Published in 2014, this BuzzFeed video is part of a group of videos that expose and satirize stereotypes and racial microaggressions, or the everyday, often unintentional, marginalizing interactions racial and ethnic minorities experience in the U.S. This video shows common experiences of Black people in the workplace, featuring Tracy Clayton, Heben Nigatu, Quinta Brunson, and Briana Byrd showing how these interactions play out in everyday interactions. Themes addressed are being frequently confused for the one or two other Black people in the office, people asking to or reaching to touch your hair, people assuming you are the person working on “diversity” or civil rights events, having awkward conversations about meritocracy, affirmative action, or “Black” popular culture, feeling anxiety in case someone is about to say the N word when singing along to a song, or fear of confirming stereotypes and how that affects behavior.
Published in 2014, this BuzzFeed video is part of a group of videos that expose and satirize stereotypes and racial microaggressions, or the everyday, often unintentional, marginalizing interactions racial and ethnic minorities experience in the U.S. This video is also focused on articulating aspects of Indian-American identity and experiences in the U.S., featuring Anhad Singh and Michelle Khare showing how microaggression, stereotypes, and differences in cultural norms play out in everyday interactions with diverse families, friends, colleagues, and strangers. Themes addressed are difficulties identifying with and “fitting in” to limited U.S. racial identity categories, being mistaken for Latino, being confused with Native Americans, having differing levels of tolerance for food spiciness and movie length, and balancing different family and friend relationship expectations.
In September 2015, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas brought a homemade digital clock to school and was arrested because teachers, school administration, and the police thought it was a bomb. He had shown the clock he made to his engineering teacher, who told him to keep it in his bag, and then the alarm accidentally went off in his English teacher’s class. Although he told the teachers and principal that it was a clock, the police were called and he was handcuffed, arrested, taken for questioning, fingerprinted, and suspended for three days from school.
This 2015 video from MTV News weekly series Decoded features Franchesca Ramsey breaking down 7 myths about cultural appropriation, or where dominant groups “borrow” or capitalize upon cultural practices or expressions from marginalized groups who are not similarly celebrated, but rather face oppression or are stigmatized for their cultural practices and expressions. An example she uses is how cornrows and other natural Black hairstyles become “edgy” and “cool” when White celebrities don them, whereas Black women and men have a long history of styling their hair in cornrows, locks, and braids, and are often penalized in schools and workplaces for wearing their hair in these natural styles. Franchesca also goes on to discuss the lines between cultural appreciation, exchange, and appropriation and addresses common points of contention around critiques of cultural appropriation, including, 1) You’re just looking for something to be offended by. It’s just clothing, hairstyles, decorations, whatever…Don’t you have something better to worry about?, 2) I’m just showing appreciation for the culture, 3) I don’t find it offensive, and I asked someone from that culture and they said it was ok, 4) Fashion, art, film, music always borrows from other sources. It doesn’t hurt anybody, 5) You’re just trying to tell everyone what to think, 6) So because I’m white, I’m automatically racist?, and 7) If Chinese people wear blue jeans, aren’t they appropriating my culture? Or what about Black girls wearing blond weaves? Or how about speaking English? After discussing the differences between assimilation and appropriation, she ends the video discussing potential avenues for cultural appreciation and exchange.
In 2002, Abercrombie & Fitch came out with a line of graphic t-shirts that featured Asian caricatures and slogans. The “Wong Brothers” t-shirt, featured here, was one of the most well-known and controversial. Depicted as an ad for laundry service, its tagline read: “Wong Brothers - Two Wongs Can Make It White”, and it featured an illustration of two smiling men in rice hats.