Is Vogue's Recent Cover Racist? Um, Yeah.

Rebecca Carroll

“Facts or knowledge do not blunt racist intent. This is a truth daily and ancestrally familiar to Black people.” –- As quoted from a recent post on Harry Allen’s “Media Assassin” blog about the stupid-ass LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen Vogue cover for the magazine’s current “Shape” issue.

Here’s the thing of it, people -- is the cover a “less than subtle piece of racist indoctrination”? Duh. Of course it is. That’s not really the question. The question is: Isn’t it enough that there is doubt surrounding whether or not this cover is racist? Did absolutely no one at Vogue think for five seconds that this might be viewed as offensive? Are there NO black people or culturally aware white people at Vogue? Do they not ever run images or ideas by people who might have a different perspective, say, a broader scope -- people who might, I dunno, live in the real world? If that’s the case (no black or culturally-conscious folks on staff, no outside perspectives allowed in), then I feel slightly more forgiving, because how could they know otherwise?

How could they know that the image of a big, hulking black man forcefully clutching the fragile waist of a white woman evokes the image of the black (slave) buck and the white mistress; the black athlete and the coveted, trophy white woman; the black pimp and the coveted, trophy white woman; the black thug and the innocent white woman; the scape-goated black rapist and the unsuspecting white housewife…oh, and the black man as ape, sure. Over 150 years of this image just about everywhere: How could they know this might be offensive or appear racist?

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