Why It's Racist to Call Lorde's 'Royals' Racist

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Jena Ardell
We think that it is ironic (and wrong) that a blogger on a feminist website is pulling the 'racist' card on Lorde's ubiquitous single, 'Royals.'

Time.com's headline, "'Royals' Singer Lorde Caught in Racism Row" is hardly factual. Lorde isn't caught in a racism scandal; a lone blogger voiced an opinion and, for whatever reason, everyone is making a big deal over it.

See also: Stuff Lorde Says, in Illustrated Form

Here's the statement by blogger Veronica Bayetti Flores that's been making a splash on notable news sites, including cnn.com:

"While I love a good critique of wealth accumulation and inequity, this song is not one; in fact, it is deeply racist. Because we all know who she's thinking when we're talking gold teeth, Cristal and Maybachs. So why shit on black folks? Why shit on rappers?"

The fastest way to attract people to a feminist blog seems to be to call out a popular female artist and accuse her of bigotry, which doesn't seem very feminist. It's absurd (and can even be viewed as racist) to assume only African Americans can obtain gold teeth, Cristal and Maybachs, and that all rappers are African American.

As someone posting on a feminist blog, shouldn't Ms. Flores be defending a young girl's message to defy economic and social inequities? Flores has since explained her rationale in a subsequent post, in which she stated, "white supremacy is a global phenomenon, and anti-black racism is worldwide. Taking stabs at hip-hop that ignore context is dangerous and ignorant at best."

Are we to believe that a white girl from New Zealand can't sing about excessive lifestyles or criticize wealth distribution without including the mention of African American oppression in the U.S. because, according to Flores' generalizations, white people are rich and black people are poor?

'Royals' does not dehumanize people of color, Flores' logic is dehumanizing people of color, since she seems to only attribute 'black cultural traditions' to wealth inequality and hip-hop. Flores belittles Lorde saying, "I don't expect a teen from New Zealand to have an understanding of U.S. race history and relations." Equivocally, we could ignorantly say we don't expect a feminist Latina to know the difference between rap and hip-hop. See how wrong that is?


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