“Racist circumcision outrage”

Apparently, some folks haven’t gotten the memo that creating a cake and allowing a white person to don black face to imitate a black woman undergoing female genital mutilation circumcision could be possibly perceived as racist.

Case in point:

Swedish minister of culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth’s participation in a “racist spectacle” in which she carved up a cake depicting a naked black woman has sparked outrage and prompted calls for the minister’s dismissal.”In our view, this simply adds to the mockery of racism in Sweden,” Kitimbwa Sabuni, spokesperson for the National Afro-Swedish Association (Afrosvenskarnas riksförbund) told The Local.

“This was a racist spectacle.”

Sabuni’s comments come following Adelsohn Liljeroth’s participation in an art installation that took place at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet in connection with World Art Day on April 15th.

As part of the installation, which was reportedly meant to highlight the issue of female circumcision, the culture minister began cutting a large cake shaped like a black woman, symbolically starting at the clitoris.

Makode Aj Linde, the artist who created the installation and whose head is part of the cake cut by the minister, wrote about the “genital mutilation cake” on his Facebook page.

“Before cutting me up she whispered, ‘Your life will be better after this’ in my ear,” he wrote in a caption next to the partially eaten cake.”

Here’s a video link to the cake cutting ritual “ceremony.”

Of course, the minister’s actions have sparked some outrage, but she’s defending her actions: “I understand quite well that this is provocative and that it was a rather bizarre situation,” she said.

“I was invited to speak at World Art Day about art’s freedom and the right to provoke. And then they wanted me to cut the cake.”

However, Adelsohn Liljeroth said the National Afro-Swedish Association’s anger should be directed at the artist, not at her, claiming the situation was “misinterpreted”.

“He claims that it challenges a romanticized and exoticized view from the west about something that is really about violence and racism,” she said.

“Art needs to be provocative.”

Whenever I see photos and videos of situations like this, I wonder if anyone, anyone in the room has even half of a brain to stop and say, “Wait. This may not go over so well.” How many times will people find themselves in positions in which their actions/comments rub POCs the wrong way, only to hide behind their privilege and blame us for being too sensitive? How many times will people hide behind freedom of expression or speech as justification for their racist (or other -ists, -isms) instead of taking responsibility for their actions?

Also, along with this minister of culture’s missing brain and common sense, where in the hell was her press secretary or public relations representative?!

2 comments on ““Racist circumcision outrage”

  1. Ah, I see your point here. But time and time again when this happens, where are the black people who oppose it? If this was a muslim person in the form of a cake  and this had been done, there would definitely be an outrage. 
    Things like this can only be dealt with if the black community get together and say it is not right. Otherwise, it just becomes another story, after another story, after another story. Very interesting post though. 

  2. Thanks for mentioning this. I just heard about it today. There is no black community anymore therefore nothing will be done and people like this will continue to get away with it under the banner of “art”. All the while little girls in Africa are having their genitals removed and their sexuality ruined. I don’t think they are laughing.

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