Hipsters Fighting Racism With Hipster Racism, Ironically
Never settle for an imitation, this is the Original Hipster Racist. Some poser has decided to “promote” racism by “ironically” “fighting” “hipster racism” over at the “blog” hipsterracism.wordpress.com. Ironic hipster racism is still hipster racism which is still racism, ironically. It’s racists all the way down.
“The very hipster lifestyle is, in some ways, racist, and definitely not very introspective when it comes to race. Hipsters are a driving force behind gentrification, driving out low income people and people of colour. They consistently co-opt and appropriate elements of other cultures, piecemeal, and often without any cultural sensitivity or respect. They regularly draw upon the work and legacy of people of colour, usually without crediting them, and most of their contact with people of colour comes in the form of the service personnel serving them their food, cleaning their wine bars, and picking their organic produce.” — s.e. smith, “Hipster Racism”
It’s a blaring example of how casually racism and misogyny, even about young children, can be accepted and even celebrated by some percentage of the public — especially when it is couched in the form of humor. So many kinds of hostility — racial, sexual, homo- and trans-phobic humor — gain an easy acceptability, precisely because it plays into the ironic hipster self-aware racism of “being so cool that we know it’s racist that it’s ok to participate in it. We’re above it.”
Someone on Twitter suggested that “no one believes that Quvenzhané is a c—.” What does it even mean to say that someone “believes” or “doesn’t believe” this? Others will respond that it’s just an offhand comment. Nope. It’s a sexual and racial epithet.
As law professor Richard Delgado wrote some two decades ago, we can make distinctions between speech, and insults and epithets. It is misogynist to refer to anyone with a term like that. It is hard to imagine any context in which that term is merely “descriptive,” which would be the minimum condition to accept it as speech. Is it racist, too? Yes. Why? Because this child is African-American? Yes. As law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw has discussed frequently, using an intersectional framework — that is, seeing this comment through the intersecting lenses of race and gender (among other axes) — allows us to understand how in this very un-colorblind world such a term, when directed toward someone who is black and female, has significant sexual and racial implications.
Poe’s law is an Internet adage reflecting the idea that without a clear indication of the author’s intent, it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of extremism.
Poe’s law, in broader form, is:
The core of Poe’s law is that a parody of something extreme by nature becomes impossible to differentiate from sincere extremism. A corollary of Poe’s law is the reverse phenomenon: sincere fundamentalist beliefs can be mistaken for a parody of those beliefs.
The Mission Yuppie Eradication Project of 1999 was an attempt by San Francisco hipsters to keep other San Francisco hipsters with more money from moving into their neighborhoods and making them even more hip. ‘So far, police believe, the self-styled anarchist-communist has confined himself to scratching pricey cars in San Francisco’s Mission District to strike at the neighborhood’s new gentry and plastering trendy establishments with posters vowing to reduce them to “picturesque ruins” in the “next major urban riots.”‘
So, who’s the racist now? I mean, who is the hipster now? Hate the player, not the game. Or is that the other way around?
‘”They also took my girlfriend’s grandmother’s engagement ring,” he said. “Maybe they thought it was a secret encoder ring for getting in touch with Libya or Carlos the Jackal.
“They took my mountaineering ax and a squirt gun.” The squirt gun doesn’t even squirt anymore, he said.’
Huh, it’s harder than it seems.