Last week Sierra Mannie, a liberal arts major at The University of Mississippi, nervously stepped up to the mic on CNN to explain the angry op-ed she wrote for her student newspaper that wound up getting published in Time magazine. Entitled “Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture“, Mannie’s fury turned her thinly-veiled export of classroom-based critical theory into a hot-button pop culture issue. Written in typical college-quality prose, the rage-fueled piece that begins with the line “I need some of you to cut it the hell out,” is unremarkable except for the fact that the author attempts to name a non-existent entity known as “black female culture.”
“There is no such thing as black female culture,” artist April Bey explains. What Mannie was actually referring to, according to Bey, is “ghetto culture,” a destructive ideology that has been appropriated by celebrities and is the subject of pop culture idolization.
According to The Urban Counterculture, ghetto culture is:
Characterized by escapism and materialism, this culture calls irresponsibility freedom, glorifies crime, violence, and hypersexuality, defies all authority, and acts as a coping mechanism for those who feel rejected by mainstream society and economy.
Ghetto culture doesn’t require an address in the ghetto, nor does it appeal solely to blacks:
…you clearly don’t have to live in the ghetto to ‘be’ ghetto; thanks to the entertainment industry, the gospel of the ghetto has been spread far and wide, promising fleshy satisfaction to all who would exchange civility for vulgarity and rebellion, and who will live for today instead of planning for tomorrow.
Most disturbingly, especially in light of Mannie’s rant, is the way ghetto culture treats women:
Because prostitution is one major aspect of the criminal economy of inner cities, the relative degradation and abuse of women is a part of the culture that members of every walk of life can participate in.
Perhaps that is why Beyonce, cited within the article and pictured by Time, is used to bespeak the “black female culture” Mannie claims to defend. As Bey illustrated in her most recent exhibit #WhoDoYouWorship, Beyonce, often a subject of feminism’s own racial double standard, exemplifies ghetto culture’s “black female culture” disinformation campaign.
This is how ghetto culture’s “black female culture” disinformation campaign works:
Seed of Truth: Ghetto culture sexually objectifies black women.
Pack of Lies: As Mannie’s argument illustrates, it is acceptable for black women and their audience to embrace and celebrate this objectification. They may even feel free to legitimize the abuse through the use of the term “black female culture”.
The Ultimate Goal is the glasnost (a strategy of glorification): The glorification of the ghetto culture’s “Ideal Black Woman”. The purveyors of ghetto culture market “black female culture” via the glorification of the Beyonce, the “Ideal Black Woman”. Hence Mannie took such offense at “outsiders” mocking the glorified identity.
When Mannie hammers away at the idea that “black people can’t have anything” therefore they need to hold tightly to “black female culture” she ends up defending the ghetto culture that hides its abuse and subjugation of black women behind a shield of Beyonces. In “breathing fire behind ugly stereotypes” spouted in college classrooms, Mannie became another Beyonce-worshipper. The most her article did was illustrate the fact that many American universities have become propaganda outlets for ghetto culture’s disinformation campaign against black women. The only reason this college student was published in Time magazine is because she obviously excels at being duped.