“Your life will be better after this.. “

The Swedish Prime Minister of Culture cut into the clitoris of a black faced half human, half cake and said to human part “Your life will be better after this”, while a crowd of Swedish people took pictures and laughed. The whole scene came across as very disturbing as this photograph made its rounds on the internet. When I first saw this photograph I didn’t have any context for it. I had no idea who the actors were or where this was happening. And I didn’t realize right away that the head of the cake was a real person. But that anyone thought it was okay to cut into a cake fashioned into a black woman and then feed a piece of it to itself is disturbing even without the rest of the context.

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the hell was going on in this picture, and it took a few days for all the details to come to light. The black Swedish artist Makode Linde devised this “performance art” piece. And long before I heard any of the other details related to this photo, I was informed that the artist was black. I’m still not sure how in 2012, something can be deemed not racist or not offensive simply because there is one black person who approves of it. Its ironic that when black people actively participate in racism that somehow justifies its existence as right and normal, and when black people fight for social justice they’re accused of reverse racism. Sometimes I question whether people are truly ignorant or if they’re just evil.

Who cuts into the body of a screaming cake and feels nothing? Who thinks its funny? Its probably also appropriate to bring up how social dynamics played into how people reacted in the room. The extent to which peer pressure affected individuals actions. Still the whole scene reminds me of the tweet by some young american teenager who said that a characters death in the hunger games wasn’t sad because the character was black. The level of indifference to the suffering and the death of “brown people” demonstrated in this photograph and in the related video, I think rightly, freaks me out.  At some point, the I didn’t know excuse, just isn’t enough. And the “but a black person said it was okay” excuse, is even worse…

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