferron

    This article is without base…clearly the writer has not viewed the video in its entirety….there were people of the black race present in all types of dance portrayed. And twerking does not represent BLACK culture. That is an overstatement. Wearing short shorts also does not only belong to the BLACK culture and BLACKS are not only found in the United States. Please stop generalizing and stop seeking to cause conflict where there is none.

    • I actually reviewed the video three times in its entirety. There are not black ppl in every dance style. There is not a singular black ballerina. You interpret the images how you wish. But, at least base your interpretation on truth.

      • Mykel

        They only “look” white? WOW how narrow minded can you be? — You’re completely wrong about this being a racist video, but you’ll never see that because you only look through your own biased lens. You keep saying how you “thoroughly inspected the entire video”… Well you missed this part of the ballerina dance scene (see attached picture)– where the girl on the left clearly has color to skin… She might be a light skinned black girl, she might be Latino. But I’m sure to you and your biased view she only “looks” like a colored girl… you will just call her a “tan white girl”, just like you assert the white girls in the twerking scene aren’t actually white. You just pick and choose to interpret what ever suits your fancy and label your assumptions “truth”. You need to base your own interpretation on truth. It’s sad that you are so bias and so stubborn because then you’ll never come around.

        • Rich Garriques

          That girl isn’t black stupid and even if she was mixed that doesn’t count as black!

          • Eileen Brewer

            I’m sure the mixed people reading this would be like…”sooo…I don’t count as black or white? Do I just not count?” That was a pretty racist comment right there. I think the real racism is focusing on the color of these dancer’s skin and not their obvious talent from the booty shakers to the ballerinas to the contemporary dancers (which she also obviously makes fun of). I think mostly she’s making fun of herself. Just because she happens to be white doesn’t mean she can’t feel awkward. If we want to be truly without color we have to allow that white people and black people and every other color of people have the capacity for the same range of emotions. I don’t know a single adolescent who hasn’t felt awkward and out of place…and this is a song about being comfortable in your own skin, whatever the color.

          • Who said anyone here wanted to be without color?

          • B Robert

            R u fucking serious? Your whole fucking article is based on race (i.e. skin as well)…wtf!? Im done with u…such an idiot…so frustrating…youre an incompetent embarassment for allllll women and blacks (*note…black is a “color”…thats what colors are)….also u look like dolezal…and judgimg by your idiocy and two dimensional pandering of race, im not even sure if u r another insane person too

          • Shiner

            Dass ryte homeboy we hate race mixing as much as dem dere whiteboys do… dey be diluting our pride an our strengf!

      • Guest

        When little girls are ballerinas is ok but when they get closer to teen years they feel pressured to quit because they can’t be curvy see most ballerinas are very skinny and flat and a lot of girls have to quit black or white or any ethnicity but specially black girls because they are seen as more curvy than white and teachers will put that pressure to the girls even if they don’t really have so most ballerinas are white and I think that’s why it’s depicted like that.

      • Rich Garriques

        I watched the video as well and I don’t need to prove anything to these racist imbeciles.

      • B Robert

        Wouldnt black ballerinas actually be dispelling myth that ballet is “white”? So its a good thing challrnging our normative assumptions of binary racial.identity? Oh wait no no no…youre a black woman so youre right….those poor performers must have sore ankles from those shackles then eh

      • B Robert

        Well wouldnt black ballerinas be an act of appropriation of white culture? Which do u want? I know there were tutsis in africa but had no idea that were tu tus in africa before europe had ballet…ok….also how many black adult ballerinas have u ever seen? None. How many black AND white girls have u seen twerking? Pleeeenty

        • B Robert

          Was just thinking: imagine there were black ballerinas but then some uppidy white girl on her dumb blog ranted and raved about how black people were appropriating ballet like u are doing with twerking? Only diff is white ppl ACTUALLY DO TWERK WHEREAS BLACKS DONT DO BALLET….maybe its time u start actually appropriating white shit snd evolve and learn something from another culture rather than living in a bubble beholdened to the oenership of your race over others….i havent seen or heard a great black rock artist since jimi hendrix…thats a long draught in your open mindedness…hendrix considered top guitarist ever by blacks and whites…eminem considered top rapper of all time by white n black….it happens

      • B Robert

        Hahhaha truth….coming from u is hilarious….do u give yourself thumbs up cuz from what ive read no one agrees with u, and theres like overwhelming majority of yhumbs up given to.ppl disagreeing with u……so allll these ppl interpretation, again, false but youre the almighty god of interpreting truth…truth is bias….theres no such thing as truth especially when interpreting racial or gender truths? U want truth? Africa sold out its own ppl by being the middle men in slavery. They were the ones that established slavery in africa long before euros. They were the ones that dragged people from their homes and tribes and sold them on west coast. Before white appropriation there was black exploitation. Henry Louis Gates and other top tiered black historians have acknowledged this painful truth…can u?

      • This article is pathetic

        Jenn Jackson is clearly a hateful bigot.

    • Lilly Mars

      Jenn needs to come to South Africa! Come and see what “black culture” ACTUALLY consists of and how it is so much more than hypersexualised twerking! I wonder how much Jenn actually knows about the Ndebele, Zulu, Sotho, etc. cultures? African Americans dont have some monopoly on “black culture” (itself a vastly variegated, intersectional term — there is actually no such thing as a monolithic “black culture”, but many distinct black cultures!) I think many black South Africans would laugh at her assertions (certainly my black friends would). A black friend actually gave me a beautiful Ndebele beaded belt as a gift a while ago. My mother borrowed it and wore it to work and the positive, enthusiastic feedback she got from black colleagues was lovely — they felt she was showing respect and appreciation for the culture. It proved to me that if we can come to understand and value each others cultures, cultural exchange can help us see past stupid racial identifiers and appreciate our shared humanity. I also feel that black ballerinas like Michaela DePrince and Misty Copeland have made a fantastic contribution to ballet (Im a dancer and huge fan of ballet myself), so why cant white girls twerk if they do so out of a genuine appreciation for the dance form? The things that are destroying black peoples lives are not Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift, so can we please talk about REAL racism instead of wasting time on this stuff?

      • At no point did I define black culture as any one thing. You did that. And, the black friend thing makes you look ridiculous.

        I am not coming to South Africa to learn how to be black. My black experience is my black experience. As a white person, it is something you will ever understand yet here you are dancing around the periphery begging to be heard because you find yourself so incredibly important to this conversation.

        Sorry hun. I’m not seeking your (or your black friend’s) approval of my blackness. Good luck with that though.

        • Lola Guin

          Yeah, perpetual, self-imposed victimhood is something most whites (and most Asians, Hispanics, and non-American blacks for that matter) don’t understand because we tough it out and get over the past. Quite frankly, I don’t want to understand the “black experience” if that means constantly viewing others as my oppressors and myself as the lowly victim when I live in the freest nation on the planet. I wonder how much better you’d have it in Africa, your utopia of a homeland. America is a haven for ALL people, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc. We are ALL protected and treated equally by the government. Our laws are applied equally and some are even skewed towards favoring blacks and other minorities (Affirmative Action), which is racist against whites. If we’re supposed to all be equal, laws showing favoritism shouldn’t be allowed.. Black Americans like you need to quit the whining, “poor me” nonsense. Get over it. The race card is so worn out this day-in-age. This video is NOT racist.

          By the way, the term “people of color” is not only offensive, it’s downright inaccurate. The white race is the most colorful race on the planet. With skin tones ranging from ivory to golden to light brown, hair ranging from red to blonde to brown to black, eyes ranging from brown to blue to green to hazel to gray. Any variation the black race has (blonde hair, blue eyes, etc.) comes from mixed white genetics, with the exception of some Melanesians who can have blonde hair. We are a VERY colorful people and we have more in common with Asians and Hispanics (who can be white, Hispanic is an ethnicity, not a race) genetically and culturally than Africans do. Lumping blacks in with Asians and Hispanics as if you’re all the same is offensive to all. Excluding whites from “people of color” is seriously offensive. We’re ALL people of color.

          • Susi

            America is not the freest nation on the planet. You need to visit Scandanavia.

          • B Robert

            Yea scandanavia is the most multicultural diverse non white area in the world….we talking culture here kid not good social policies in a small white euro bubble country….

          • Susi

            Actually most Scandinavian countries have very open-door migration policies and take huge numbers of refugees and asylum seekers too. They are very much multicultural. Regardless, by virtually any standard or definition, America is not the “freest” country on earth, despite the PR. But I really cannot be bothered arguing semantics with a bunch of racist morons so… I’m out!

          • Lexxs

            Your comment is false but typical of those fully committed to the white supremacist agenda.

          • B Robert

            Your comment was false but typical of the over sensitive whiny pc police

          • Lexxs

            I recognize your comment as a version of the old “I’m rubber, you’re glue ” retort that was so clever in third grade.

          • Lexxs

            Lola, why do ignorant disgusting white supremacists/racists think that anyone believes their pathetic lies?

          • Rich Garriques

            Wow you are a really disgusting racist person. You tried to say white people are colored. White people do not Come in all different types of colors . Quit lying to your self the truth is everyone came from black people . your race is the weaker race that has lesser features then the alpha humans who are the ones who were enslaved* the blacks* it’s also the reason you have no culture cause all your people did is go all over the world to rape pilege and steal it from others since black moors helped you savages out of the dark ages. Of course you don’t understand anything blacks go through cause your a racist privileged white and like other non blacks you never suffered in your life. So of course non blacks would think black people have some type of victim complex because they have never been victims themselves * ever *. Asians go on about stupid railroad slavery . Irish go on about being slaves for a few months . Hispanics talk about being slaves when in reality their own people are racist because of white supremacy infleunce. You sir are what’s wrong with the world you and other non blacks you always like to talk about black people and know nothing of or care to know nothing of what they go though cause it doesn’t relate to you or your white privilege that blinds you from it. I’m happy I’m black everyday I realize just how bad the world really is and I know everyday when whites go exinct from greed and jealously of the world’s original people. The world will be a better place and it will heal from the monstrosity whites have caused it.

          • Shiner

            Blacks are the only non-racist race in the world. All other races are racist.

          • B Robert

            ??? U need a history lesson moron…hmmmm where to start.. OK:

          • Joel Martin

            It’s really pretty sad and pathetic that you could have done honest open minded research to see every reason you are wrong and how different it is for people of color. You are honestly part of the problem. Stop being butthurt and try to be a good person that does their best to make sure everyone gets treated equally because they don’t.

          • Rich Garriques

            your a fucking idiot. no point in even reading that drivel as soon as you said victim hood i stopped reading your paragraph of obvious racist non sense.

        • Villefort

          You should pay attention to those who annihilate your argument with appropriate counter argument. You didn’t address a single material contention. You did condescend. And you did hide behind the immaterial and trivial.

        • Rich Garriques

          Thank you. I don’t know what makes white people think their opinion matters when it comes to blacks we don’t care they are outside of our spectrum they need to stop trying to analyze our culture it’s not there’s and blacks are getting real sick of their input on it. They are culture vultures

        • B Robert

          No u did define it by defining twerking as black culture….do u realize what u write? U post a quote from twitter saying how fed up u are about white ppl appropriating black culture and how the video is likr black face…..youre such a tool thats been called out by other women and blacks and men….give it up. Youve been slapped.

      • Rich Garriques

        your not black. why do you keep saying black friend.

    • Rich Garriques

      twerking is black culture you idiot. it is used in a derogatory manner in america not in parts of africa stupid. wearing short shorts is similar to tribal clothing which is ALSO black culture. god american blacks are a really stupid. this why white people are able to get away with stealing our original culture in America everyday because black americans don’t know anything about their past culture in africa. they are stupid they let every black accomplishment be tarnished by black American culture that isnt even our real culture. it was made because of slavery and oppression. i bet that is all black americans know.

  • canndigurl24

    Lol, oh please. Girl, go back and watch the video again – entirely this time – then rewrite this article. White girls were twerking in the video, too as well as black girls doing ballet. And I don’t blame her for looking at them in awe; I do too. I’m in awe that someone came up with that stupid dance and that girls actually go around doing it. Girls need to spend more time getting an education than trying (and failing) to look sexy shaking around when they’re actually looking foolish. But that’s a discussion for another day.

    • canndigurl24

      I see if ONLY black women were in the video ‘twerking’. Then I’d probably be thinking to myself, “Huh, is Taylor limiting black women to being viewed only as foolish looking twerkers and nothing more?”

    • No black ballerinas might mean nothing to you bc you expect black women to never dance ballet. That is your limited thought process and Taylor Swift probably feels just like you.

      • Susi

        What if no black ballerinas auditioned? Or if the ones that did weren’t at the same standard as the other dancers? This is ridiculous. The video as a whole is ethnically diverse. It is populated by INCREDIBLE dancers who are just fantastic to watch. The video is respectful of the different dancers and showscases what they can do and just how good they are at it. In all scenes she is awed by the dancers, awkward, unable to pull off their moves despite observing and trying to copy, and then just gives up and dances in her own inelegant but happy style.

  • Traci Hall

    Y’all thinking too much…

  • Monetary Minded

    This article is right on the money… Iggy is the worst bc she has an ” I don’t respect black culture & I don’t give a f” attitude. she just wants to use black culture for monetary gain. She don’t have to worry about raising black kids like the Real Black Women in Ferguson and across america. Nice to hide behind white privillege when shit hits the fan…smh

  • qttc

    Ridiculous!! There is nothing racist about this video whatsoever. I’m a black woman & I can’t believe that this is even a discussion. It’s proposterus. Reaching is an understatement!

    • Rich Garriques

      Your not black stfu

      • oliverclark

        how do you know that?

  • Rob Merrill

    I can only believe that this article was written with the sole purpose of making an obviously outlandish claim to drive traffic to a website. For that purpose, and that purpose alone, this article is fantastic.

    Unless someone is actively trying to make this video into something it’s not, it’s almost painfully clear that the whole point of this video is to show how awkward Taylor is, and how little she cares. She’s attempting to show that it’s perfectly fine to be yourself. A message that isn’t often spread around these days with everyone pushing a very specific image or product.

    Most popular genres and styles are playfully mocked here. Both “black” and “white” music are poked at. Where’s the uproar? There isn’t one.

    “She crawled through the legs of women of color (mostly black women)…” If what’s being talked about is the image chosen and the 2 sets of “white” legs are ignored, or somehow 2 out of 4 is now mathematically considered “mostly,” then yes, the quoted statement would be accurate.

    “She was her silliest, most mocking, and visually ridiculous self in scenes with people of color.” Taylor is an awkward country girl, of course she’s going to be most visually ridiculous in a hip hop/rap setting. She’s likely always been most awkward in such a setting, or attempting to “dance,” as we’ve all seen here try at various awards shows.

    “Her “black girl costume” was gaudy, outlandish…” Have you watched any videos lately? She can’t help the fashion trend of current videos.

    “…she positioned herself and her dancers in such a way as to elitize some dancers and reduce others.” Keep in mind this video had a director. Not that I thing anyone was trying to “elitize” anyone, but no one seems to be directing any of this anger towards the director. There is an opportunity being taken here with a very specific agenda in mind.

    My only point here is that this video needs to be taken for what it is: a visual representation of the sentiment of the lyrics of the song. It’s no secret to anyone at all that Taylor has always been kind of an awkward, march to the beat of her own drum kind of girl. Her transition to pop music will likely not change that.

    • Since you provided such a thorough comment, I am inclined to respond in kind. The article wasn’t written for traffic. Clicking around a bit on the site for five minutes will show you this is the content we deal with here daily.

      In the twerking scene, most of the dancers are black women. The other women appear to be women of color with only one who “looks” white. However, since no one’s whiteness is prominent (like it was in the ballet scene), it is fair to assume they are women of color. While the crawling seems intermingled between racial groups, the ass directly in the camera is a black woman’s. And, disembodied black body parts have always been akin to commodification and exploitation.

      Glad you know Taylor so well. I don’t personally know her to be an “awkward country girl.” As far as I know she is a multi-million dollar earning mediocre pop tart who fails miserably at both singing and dancing but has enough white people who thinks she is pretty to keep her atop the charts no matter how terrible her music is. And, the “of course” applied before rap and hip hop proves your biases against the genre.

      Your comments about black music videos leads me to believe you’re a troll.

      Yes, the video has a director but Taylor – being the star – has production and editing rights. She is no hapless victim. She doesn’t have to do anything she deems wrong or exploitative.

      I don’t particularly care about Taylor Swift nor her career. I am concerned with the images and lives of black women. This video is damaging in that respect.

      • Cetrile

        “In the twerking scene, most of the dancers are black women. The other women appear to be women of color with only one who “looks” white”…I have no business commenting on whether this video is offensive or not (although I certainly think it was in poor taste), but just to speak to this point – I work in casting for commercials and music videos. We are asked to cast dancers all the time, and most often are asked for them to be ethnically diverse. You have no idea how difficult this is…

      • $30721674

        So give us your thoughts on the Anaconda video.

        • Rich Garriques

          Don’t need to nicki minaj represents her image as a white girl with a black attitude all the time. She’s a stereotypical mess of black culture. Please reframe from using black artists that are clearly degrading black culture for money as an example to argue against black people. If you want to go there then who owns their record labels. You probably won’t go there now

      • Jaster

        “As far as I know she is a multi-million dollar earning mediocre pop tart
        who fails miserably at both singing and dancing but has enough white
        people who thinks she is pretty to keep her atop the charts no matter
        how terrible her music is.”

        Jealous much?

        • Exactly. Because she is pretty and white, I must be jealous. That’s exactly who I want to be. Thanks for the psychoanalysis.

          • CaeruleaTigris

            I think, Jenn, that they are reffering to her financial status and popularity, not how conventionally attractive or how “white” she is.

          • Rich Garriques

            That’s the whole idea to why she has wealth dumb ass

          • ScottyB

            Yes. Her reply says a lot.

          • Rich Garriques

            Thank you for this whites don’t get it at all

        • Rich Garriques

          No offense but Taylor Swift is garbage if singing about your ex boyfriend is your idea of good music then your a bone head just like her. Now she got tired of that music is exploiting black culture to keep her racist self on top

          • Abdalmaus

            “Exactly. Because she is pretty and white, I must be jealous. That’s exactly who I want to be. Thanks for the psychoanalysis.”
            Thanks, you just proved to be a professional victim, you shame intelligent black people.

            “That’s the whole idea to why she has wealth dumb ass”
            So, you’re saying Taylor Swift is only rich because she is “pretty and white”? Lmao.

      • Lilly Mars

        They only “look” white? How do you even verify that they are actually WOC who just “look” white? Its awfully convenient to say that, o, they look white, but since all the ballerinas are prominently white, all the twerkers MUST therefore ACTUALLY be WOC. Sorry Jenn, not onboard with your logic. Im no big fan of Swift either, but your sinking to personal attacks on her, calling her a “pop tart” whose music is terrible, casts serious doubts on your ability to be objective in assessing her music videos — talk about bias!

        • At no point on this site (or anywhere) do I call myself unbiased. My opinion is my own and it certainly colors my views of the video.

          Don’t like it? Write your own post about it.

      • G M

        So, although there are black women in almost every ensemble (including the close up during the contemporary which I might add is impressive) you have decided to focus on the one scene which would be problematic no matter what from your perspective.

        Had she placed the majority of white dancers in the hip hop/ twerking section, you would have discussed how black women weren’t being represented in the style of dance that stems from African American culture.

        Had she not placed the scene in at all she would have been told that she was ignoring a huge part of modern dance, i.e. hip hop.

        No matter what she did you would have found a way to pick it apart even though there is really quite good representation across the board as well as the accumulation of skilled dancers.

        Also, I am Aboriginal Australian, so while our experiences will obviously be different, I am a minority in Australia. I wish people would stop being so sensitive about things that really didnt offend anyone. This video wasnt offensive until you distorted it to fit your agenda.

        There are a lot of problematic sterotypes (e.g. submissive Asian women in hollywood culture, “angry” black men, Aboriginal Australians that are constantly spending their doll money on pingers and drinks), and I agree that the sterotype of “twerking black sassy women” is damaging as it objectifies a whole group of people. However, I don’t believe that this sterotype is encouraged through this video. Had the black women only been included in the twerking section, that would be problematic. But they were in all the other sections that you failed to mention, showing talent and challenging the sterotype you were all too quick to latch on to.

        (also, I dont care if this is a racial debate, “no ass at all” is body shaming and its unnecessary and unkind to ANY woman to be that crass and unkind)

        • CaeruleaTigris


      • Shiner

        There’s a lot of comments here, but I think everyone has to agree what Jenn, and Rich Garriques among others are saying is that black people are simply better, and more human, than any other race due to the fact – as the both state – that all humanity began with the black race. Any deviations are simply mutations and degradations. People who don’t see the racism here are clearly not black, as they don’t realise that racism is something that affects black people only. Blacks have suffered more than anybody, anywhere at any time. No other race experienced slavery before, and even the Holocaust lasted a fraction of a second compared to how long slavery lasted.

        You stupid honkys need to shut up, back down, and realise you are all the beta release on humanity. Thumbs up the FUCK outta this post, yo.

  • Ray Kunkle

    I read this article for about 30 seconds until I got to the part where it said she was racist because of black girls twerking. Seems so completely credible…..especially when the very first picture in this article clearly has a white girl twerking with the black girls. So just to be clear, according to the person that wrote this acticle when a white person twerks its ok but when a black person twerks its racist.

    • Ray Kunkle

      I think the only racist person is the black woman that wrote this article. According to the black woman that wrote this article, white women are not allowed to have black women twerk in their music videos. EVEN IF there are both black and white women twerking together. Who am I kidding though 😡 Everyone knows black people can’t be racists right? #blackpeoplecanberacistto

  • Anna Tucker

    There were twerking white girls too… And maybe if people would stop accusing everyone of being racist and worry about ACTUAL problems, like the poor and hungry, the world would be a better place. That’s all people do no a days…. look for new things to bitch about. Be thankful for life, be nice to people and don’t spread hate. IT’s that easy.

    • Poverty and hunger are more prevalent among black and brown populations. Still linked to a structure of racism. Nice try though.

    • Rich Garriques

      90% of people poor in the world are black and brown people nice try tho. This happened cause of globalization from your white leaders

  • Cetrile

    “shaking what Amanda Seales described as her “no ass at all”…but it’s OK to body-shame?

    • Jaster

      It’s completely fine. Remember, when talking about a white person, black people can’t be racist, prejudiced, jealous, insecure, etc.

      • Not sure I ever mentioned prejudiced, jealous, or insecure..

        • Jaster

          You don’t have to; others do it plenty. Amanda Seales insulting Taylor Swift’s ass is an insecure projection on her part, but it’s OK because she’s a black girl talking about a white girl.

      • Rich Garriques

        Of course not cause blacks dont have a system against white people it is white people that have a system against black people since day one. I know truth hurts will.. not really since your white privlege blinds you for anything you do or say

        • oliverclark

          how do you know jaster is white?

    • Not sure I ever said body-shaming was a good thing.

      • Cetrile

        You sort of contradict yourself by doing so.

        • But I didn’t. And, there is literally nothing contradictory about two separate conversations: body-shaming and racial hatred. They have literally nothing to do with one another.

          • Lilly Mars

            Come on now. You, as a black woman, of all people, should know how body shaming and racism have historically been intertwined. Saartjie Baartman, The Venus Hottentot? Or are you not familiar with the history? Certainly, body shaming and racial hatred DO in MANY instances have MUCH to do with one another. Im guessing you werent interested in having a conversation about Amanda Searles problematic and yes, racially tinged, body shaming because Swift is white. Shall we start calling Taylor Swift the White Hottentot?

  • Theonecalledcaroline

    While I’m not black, I’ve grown up as a dancer, and I completely agree with you about the lack of recognition of black ballet dancers. It’s totally worrying to many of the black girls at the studio, and while I don’t experience it myself, it’s so saddening to see them get discouraged because of how they were born, and to imagine what it must be like.

  • locke

    after reading through your comments i am completely disgusted. how you state african americans cant be racist when your picking apart taylor swift for being the white girl. its people like you that make this world a terrible place. a racist and a bigot. no wonder your job is writing fluff pieces on the internet… truly shows how you will not amount to anything and this is most likely due to the fact that you hate all people who’s skin is a lighter shade than your own. please… please… give up your job.

    • Until black Americans have the power to oppress whites, we cannot – by definition- be racist. My critique of Taylor Swift is not bc she is white. It is because her video choice reinforces negative stereotypes of women of color.

      And, actually, my job is teaching young college students about statistics, politics, and racism. I am very good at it. You might benefit from a course or two.

      Please, please, read a book.

      • Lilly Mars

        Racism is an attitude towards people of other colours — not just “oppression”. I am constantly told that I am racist by virtue of being white, not because I actively oppress anyone, but because the society in which I live affords me certain privileges, thereby making me a racist.

        Moreover, are you saying that black supremacist groups like Nation of Islam and Nation of Yahweh are not racist by virtue of being black? So murder, calling white people devils, and showing young black men porno films of white women having sex with animals — that cannot, by definition, be racist?

        I dont understand your view that “Until black Americans have the power to oppress whites, we cannot – by definition- be racist.”

        • Rich Garriques

          Wow still doesn’t get it? Does white privlege blind you that much is it that hard to see over your own ignorance that you have lie to get yourself some likes?

      • Jermy Powell

        Don’t fool yourself you’re most definitely a racist.

        • That’s interesting. I have never met a white person who was structurally oppressed by me. But, you’re probably more knowledgeable in this area than me.

        • Rich Garriques

          What is the definition of racism

      • Jaster

        Please point me to some of your articles where you discuss non whites reinforcing negative stereotypes of women of color. There’s sooooo much more material for you there so I’m guessing there must be a plethora of them.

        • There actually are. You can look them up yourself. But, the idea that there is more material there is completely incorrect. Whites have cornered the market on exploiting, undermining, ravaging, and pacifying women of color.

          • Jaster

            Jenn, are the numerous rap and hip hop (not all of them) videos that include representing WOC as simply gyrating sex objects bothersome to you at all?

          • I have repeatedly mentioned how damaging hip hop and rap culture is to women. I have an entire article criticizing Lil’ Wayne. But, I guess you missed that…

          • Jaster

            I will look again, thanks.

        • Jaster

          “This white dude has been on @watercoolercon_ 48 hrs reading, getting angry, rereading & getting reangry. He literally thinks I care lol.”


          I guess I’m just another “angry white dude” trying to voice his unwanted opinion. My bad. Apologies for interfering. This is a prime example of why white people are scared to have decent conversations with black people. The moment we may disagree with something a black person says is the moment we get called the “white dude” and are told you don’t care. Excellent job shutting down the conversation. I guess if you don’t care then I’ll stop caring as well.

          • Lilly Mars

            Hey Jaster, if you’re interested checked out leelamassie.blogspot.com (the blog’s name is Blognoxious). There are some articles on race issues from a white South African perspective, and one where Jenn Jackson’s assertions on appropriation and the inability of blacks to be racist are specifically adressed 🙂

          • Jaster

            Excellent blog. I read multiple entries. Logical, fair, and balanced. Couldn’t agree more with what I read.

      • Jaster

        “My critique of Taylor Swift is not bc she is white.”

        Jenn this is an obvious untruth. You whole article is predicated on the fact that she is white. This statement is a complete contradiction to what you have written.

        • Actually, the whole article is predicated on the fact that the video marginalizes women of color. You only see it as an attack on whiteness because you are a bigoted white person. It probably struck a chord with you.

          • Jaster

            I don’t believe I’ve called you any names in my posts. I’d appreciate it if we could reply to each other without it happening again.

          • You are bigoted. In this space, I will refer to you as I wish. I define this blog. You have no parameters here.

          • Jaster

            Fair enough. I’m surprised you even reply to people in these comments sections. You don’t care to have respectful conversations with people of differing opinions so why bother?

          • I have plenty of constructive conversations here. But, I don’t indulge folks who come here in an attempt to silence the lived experiences of black people.

          • Again, this is a space for Black people. You don’t get to remove me (the editor in chief of the site) from the comments on my own site. Your suggestion that I not reply to comments on my site, on a post I wrote is so privileged it’s funny.

          • Abdalmaus

            “Until black Americans have the power to oppress whites, we cannot – by definition- be racist.”

            “Again, this is a space for Black people. You don’t get to remove me (the
            editor in chief of the site) from the comments on my own site. Your
            suggestion that I not reply to comments on my site, on a post I wrote is
            so privileged it’s funny.”

            And this is how you make a fool of yourself in your self-made “definition”.
            What you want to say pretty much is:
            “You’re are not black, so you don’t deserve my respect and shouldn’t be here. Therefore, I will abuse my moderating powers, because I can’t stand common sense, nor people that disagree with me, even if they respect me.”

            Let’s not forget that you capitalized “black”, I will leave it at that, but we both know what you meant.

            The biggest bigots here are you and that Rich Garriques dumbass.

      • Chance McIntyre

        “Until black Americans have the power to oppress whites, we cannot – by definition- be racist.”

        noun: racist; plural noun: racists
        a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another.

        Funny, I don’t see a single word about oppression in the definition of racism. Oppression may be an end result, but all racism requires is the belief that there are races that are superior to another.

        “My critique of Taylor Swift is not bc she is white.”

        So where are your critiques of African American music videos which feature black women twerking?

        “Please, please, read a book.”

        Only after you find a dictionary.

        • Rich Garriques

          Copy and paste the whole definition instead of some of it and don’t use urban dictionary. Loser

          • April Rainville

            I think you are a little late to this Rodeo! You may want to find a newer blog to troll…just saying!

          • Chance McIntyre

            It’s from the Oxford Dictionary, genius. Google: too hard for the stupid and lazy.

      • Villefort

        “Until black Americans have the power to oppress whites, we cannot – by definition- be racist.”

        — This is a categorically false statement. I have serious doubts you will ever complete your PhD. You’re not going to be able to defend your thesis with such flawed argumentation.

        • Glad to hear you’re an expert in PhD completion. You are simply reinforcing the points I make here about privilege. Your comment is ad hominem rather than focusing on the issues raised in the article. Not productive from what I can tell.

        • Rich Garriques

          Haha says who ?

      • skamui

        Racism is not only about oppression. It is also about attitude. “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics
        or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it
        as inferior or superior to another race or races.” Notice the definition. It is about belief, not action. Quoting an antiquated definition of racism does the cause no good.

        • Rich Garriques

          If it’s about oppression then she’s right quit trying to argue and bring up other things . When you stated yourself it also means oppression. Man you whites just don’t wanna I give it up all these excuses it’s really pathetic

      • CaeruleaTigris

        I may be “white”, but as a middle-class (I’m assuming, since you work at a college), able, cis, straight person you have far more privileges than I have ever had. And the same goes for a lot of white people. Just because you are a part of one particularly oppressed minority, it does not mean that that one disadvantage automatically overrides someone else’s disadvantages simply because that someone else is a part of your oppressing group.

      • Heather J Hopkins

        “Until black Americans have the power to oppress whites, we cannot – by definition- be racist.”

        I want to make sure I understand what you are saying -you assert that
        “racism = prejudice + power”
        and that power must specifically be the power to oppress –
        and that this power of oppression must be exercised by black Americans over white (American?)s for black Americans to be considered racist?

        What is the basis of this definition? It seems much more “charged” (for lack of a better word) than, say, the Oxford English Dictionary definition of racism as a, “belief that all members
        of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific
        to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior
        to other races.” From that, I have always assumed anyone could be racist.

        You seem to be using a socially adapted version of the definition, and I am interested in what the background for that definition is. (I am actually interested – I’m not trying to make some commentary on what you have written) If there are any sources that discuss it, I’d love to learn more.

        • My definition for racism in American society derives from the book Black Power, written by Kwame Ture and Charles Hamilton. Racial animus, discrimination, and prejudice in the American context does not have the structural and institutional context without situating it in a historically-based definition. Thanks for asking.

          • Heather J Hopkins

            Thanks for the info! I actually was a little taken aback by the glamorization of Colonialism in her latest video – I like her music, but some of her vidoes give me pause.

  • Lilly Mars

    Taylor swift twerking is an appropration of “black culture” but black ballerinas such as Misty Copeland is not an appropriation of “white culture”?

    • Jaster

      Yes Jenn, can you please explain why it’s OK for black people to partake in any white culture, but it’s heinous for a white person to partake in black culture?

      • I explained that in a appropriation article about Katy Perry and Iggy Azalea. Please feel free to read it.

        • Jaster

          I’ve read it. So white culture is fair game, but black culture is not. Is that correct? So are rappers like Eminem and Macklemore racist as well? Is it not possible for a white person to be comfortable with black culture and thrive within it???

          • White culture cannot be hijacked, mocked, columbused in a way to systematically oppress white people. It is called “mainstream” for a reason.

          • Chance McIntyre

            So white people twerking is oppressing you? Your comments are comedy gold.

          • No. The absence of black ballerinas perpetuates an age-old justification for oppression and commodification of black women’s bodies by excluding from symbols of purity and chasteness. Hypersexed black women are objectified while white, graceful women are set as the norm. These things can be learned from reading any of the canonical works in womanism. So, in fact, your comments are comedy gold to the well-read.

          • Rich Garriques

            He’s pretty dumb . He knows nothing iunno how whites get by in this world with little to no knowledge on their racist culture . Must be that white privlege

          • Rich Garriques

            Wow you are really this stupid or are you pretending ?

          • Rich Garriques

            Yeah its fair game whites don’t have a culture. If you appriciate black culture and don’t exploit it and respect it’s people that’s fine but that is not at all what whites do when approaching it.

        • Jaster

          Here’s a different opinion for you to read Jenn:


          He’s right on track: no one is stealing anyone’s culture.

          This is America Jenn, not Black and White Land. Cultures are going to blend together because people LIKE other cultures, not because they are “stealing” or exploiting them.

          • Rich Garriques

            they are stealing and exploiting by law in this country. they have already done so from the start of their massacre around this planet. and even getting this land.

        • David Edwards

          You’re responses are childish in the extreme and show a hatred of people who had no involvement in subjugating black people. Subsequently you just end up creating more anger and hatred and the sadly the wheel keeps on turning….

      • Rich Garriques

        How can black people partake In white white culture? That’s preposterous. White people don’t even have a culture 90% of it was stolen from other cultures when they colonized. White culture would be violence .

        • David Edwards

          To be fair, none of you should be there. America belongs to the native Indians, not whites, blacks or hispanics.

  • Jermy Powell

    I think idiots like you who look for things to be offended by are the real reason there’s still racism in America

    • Annie Coffman

      You can disagree with this interpretation of the video but your stance on racism is garbage.

  • BJ McLennan

    Taylor Swift or you ? I know who the racist is. Get the chip off your shoulder.

    • I will get the chip off of my shoulder when white America gets me the key the shackles on my ankles.

      • Chance McIntyre

        A professional victim, through and through.

        • Makes sense. Blame the oppressed because you benefit from the system which oppresses. Good for you if that’s your business model. I am more inclined to work outside a system of haves and have nots.

          • Sammie Way

            You are only oppressed in your mind, which is sad because you’ve obviously had many opportunities in life that have lead you to this point in your life. You’re so quick to throw the race card out when there are how many successful black people that don’t need to do that to be heard. It makes you sound whiny and ignorant, and no one wants to take you seriously. If you refuse to stop being racist towards whites, how can you expect them to stop being racist towards you? It’s a two way street, and I refuse to be blamed for your insecurities, purely because of my skin color.

        • Rich Garriques

          Yeah keep saying victim in 2040 whites will be the victim you wait

          • David Edwards

            You are just a racist in waiting. A violent one at that.

    • Rich Garriques

      Oh so your asking blacks to forgive you after you enslaved their ancestors for 400 years and 50 years after they should just get over it right ?

  • Jaster

    This is what we’ve come to? Really??? A Taylor swift video is racist???

    The word “racist” is REALLY BAD. It used to be reserved for actual RACISM.

    Now it’s used to describe a Taylor Swift video. Unbelievable.

    The author should be ashamed. You and some others have used this word so often it has lost its power. People skip “stereotypical” and “prejudiced” and go straight to “RACISM!’

    Taylor’s video AT WORST is perpetuating a stereotype, and even that’s being sensitive.

    These are the types of articles that have made people so tired of this topic it creates a complete disservice to actual racist events.

    • Racism is not an event. Racism is a system which Taylor Swift fits neatly into and benefits from.

  • Devon

    “As far as I know she is a multi-million dollar earning mediocre pop tart who fails miserably at both singing and dancing but has enough white people who thinks she is pretty to keep her atop the charts no matter how terrible her music is.”

    So is it not ok for African Americans to like Taylor? Or can white people not like African American artists? Do white people not know/make real music as compared to the African American community? Your argument for racism shows a clear prejudice toward white musicians and white people in general. So lets try this with the roles reversed, making it about Nicki Minaj.

    As far as I know she is a multi-million dollar earning mediocre pop tart who fails miserably at both singing and dancing but has enough black people who thinks she is pretty to keep her atop the charts no matter how terrible her music is.

    • Who said anything about black ppl liking Taylor Swift? Your comment makes absolutely no logical sense.

      • Devon

        For someone who champions breaking down stereotypes, your assumption that only white people (not ppl, you’re an author use grown up words) like Taylor is a hypocritical statement.

        • Grown up words? Go away.

          • anon

            thats called deflecting. avoidance tactics

          • Rich Garriques

            You and Devon are both dumb asses period . That is an opinionated remark that has no baring on what she said. You basically made that up to sound bigger than her

        • Rich Garriques

          Wow just wow you are an idiot . Just don’t comment here again

    • Rich Garriques

      Perhaps if white people didn’t steal black culture in its entirety to use as a cash cow for their own people . Blacks would respect them more but that is not at all the case. Fact is you stole jazz rock and roll classic music and hip hop from blacks . Which is most music genres did I even mention techno. You people really didn’t come up with anything your presence is a mockery to our culture and people of this world .you plagerisgised in order to gain acceptance in your own world’s not ours.

  • christina

    Nice article! I read on Tumblr about her also dissing Blue Ivy, or calling North West “cuter” because she is whiter?…..But I can’t seem to find it ANYWHERE (damn.) I’ll keep looking.

    • Shanaya Brown

      maybe because it was made up by a tabloid? Taylor Swift never said that, if she did it would be ALL over social media

  • Bless

    Jenn, I am being open minded – OK, yes the scene with mainly black girls did have them twerking etc…but every rap video made by our black rappers has this & more…why are you taking it personally when these women, adults I might add, choose to be and have to sign authorization documentation to be filmed in these vids knowing what’s involved @ the shoot?

    I guarantee if you or I go to any black club across the US the girls are more likely to do what the black chicks in this video are doing as opposed to ballet….#justathought

    • Here is my response to that. http://watercoolerconvos.com/2014/08/27/heres-why-nicki-minaj-and-taylor-swift-are-not-the-same/

      I have plenty of articles on the site about cultural appropriation (Iggy Azalea and Katy Perry). That is not the same as an actual black person fitting a negative stereotype.

      • Bless

        So have you been to London recently? Go to an event called The Jump Off on a Monday night….I hope you see all the non-black girls twerking and grinding their asses on stage to hip hop….you’ll probably have a meltdown Jenn.

        I quickly read through the article you posted and summarized it so please forgive me if I misread anything that I’ll comment on…you say blonde hair and a British accent does not really represent black girls reflections of themselves???? Again, have you been to London??? There are black people over there, black women too and they do have British accents and do feel like Nicki talks for ‘them’.

        Also from what I gathered from your article, it’s OK for Nicky to do it because as a black woman she has natural fluidity while Perry/Swift/Cyrus don’t???? Been to the Caribbean Jenn? Seen some non-black West Indians dance? I know a few white Jamaican women as well as Indian and Chinese Trinidadians that will make Nicky look like Taylor when it comes to that ‘tyoe’ of dancing……again, you’ll probably have a melt down if you saw this.

        Been to Amsterdam and seen the International Dancehall Queen show? Women from Germany to Japan fly in to take part in this dance show (twerking/grinding etc)…this will really melt you if you saw this….your article seems to have a number of flaws to your logic based on my actual traveling experiences.

        • Your rebuttals have absolutely nothing to do with my core argument. If you don’t have anything productive to add, just stop trying.

        • This article has nothing to do with London or Amsterdam or wherever. It is rooted in the history of Black women in the US. What you are doing is derailing and moving the conversation away from the subject of analysis. I will not engage your argument.

          And, this has nothing to do with fluidity. Please read again if you can’t understand the core argument.

          I don’t need to travel the world to understand my place in it. My lived experiences in the US are the focus of this article. When you want to talk about the US then I will engage you in discussion.

          • Bless

            Jenn my dear, the world is bigger than America and there are black people/black communities/black experiences/black culture etc in other countries outside America Jenn. Why get so defensive if someone else’s opinion or views are different to yours?

            MY lived experiences as a black man growing up with other blacks from the UK, Europe, the Caribbean, South America back to the US etc contradict everything that you’ve written.

          • Again, this site is not a comparative analysis site. My opinions and cultural critiques do not contradict your experience because you didn’t write the article, I did.

            This has nothing to do with a difference of opinion because you are talking about a different subject of analysis (Blacks around the world). I am not. I choose not to derail and have that conversation as that is not the focus of my work.

            Your condescending words are misogynistic. To assume that I, a PhD student, am unaware of the size of the world is a tool to silence me. If you continue with ad hominem condescenscion, you will be blocked from commenting on this site.

          • Bless

            Where in the world does my comment come off as misogynistic? In what manner do my words come across as condescending? My dear, I am simply having a CONVERSATION with you….because we disagree there’s a problem?? Wow, defensiveness stems from insecurity my dear and it oozes out of your writings…

            Congrats on your PhD and I hope it works well for you (not sure why there’s a need to throw that it, insecurities popping up again)….does me having a Masters Degree from London (where the education standards are higher than that of the US I might add) make me less qualified than you to discuss MY experiences and how they may differ from your article? You might as well block everyone from your site so long as their opinion differs from yours.

  • Jason Melling

    The entire black cry of racism culture in America is dead. It has taken a back seat to matters of true importance such as terrorism and climate change to name just 2. Black people who cry racism are today seen as nothing but a minor annoyance, a “crying with a loaf of bread under each arm” scenario. There are true problems today and a cry of (sometimes imaginary) racism is way at the bottom of the list of matters of importance.

    • Sounds like an interesting theory. I am guessing you’re not black…

    • Rich Garriques

      Terrorism from who ? Whites? Clitmate change cause whites are destroying the world with tech. It’s alright I know you would not understand the real issues in the world so you will make blacks out to be cry wolf. Your a real pathetic human being if you even are one.

  • J. Banks

    Honestly, all I did was cringe from these really weird allegations that stereotype “black culture” and really just try to press cultural conservatism (which like any form of conservatism and progressivism, is philosophically bankrupt). Even worse though, is that most of these allegations are coming out of nowhere. Half the women twerking are white as Swift crawls through the legs of the twerking women, and no, not all of the ballerinas are white (however, there’s just one person of colour that I was able to see as a dancer). Furthermore, perhaps I’m misreading, but that Son of Baldwin status treats acting like a “thug” to be “millennial blackface”. Doesn’t that just perpetuate one of the most dangerous stereotypes that young black men face today?

    Really, I’m just not getting this at all.

  • Biff Wellington

    Why don’t people get mad about all the black hip hop artist who sing about going to the club and shaking their butts and getting drunk and getting high? There have been plenty of black singers that have videos showing black women twerking. They stereotype themselves. Watch a few rap videos.

  • Biff Wellington

    Isn’t Nikki Minage perpetuating black stereotypes when she twerks?

  • skamui

    Some things are racist. But reaching for racism in everything actually hurts the efforts to fight against things that are really racist. The boy who cried wolf syndrome.

  • karen

    I appreciate the discussion. If Taylor had black ballerinas some may have accused her of over representation of blacks in privileged society, possessing advantages that in reality do not exist. This is why some railed against the Huxtable family from the Cosby show.

  • Amber

    yes, please give us your opinion of the Anaconda video.

  • Guest

    I find the comments on this article pretty disgusting. When I first saw the video, I admit that ‘racism’ didn’t pop into my head. But guess what – I’m white. I’m in the group that often doesn’t see systems of oppression that are there. It happens over and over again. Take a hint my fellow white people – if people of color tell you that something is racist, it probably is.

    • This got the “comment of the day.”

    • Jaster

      With all due respect, just because someone is black doesn’t mean they are correct when they call something racist. You are leaving out someone’s intelligence, bias, wisdom, and many other attributes when making a comment like that.

      • Rich Garriques

        Your wrong racism effects all black people in the system of oppression . Your ignorance clouds your own judgement. Your willingness to make excuses for a system that is there speaks volumes

    • Rich Garriques

      They won’t they are to selfish and bigotted

    • greenapples

      Great thought process behind your suggestion. I’ll just go and wait for black people to tell me I’m racist.

      This does get the comment of the day award…..for a different reason.

  • Rose Megill

    Non-whites (black people especially) have been the forerunners of the creation of almost every single popular dance style for the past two centuries. Salsa, hip hop, disco, swing, TAP DANCE for Christ’s sake, not to mention dozens and dozens of other subsections of dance styles. Idk about you, but the Viennese Waltz portion of So You Think You Can Dance was the part where I’d go make popcorn. And I went to see a classical ballet a few weeks ago and it was boring as hell. Some girl stood on her tip toe with one leg in the air for fifteen seconds and the audience lost their shit. How is that exciting?

    I don’t know why this is relevant, but I thought it needed to be said. White people want in on black culture cause we’re incapable of making our own, unless passing anti-abortion laws and cutting health care counts as “white culture” cause in American at least, that seems to be the only “original” thing we can come up with.


    • Jaster

      You must lead a very blissful life!

    • anon

      actually honey, tap dancing originated with the irish….and just because you find the viennese waltz and ballet boring, is not a reflection on white culture, but purely your own preferences.

      • Rose Megill

        Actually tap dancing was partially developed from West African rhythm dance, so my comment still holds, honey

        • anon

          Key word; partially. Its origins remain in Irish step dance. look that up. Regardless of whether its your opinion or not, my point was that its subjective. As for the decline of Western culture — yes, I agree, its lost its influence in many ways. But that is due to numerous factors, not least increasing immigration, for example. Not because it is ‘boring’. Anyway, popular culture today is its own melting pot of influences. sorry to ruin the joke.

          “In the mid-1600s, Scottish and Irish indentured laborers brought their social dances to the New World. Slaves in the southern United States imitated the rapid toe and heel action of the Irish Jig and the percussive sensibility of the Lancashire Clog, and combined them with West African step dances that were known as “Juba” dances and “Ring Shouts.” As a result, African dance styles became more formal and diluted, while European elements became more fluid and rhythmic, eventually resulting in a uniquely American Tap hybrid. ”

          From “the origins of tap dance” on beholders.org

  • Jim

    This song is talking about your article…haters going to hate. People tend to find what they are looking for even if it isn’t there.

    • Jaster

      Here’s a conversation I had with a black guy recently:

      Me: I can understand it’s natural to think that. But definitely some things are just life sucking for you, not racism.

      Him: You have the luxury to believe that. I don’t. When life sucks for me, and a white person is the cause, its instant racism.

      Me: if a white man fires you from your job and says it’s performance related, you can admit if that’s true and not racism.

      Him: I can admit if its true. If I think its BS I will sue. If he can
      convince me its true, I’ll have to eat it and shut up. Even if I think
      racism played a part, I made it easy for him to be racist against me, so
      the racism is hidden by the bad work performance. Its most easily seen
      in instances where the victim did everything right. For example, a
      family member of mine sued a former employer for racial discrimination
      after being fired for nothing so a man could give a family member the
      job. They settled out of court. If the white guy that did the firing had
      a good reason, the law suit wouldn’t have happened.

      Me: unfair stuff happens to whites too, we just can’t look at race as a reason. Not saying the boss was right. He wasn’t.

      Him: Yep. That’s exactly right. Its not racist when it can’t be racist. When it can be racist its always racist. That’s how we look at it.

      I appreciate this guy taking the time to have an honest discussion with me. This guy admitted to the fact that he, and other black people (I’m not saying all), will assume something is racist in any possible instance that racism could be a factor. That is a problem. How does that get fixed?

      • Rich Garriques

        Racism is always a factor when your dealing with people that are specifically discriminating you in there system based on race. For example a black person has to work 20 times harder then a white person to be successful in the work place and education . Which isn’t fair at all. You said whites don’t get treated fairly sometimes then compared to a black person that doesn’t get treated fairly on more terms then you. I Don’t believe you had that conversation with a black guy cause if you did when you made that answer he would of asked you what do you think is not fair that white people don’t get. And he would say you shouldn’t compare race to unfairness in an oppressed system cause truth is you won’t get the same treatment as a black person and racism clouds that. It’s invisible in this society and that is why the claim is used a lot against non blacks in society today. Cause most people in the world are poor because of non blacks . So does that mean blacks are the ones making the excuses or its the whites that are denying the truth . Because they want to maintain their position in society .

  • Zak Dwyer

    More racially charged b.s. from SJW media overreacting about absolutely nothing.

  • Jaster2

    Hello everyone! This is “Jaster” from previous posts. My Disqus account was blocked from posting anymore on this site.

    After this comment I will no longer post on this site. I will respect the decision of the moderators, but feel that people should know I was blocked.

    If you look at my posts, I definitely disagreed with many of the racially charged articles on this site. However, I want everyone to know that simply disagreeing with the authors is apparently a blockable offense.

    If you choose to frequent a site that will block people who have differing opinions, that is your prerogative. But know that you are dealing with a close-minded site that stifles open discussion.

    Thank you!

  • zak_speaks

    “Shake It Off” is racist? I don’t think so. Just an FYI, there are 3 white girls in the twerking scene. Miley Cyrus caused an uproar with her twerking with Robin Thicke, so Swift is making fun of twerking in general. She’s not making fun of blacks. I love how you completely ignore all the positive images of blacks in the video. There are quite a few images of the beauty, athleticism and artistry performed by blacks that I’ve highlighted in the attached image. Yet you completely ignore them as you attempt to find racism in a video, where it does not exist, in this woefully pathetic blog post. The image can be seen here if the picture is not attached to my comment, http://i.imgur.com/5J1cpYZ.jpg

  • Andrew Bentley

    HAHAHAhaha, this woman passes as a writer?? Jesus.

  • Spanish journalist

    With all due respect, I think you are the racist one because you are the one who is claiming that Taylor is dressed in a “black girl costume” when she is just dressed up as in most of the scenes of the video and her skin color is the same in every scene… Who says that what she is wearing is a “black girl costume” as you has described it? You should think before writing, just a piece of advice from a journalist 😉

  • Devin Caplow Munro

    The New York Times blogger you linked to debunks your argument pretty well, actually. Try reading things before linking to them.

    • Pretty sure he says this:

      “With respect to racial politics, it would have been better if the shots of ballerinas had included some darker complexions. ”

      Pretty sure I said the same thing.

      Sounds like you should take your own advice.

  • Connie Hilliard

    Thank you for the deep and meaningful insights. I regret but can understand that some commenters here have no intention of expanding their understanding of the black experience in America. But I found it unconsionable that so many were trying to negate your own experience and understanding of the situation. A person does not have to agree. But for someone of one race to insist that the experiences of those who belong to race, are not valid, this is shameful.

  • Jim Treadwell

    The word racist is so overused and abused that those that claim it are ignorant jackasses, seriously !

  • safasdfasd

    Nth degree. Lmao Nigger-th degree.

  • Dawctor Krieger

    Why don’t you monkeys go back to the jungle? Please! You’re smelly, dim witted, and violent by nature. All you do is complain, however slowly but surely white people are starting to get fed up with your chimping around. And at the end of the day there are 215 million of us, 38 million of y’all, and you are too poor and stupid to be a threat to boot. So keep it up. We’ll keep building prisons and hopefully someday we’ll have all of the chimps caged. Until then, enjoy your EBT cards, Nigs.

  • Emmit

    After reading the comments, I’ve concluded that the author of this piece is a racist hate monger.

  • BruntLIVE

    These young whites have no talent they steal from black artists because whites are more comfortable with it….every heard of Pat Boone?

    Where is Madonna and Hall n Oates? Real white artists.

  • Jay Rodimus Prime

    I love how everyone commenting is taking Jackson’s allegations personally, as if Taylor Swift’s video is somehow bringing food to their table. Fact: you can like something and still see merit in someone’s criticism of it. Instead, you want to silence her with false equivalencies and accusations of reverse racism in a classic “I know you are but what am I?” fashion. Pull your heads out of your asses and get some perspective. God forbid you question what a multi-million dollar earner chooses to put in her video.

    Full disclosure: I actually found the video really cute but the twerking part did seem dehumanizing, especially the crawl through the legs. The “rap” was also painful.

  • i yeah

    I was not at all offended by the video. I’m Asian and I saw no Asian representation in the video. Should I have been offended? Maybe I should write an article, too.

    • Rich Garriques

      Maybe you should stfu and quit being racist this isn’t about asians this is about black women.

      • greenapples

        You’re overkilling it. Unless Jenn is paying you for your services, you shouldn’t feel it necessary to reply to every single comment that isn’t in agreement with Jenn’s POV. I just got around to reading this article and it’s related comments, and getting down to this point now, I’ve just got to tell you that you are sounding more and more ridiculous. You’re highly annoying, highly racist yourself, and you are showing your (possibly?) limited education by the lack of thought process behind your comments. You should chill out and go get a nap or something.

  • Harding

    Social justice warrior at it’s finest. You can interpret racism, mysogyny or other supposed un-social behavior into anything you want if you just look hard enough. It’s not even a talent.
    You won’t “cure” the world of real racism by being a racist yourself and blaming everyone else to be a racist for every little shit. All you people do is oppress society to be extremely “political correct” (Or what you think is).

    It worked for a while. But in these times all it does is annoy the people and hurt equality by demanding special rights over and over again.

  • Anthony Trevino

    That has got to be the stupidest response I have ever heard! I DID NOT even see what you were talking about twerk, rascist, black white until you said something. When are people going to see beyond this BS! I thought the video was very cute. Oh let me see, from your point of view, I thought the video was racist because I didn’t see any Latinas dancing on there!

  • Michelle McIntosh

    I guess I am pretty shallow because all I saw was some freaking amazing dancing!!! All sorts of colours were represented here and they were all amazing to watch! They were all showing their skills …. and yes I think some stereotypes were shown here (while showing off super talented skills) because that was the point of her song!??? Life sometimes sucks, is unfair and not what we want it to be but we can just carry on being our super fabulous selves and “shake it off”….

  • Lexxs

    I don’t have a problem with this video.

  • The Painful Truth

    I read the article, and realised the picture was enough and I had wasted my time. Two Black women, two white women. The REAL racism is that they took the time to make sure the the colours were balanced to appear to not be racist. Sweet equality. “Stereotypes” or “accurate representation of demographics” who cares right? Click bait. This kind of “journalism” is a far bigger problem than any music video.

  • AnonymousAndy

    I see a 1/1 ratio of Black & White girls Twerking. Why is this a topic of discussion?
    STOP READING IN TO EVERYTHING!! I hate activists. I hate commercials. I hate Conspiracy Theorists. I hate Political Incorrectness / Correctness. I hate politics. I hate racism. I hate how if white people have pride they’re supremacist. I hate poor grammar. I hate fair weather flyers. I hate everyone and everything is stupid. The world is ending and not soon enough. Oh and I hate youtubers. And Geico mascots.

  • AnonymousAndy

    Talking about stereotypes is stereotypical.

  • Thomas Lang

    making fun of people who twerk in hip hop videos is something that should bring all races together.

  • Jaclyn

    I just read this article and it seems that you are angry at the fact that there are no WOC ballerinas. I go to college at UCO for an arts degree and I have a lot of friends who are dancers, ballerinas, and they have to keep a certain weight. They all have to be twigs, they have to be extremely tiny. The reason why most of them are white is because their body structures are tiny. Most white women do not have hips or butts, take it from me it sucks, but we are tiny. I do have some African American friends that are ballerinas. They are about 90-100 pounds. They used to have beautiful curves and now they lost the beauty of their natural structure because of doing what they love. All of the women that are in that video are dancers. Some of the WOC that were twerking were probably ballerinas but they all tried for the same role. Everyone learned the same dances and the choreographers chose the dancers best fit for the roles. Yes, you might be angry that you cannot blame Taylor Swift for this but she isn’t the main cause for that. My cousin is in a band and Taylor was an opening act for them before she got famous. I got to meet her, she was very sweet and hilarious. I was with my friend Nikita and she is African American and Taylor Swift hugged her and told her she was beautiful. There was no racism towards my friend.

  • Eileen Brewer
  • jwalters31

    Hey, I’m a white guy… I wonder… if Taylor Swift being goofy in the twerking scene is offensive, why isn’t her goofiness in the break-dancing scene offensive as well??? Did you forget that break-dancing developed out of “black” culture??? Is it okay for white people to co-opt part of “black” culture after a certain period of time??? I twerking really what you want black women to be about??? The fact that the overall concept of the video was lost on you is fine… you want everything to be racist… but to want twerking to be a cultural identifier for black women is more degrading than anything this video did.

    • This response distorts my words and misses the point. I won’t restate it. You can read the post again for yourself.

      Also, at no point do I say that twerking is “what Black women are about.” But, if it was, that would be absoutely okay too.

      Cultural identifiers are not created by indivuals. I assure you that I don’t have that kind of power. If you have an issue with social norms and racist stereotypes, I suggest you start with Whites who benefit from and reproduce racial hierarchies.

  • Imane Assi

    BS.In this video Taylor covered so many kind of dances,from classic to twerking,to hip hop,….. and you call it racist.You’re clueless about what racist means. Taylor was also mocking her haters.It has nothing to do with racism.

    • That’s your opinion. History and race theory say otherwise. Have a great day.

      • Imane Assi

        History and race says otherwise? In your delusional mind maybe

  • Shiner

    Everybody reading this comment should go out and fracture a white bitch’s orbital bone. Teach them a little bit about being on the receiving end of something fo once.

  • B Robert

    …u do see the black and white legs? ….u do know that dance moves dont define race?…u do know that the internet, blogging, and gossiping about taylor swift is a white thing lol? Guess u best stick to twerking instead of tryin wear white face…and for the record i hate taylor swift music but i hate pc entitled whiny bitches like u even more…goof….”i’m tiredof all these black people speaking white and wearing white clothes and listening to white music”–u see how your twitter hero “baldwin” (hey thats white guy name! Hands off blacky!) sounds like to a white person if u switch it around right? And stop claiming ownership and accomplishment as a people for Obama–bred and raised by his white mother when his black daddy ran away and was an asshole…something i hope white ppl dont start “appropriating”…u ppl have “appropriated” whiteness for years but we cant call it that…when a black guy wears polo its cool but when white girls twerk its racist…when black ppl call each other what slave owners called their slaves its cool…when its white ppl its racist…when black ppl kill each other its poverty and the white mans fault…when a white guy kills a black guy its poverty and white guy fault…when given a choice of living here or africa black ppl stay here….u want authenticity and be the majority? Get on a plane and go back

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  • Shanaya Brown

    Seriously, this article makes you look like your grasping at straws. I can see how you might think the whole twerking part could be racist, but jumping to the accusation of taylor swift’s face expressions in different scenes?! Wow… not racist at all??? I appreciate you standing up for black lives but not for being completely biased and trying hard to find racism where there is none

  • Jazmin

    Oh for fucks sake.
    You could find racist motives in a Martin Luther King speech. This is an interpretive dance video that features multiple styles of dance portrayed dancers of multiple ethnicities. You didn’t see any black ballerinas? Every dancer in this video has ballet training. (Please don’t fucking argue this point, its 99% across the board for dance professionals so if I’m wrong its by a negligible degree.)
    Her face betrayed a subliminal racial message of gawking vs respectful gazing?? …well not only is that an entirely opinion based statement you chose to present as fact, but you also just quoted a quip about Taylor Swift having ‘no ass.’ So if you want to be respected, be respectful. Otherwise everyone will now what a hypocrite you are.

    And furthermore, her “black girl costume” is (or could be interpreted as) a hip-hop costume. A form of dance widely trained and performed by dancers of all colours, shapes, gender and size.
    BUT HANG ON A MINUTE, Are you about to tell me that hip-hops’ roots are in black culture?
    Well I’m glad you brought it up! Heres a list of other art forms with African roots: Jazz music, blues music, soul and funk music, disco (music and dance), swing dance, lindy-hop, Charleston, Tap dance, Ragtime music.. and this isn’t even close to complete. Not to mention all the derivative forms of expression that draw influence from the list I just gave you which includes but is not limited to the fields and works of: HonkyTonk, Hank Williams, Bill Doggett, Claude Debussy, Bob Fosse, every damn jazz/blues/soul singer under the fucking sun, AAND! HERES THE BEST PART:

    Country-Pop’s syltistic origins (T-Swifts breakout genre) lays claim to roots that include but are not limited to: FOLK, BLUES, AND SEVERAL OTHER FORMS OF MUSIC HAILING DIRECTLY( AND INDIRECTLY) FROM BOTH AFRICA AND EUROPE ALIKE.

    Noticing a theme? These current styles of music are equally rooted in white/non white culture. Why? Because cultures that live side by side end up growing together. Music and art were busy growing over the lines between cultures long before your eager-to-be-offended ass came along to pen an uniformed article rooted in her own mismanaged rage towards the world.

    So quit being so fucking greedy and play nice with the other kids. OR, ready the pitchforks because every fucking low-life racist schmuck of an artist who ever drew influence from any form of music or dance that wasn’t strictly from their own culture DIDNT HAVE THE RIGHT. So now they’re ALL on trial for CAUSING THE QUEEN TO LOSE HER TEMPER!


  • Ace Levy

    LOL Jenn M. Jackson you are pathetic. You represent the section of Black people that everyone even the other Black people hate. You will look at anything and everything to try and find anything you can claim is racist to advance your own agenda’s, propaganda, and try to get the world to give you shit and feel sorry for you. Twerking is not BLACK, slutty booty shorts is not BLACK, rapping is not BLACK, hip hop and jazz is not BLACK, beat boxing is not BLACK. Black people did not patent shit, this is for everyone to be able to use. You cant just say something is BLACK and claim anyone else who does it or misinterprets it is RACIST or a BIGOT, or a fake POSER. That is trash, I am sure Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks would slap you and others like you upside your dumb ass head if they heard this special retard group of blacks saying this shit is BLACK CULTURE. Everyone of any culture, race, religion, or group can dance, twerk, rap, and do what ever they or so please. Claiming any thing to belong to a specific RACE and is racism of the highest degree. Just like how we used to make blacks sit in the back of the bus, you can’t deem a type of dance or music to the BLACK CULTURE and ridicule WHITES for doing it, that is hypocrisy and oppression and it makes people like you a fucking joke. I doubt Taylor Swift is racist, and I really doubt the multi million dollar corporation that choreographs this music video really gives a flying fuck to try and sneak in racism through dancing. They had whites and blacks and other races mixed together on the hip hop, twerk, and interpretive dance scene. They did not in any way think “Oh man we got to put only black chicks in twerking cause that is their culture right” PPFFFTTT you think these rich people give a fuck to insult you? They would rather count their millions and get head in their Bentley convertibles. If you want to see music that is embarrassing to black people go watch that bullshit garbage trash “Watch Me” by Silento and trash underground rap videos that always feature hoes, and drugs, and sex, and shows black chicks doing nothing but being dick grinding sluts. Now you can call that shit disgracing for blacks if you want. Compared to that the twerking in Taylor Swifts video looks as innocent as the Little Mermaid. So get your ugly head out of our most likely even uglier ass and STFU. Find something more meaningful to hate on, you guys are so fucking bored to rip on anything these days. Be jealous Taylor Swift is counting her stacks laughing while you guys Q.Q and shit/piss in your twisted jimmies.

  • Monique Shawling


  • jojo

    whoever wrote this is racist

  • Genia L

    The Black People that are mixed in with White People are definitely those that had the right to say they are White in front of me as a Chinese. They discriminate against Chinese in every way, and didn’t give us freedom of speech as well.

  • trbvn

    You’re a racist looking for any excuse to project your hatred onto other people, author. Fuck yourself.

  • Newethicstattoo Baphomet

    fuck this shitty music. and the whole PC sensitivity of race .get fucking over it.

  • Bill H

    Nothing racist here. Move along.

  • Penny Phillips

    Resonates with me; i studied ballet from 5 to 16 years old, and was finally told to leave my class, because my ballet instructor thought I was too ‘curvy’ to be a ballerina.
    She used the excuse that ballerinas must be lighter and lithe enough than their male dancers so they can be lifted, but whereas she just saw my hips and chest developing with puberty (a bit later than usual), me having a rounder butt size and hips that my Caribbean mama definitely gave me, all I saw was me being cast out from my group of friends, all white, thin and lithe enough to fit in.
    I never danced ballet again, and it’s something I regret everyday, not being mature enough to understand that just because you don’t fit into someone else’s stereotype, doesn’t mean you should give up on your dreams.

    For Swift to appropriate that into her huuuuuuge global outreach, that millions of young girls read into and accept as gospel, for her to make such harsh distinctions between white and female bodies and ‘standards of acceptability’ is disgusting.
    She should know better than that, and should use her influence to tell girls that no matter their skin, size or sexual orientation, they can do or be whatever they want and they can be accepted for it.
    There’s enough mental warfare for young girls and women these days, and we certainly don’t need to go back to the ‘dark ages’ where white people see themselves as superior, mocking POC culture and heritage to get ahead themselves.