Naomi Campbell on racism in fashion
Ah. So basically Naomi Campbell discussed how institutional racism impacts the fashion industry and the White male interviewer wanted it to be about her personal “anger” in incidents unrelated to fashion. Naomi Campbell discussed her passion about making the industry diverse and the White male interviewer wanted to parse “good” angry versus “bad” angry. Naomi Campbell discussed how there is a systemic issue in the industry and the White male interviewer wanted to discuss how Naomi herself, individually succeeded so doesn’t that exceptionalism prove that racism in the industry isn’t an issue? Ugh.
They literally are operating from different frames of thought; hers shaped by reality of what she sees and documents (with actual numbers in some instances) and his based on White male privilege and individualism fostered by both exceptionalism and stereotypes, which will never speak to systemic issues.
This interview is a microcosm of what it is like to confront White privilege, racism and White supremacy on any issue. Even those who want to “find out” more and may even compliment us often cannot think past their own privilege. One of the key problems involved in thinking shaped by White privilege is the role individualism plays, intellectually. To them, everything at worst falls under a negative stereotype and at best can be summarized by positive exceptionalism. NEITHER of these speak to institutional, structural and systemic issues of racism.
Oh and notice how she parsed racism here. As the act that the people who work for the designers engaged in, not whether or not the designers or their people are “racist.” This is important. Because Whites love to escape “racist” as a label. Okay, fine. Let’s talk about what they DID and SAID, and intent is irrelevant, as she mentioned they may not “know” what they did with their casting etc. Her own words reveal the chasm between the way they think…
I’m not here to talk about me, I’m here to talk about balanced diversity.
I’m not angry. And I don’t like the thing of the ‘angry Black woman’ either; this is not what this is about.
We feel passionate. Feeling passion about something doesn’t mean you have to be angry.
Naomi = brilliant.