3.04.2013

The Toilet Paper Apology Trend

Racism sells.

Time was, the phrase went, "Sex sells" but then sex was suddenly everywhere and it didn't sell anymore...not like it used to anyway.  Now if you want to sell those tickets, raise those ratings, and get those page clicks, you need to get down, dirty, and racist otherwise no one will pay attention to you.

By now you're all aware of the African Queen blackface fiasco, whose images are so tacky I won't reproduce them here. The magazine has since issued a toilet paper no-pology, to which Womanist Musings responds:
Everyone should be able to agree that a racist image is just as good as real representation, after all, they have the future of White supremacy to think about.
Couldn't have stated it better myself.

How many of you had heard of this magazine before it started with the tacky?  I hadn't.  Those of you who had, how many of you subscribed?  *nods*  That's that I thought.  With the steady rise of online POC-centric media, folks like me aren't watching a whole lot of TV or going to theaters (I don't even know what's playing right now).  And since this is the 21st Century (and a recession, no less), magazine sales just aren't what they used to be.

So what's an institution of media to do when their future's not so bright?  Break out the blackface.  And the "exotic" human props.

Racism sells. It sells more than sexism or homophobia (but if/when racism stops selling, and if we've elected, say, an openly gay and/or female president, sexism/homophobia will start selling like hot cakes). It's one of the reasons I really try not to do blog posts like these anymore because all it does is just give these stunts more attention than they deserve.

Some would argue we need to speak out and educate when such images are released, but come on...who are we "educating"? The people who are doing/enjoying/praising/defending this stuff, and are well aware of how wrong it is, but just don't care? You can't "educate" a sociopath, kids. They've already crossed the final no-no boundary: they don't care.

And after they've gotten their clicks and sold their copies, done 2-3 tours 'round the blogosphere, and gotten whatever cash and publicity was to be had, out comes the toilet paper apology, which is perhaps the most irritating part of the shameless cycle.

You can tell these apologies are drafted before the stunt is even pulled.  They have no meaning or emotion whatsoever.  They lack any sense of remorse or accountability.  They are merely part of "the script".  First, they shock/offend/disgust, then they patiently milk all they can from the attention.  When they sense the drama's about to wind down, they issue an apology to milk whatever additional response they can get for another few days.  Because these apologies aren't actually meant to absolve the offender or even silence the critic.  They merely exist to prolong the publicity.

Amaya once told me that a toilet paper apology is only good for one thing.  These days, I don't think it's even worthy enough for that.

28 comments:

  1. Leo Princess3/4/13, 4:06 PM

    All this just justifies why I'm not part of the crowd denanding that these magazines issue an apology (please, like "I'm sorry" isn;t oine of the easiest phrases to utter to get one out of a jam), or one of those demanding that the likes of Lena Dunham and 'em include Black people in their shoes as regular characters.

    1) Re: the magazines - this isn't even the fouth time in five years we're having this conversation. They're not slow-learners; as Ankh has laid out, they just don't care.

    2) Re: Dunham et all (and I'd like to include the mainstream white feminist blogosphere in this) - how much more clear do they have to be that they don;'t want us around? As long as I can have Ackward Black Girl, Unwritten Rules, and other independent POC-driven and starred shows to watch, free of the stereotypical Hollywtf requirements, then WHY do I need Dunham and Em to make me feel special?! As long as there are Womanist movements, and other organisations by and for women of colour who have no issues about seriously working together rather than "We'll lead, you just stay back there and be supportive!", then what the hell do we need/want the so-called feminists for? Seriously, it's high time the bulk of us stopped expecting the media or mainstream rights organisations to have POC's backs. We're all we have - deal with it! The more we whine about them excluding us, the more it comes across as us starving for approval their approval; like some bastard child pining for their purposely distant father.

    No. Enough. Don't even get me started on our fellow melanated kin content to let shit keep sliding to maintain some fake illusion of racial harmony, while insisting that the rest of us follow suit.

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  2. I was reading the paragraph (the next to the last one) where you talk about the faux apologies. For a while, I thought about this.You're more than right in saying that they aren't sorry for their words.

    Black face has been out for ages and how offensive it is, but they continue to do it.They need to quit thinking that were stupid.I agree, they aren't sorry. Look at the amount of time they take to do it and WHY do they have to rehearse their "apologies"? C'mon!

    They may pretend that they are sorry, but I've also notice how were just not swallowing those shallow words anymore. Were just doing what we have to do in letting society know that we're not going to accept anymore injustices.No more "Oops...I'm sorry.." jazz because we all know they are not.

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    1. @M..."They may pretend that they are sorry, but I've also notice how were just not swallowing those shallow words anymore. Were just doing what we have to do in letting society know that we're not going to accept anymore injustices.No more "Oops...I'm sorry.." jazz because we all know they are not."

      Like I said, it's the "younguns who make THIS "old head" proud. As for some others, not so much. The Black "mis-leadership class" expresses outrage, yet they BEG for a REAL apology -- from Bloomberg! Got this email from the NAACP today (I really hate this shit, but it helps me keep track of what they're really NOT about:

      "I really thought we were past this kind of thing, but I guess I was wrong.

      Last week, Bloomberg Businessweek magazine ran a disturbing, misleading, and vile cover, complete with racially offensive images of African Americans and Latinos in Jim Crow-like caricatures.

      This one actually shocked me, Deb. It's disgusting, and we're not going to stand for it.

      Sign our petition demanding a real apology from Bloomberg Businessweek for publishing this offensive cover (I know you've seen it so, as Ankh said above, no need to reproduce it here)...


      The insulting part of this cover isn't just the derogatory and cartoonish depiction of racial and ethnic minorities, but rather the insinuation that homeowners — coincidently all people of color — are somehow greatly profiting today as the housing sector slowly recovers. The truth is that homeowners, particularly Black and Latino homeowners, still haven't recovered from the great loss of wealth that occurred during the financial crisis.

      We know where the fault really lies: unscrupulous banks and predatory lenders who exploited our most vulnerable citizens with reckless abandon. It is these institutions who have had a "Great American Rebound" as the article itself notes.

      Faced with a vocal response from the NAACP and other civil rights organizations, Bloomberg Businessweek's editors issued a classic non-apology, expressing "regret" for the "strong reactions" the images sparked. Of course, they took zero responsibility for the offensive image and accompanying story.

      It's not good enough, Deb. Join the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, National Fair Housing Alliance and the Center for Responsible Lending in demanding a full apology from Bloomberg Businessweek..."


      W.T.F??!! They're "not going to stand for it" -- by begging for more INSINCERE apologies??? Puh-lease! I guess, as soon as Young Ben gets back from his Nation Magazine cruise ( http://lets-be-clear.blogspot.com/2013/03/ruminations-legal-games-people-play.html), they'll come out with yet another petition about "where the fault really lies" {smdh}

      "Amaya once told me that a toilet paper apology is only good for one thing. These days, I don't think it's even worthy enough for that."

      Neither is the NAACP's "outrage."

      Delete
    2. Deb,

      That's the biggest thing that always bugged me when it comes to some of these civil rights groups, why beg for an apology? We are human beings not dogs. To me,if the opposing side is sincere in apologizing.. whether formal or informal..they would have said it in a heartbeat. I'm like this,if people have to beg for an apology, then they aren't sorry. If anything, they are laughing and getting a kick out of the begging.

      NAACP,SCLC and some of these civil rights is as good as dead unless they are looking to be on TV. From them,I've learned that. With all due respect, they aren't about you. I called them about an incident concerning a friend of mine.. just some simple information, but they basically said what you said and nothing more. Unless the case is big and newsworthy forget about it, you're not important to them .Sad,but true.

      Delete
  3. Ah, such fine masters of the fauxpology. They truly are experts of their craft.

    Honestly, sometimes I wonder why companies even bother issuing these sorry excuses for an apology. It's the same mad-libs cookie cutter crap everyone has seen a million times.

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  4. @ Ankh..."Some would argue we need to speak out and educate when such images are released, but come on...who are we "educating"? The people who are doing/enjoying/praising/defending this stuff, and are well aware of how wrong it is, but just don't care? You can't "educate" a sociopath, kids. They've already crossed the final no-no boundary: they don't care."

    @Leo Princess.."All this just justifies why I'm not part of the crowd denanding that these magazines issue an apology (please, like "I'm sorry" isn;t oine of the easiest phrases to utter to get one out of a jam), or one of those demanding that the likes of Lena Dunham and 'em include Black people in their shoes as regular characters."

    You young Ladies make me SO proud and EXTREMELY happy just to know you're out there, sharing some real talk! -- *blinks away a tear.* Thanx for this very succinct post, Ankh!

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    1. Leo Princess3/4/13, 11:24 PM

      I was so pissed that I didn't even spell-check, but thank you. Just tired of seeing the grovelling by POC as much as I am about this constant stream of bullshit.

      Delete
    2. @Ankh...always watchin', listenin' and learnin', Lil Sis!
      @Leo Princess...spell-check not required, I knew EXACTLY what you were saying!

      "Just tired of seeing the grovelling by POC as much as I am about this constant stream of bullshit."

      From one Leo to another -- Ditto! (See my latest comment).

      Delete
    3. "Just tired of seeing the grovelling by POC as much as I am about this constant stream of bullshit."

      Agreed. I'm done with it. I don't need no apology we all know those companies aren't sorry. I'm not signing no more petitions etc. if a company does something racist/offensive I will no longer support them ... apology or no apology.

      Begging these magazines to be on their covers. In their television shows and movies. It's exhausting.

      Delete
  5. Phoenix Down x 10000000000.


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  6. If they are really sorry, they would of just taken it down before it hits the net and cover it up. Or before that. NOT DO IT AT ALL. But hey, it's the white people media. They can do whatever, I just don't buy it.

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  7. People need to realize that these people are not here for us. Don't be shocked they do this shit and want to call it art. It makes money. People will pay to watch rape, they will pay to enact racist fantasies. Frankly if it does not seriously damage their sense of self they can easily justify doing it cause they will be protected by a legion of yes-men and yes-women who generally don't align themselves with people who face oppression on the daily. The only thing we can do is pull our money around things that reflect who we are and support our mental well-being. And defend our children. Protect our children till they can understand and speak for themselves.

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  8. Awesome analysis, K.

    You save my life every damn time! I had been trying to figure out the end game on this ish and this is the only thing that makes sense. Toss in everything going on nationwide that we have monetized - prisons, "charter" schools etc. - and this fits in like a well oiled puzzle piece.

    And also YES on: They Just Don't Care.

    Everybody is giving up the pretense now. The "History" Channel outed itself with their damn near month long shows on the KKK during Black History Month. They are using the modern day versions of Guns Germs and Steel to continue their conquest and further their white supremacy end game. Just because you don't see pikes muskets and smallpox blankets doesn't mean the same old same isn't happening just as it was back in the day.

    Racism Sells. They Just Don't Care.

    Remember that as you go about your life livin in the USA. And I'm with Yawdie, because you POCs still begging and whining for scraps from the dinner table: JUST STOP IT. They aren't even tossing out scraps anymore and you should have been ashamed of yourselves for accepting - and asking for - the pitiful leavings they used to toss ya.

    Support the shows, webseries and media creators etc who are doing the right thing and ignore all the rest. When they aren't busy making money off us, they are busy not caring one whit about us, so reply in kind.

    American POCs are again just a commodity. I blog a lot about how we are being systematically reduced back to slaves. It is real and it is true and it is happening and has been happening since "Reconstruction". Its not even about hate anymore. Just about the buying and the selling. And if you don't know you better Wake Up and know.

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    1. Actually, slavery is still in effect. Have you actually looked at the 13th amendment which, supposedly, abolishes slavery? It says:

      Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

      Notice the part where it says, "except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,". And you wonder why there are so many Black men in prison.

      Delete
    2. @Mickey...You are absolutely right! But how many of us realize that this little nugget still sits there, unchanged, in this august document under which we live?

      While the 13th Amendment was supposedly written for us, that "except as..." shit was put in and left in to slavery's continuance. Which is why prisoners can be used to make various and sundry products for the "greater society" (they make more than license plates y'all!) or, work as call-center representatives for these greedy, rich-assed corporations who continue to profit incredibly, by not only scamming consumers with the shit they peddle, by also from keeping their overhead low. {smdh}

      We can talk about mass incarceration of Black folk or "The New Jim Crow" all we want, but until that amendment is changed to exclude slavery, we will always be the "recipients" of its alleged beneficent policy.

      Delete
    3. @M..."NAACP,SCLC and some of these civil rights is as good as dead unless they are looking to be on TV. From them,I've learned that. With all due respect, they aren't about you. I called them about an incident concerning a friend of mine.. just some simple information, but they basically said what you said and nothing more. Unless the case is big and newsworthy forget about it, you're not important to them .Sad,but true. "

      Sad to say, I agree with you. You hit the nail on its proverbial head when you said, "Unless the case is big and newsworthy forget about it, you're not important to them. I learned, first-hand, that they're not about me, here in the "belly of the beast." I also contacted the ACLU -- *crickets.*

      I finally said, "F*CK 'em!" I'll fight for my-damned-self. After three years (during which, I had a f*ckin' stroke!), -- I won in court (after my House Negro lawyer, and even my family, said, "Take the deal!" But it took its toll on me, my marriage and my family -- still haven't been able to write about it, but I will). These mofos (NAACP, Urban League, NAN, ACLU) think "integration" meant, total assimilation, forgetting completely, who, and what we've been through as a people. I got nothin' for their asses -- trust me.

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    4. We no longer have Black leaders, we have Black power brokers. They broker deals to suit their needs, not ours. Al "Perm" Sharpton & "Messy Jesse" Jackson are all about themselves.

      Delete
  9. Apparently, the pseudo-apology is not fooling anyone:

    http://www.black-thought.com/2013/02/numero-magazine-african-queen-editorial.html

    The more I look at it, the more I believe it was probably just a cynical publicity stunt.
    One week ago nobody knew that a magazine by the name “Numéro” existed. Now they are all over the net…

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  10. This post has been giving me life nonstop even days later. I'm so retweeting this badboy everywhere.

    "With the steady rise of online POC-centric media, folks like me aren't watching a whole lot of TV or going to theaters (I don't even know what's playing right now). And since this is the 21st Century (and a recession, no less), magazine sales just aren't what they used to be."

    To take your point further, many of us are doing a Media Litmus Test or some variation thereof:

    http://dennisupkins.com/2012/10/23/my-media-litmus-test/

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    1. I like it. I like it sooooooo much.

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  11. Racism sells because white people enjoy racism, plain and simple. This is why my words are not meant for whites; they are meant for other People of Color. I have no interest in trying to convince whites to stop being assholes. My only goal is to show other PoCs they are not alone. To tell them that someone else gets this shit.

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    1. Couldn't have said it better myself.

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  12. I'd be less skeptical if they followed their "I'm sorry" with concrete action. Like, say, donating a big chunk of cash to a grassroots anti-racist organization.

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    1. Yeah...how come they never do that?

      Delete

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