Hipster Racism Revisited. And Africa is still not a country.

The topic of Hipster Racism (a phrase originally coined by Carmen Van Kerckhove) has been visited in the past by me on LA Eastside, Cruel Secretary over at Racialicious, and by Angry Asian Man over at Angry Asian Man.

Why do people think this kind of thing is clever or smart? There is no difference between this and a thirteen year old boy telling fart jokes.

Maybe we can blame this on Canada since Alanis Morrisette messed up the definition of irony.

Just because something is trying to be ironic it doesn’t mean it’s not racist.

by Browne Molyneux
H/T to Macon Dee over at Racialicious who watches TV and movies, so I don’t have to.

This entry was posted in Analysis, Blogs, Greater Los Angeles, Media, The Ethnics, videos and tagged , , by Browne Molyneux. Bookmark the permalink.

About Browne Molyneux

My name is Browne Molyneux. I'm a lady. I'm a radical feminist. I'm black. I'm an Angeleno. I'm an artist. I'm carFREE. I'm a freelance writer. I'm a blogger. I'm a philosopher. I'm a humanist. I'm a journalist. I formerly wrote a column on transportation, Tracks for LA City Beat. The above are all of the things I have to work on being, got questions email me. browne@shametrainla.com My topics of interests include but are not limited to politics, transportation, dark green issues, economics, race relations, feminism, culture, working class urban life, media, art, Los Angeles and literature.

20 thoughts on “Hipster Racism Revisited. And Africa is still not a country.

  1. Paul Mooney, a brilliant and brutal comic, once stated that he is not concerned with the meanness of a joke (or something to that effect), so long as it is FUNNY. This crap is not only stupid but not even funny. All the conventions are present: the cute music, the panning of popular culture and all that, but it is a too-typical situation of some jerk who may as well put on blackface and do his half-assed version of “Mammy”—albeit without any talent, let alone comedic timing or relevance.

    Moreover, that the PR people have to remind folk that this is “ironic” is like having to explain a joke after the fact. Everyone knows that such an explanation corroborates the incompetence of the joke-teller.

  2. The perceptive author Henry Miller on the American way of imperceptiveness.

    “It isn’t the oceans which cut us off from the world —
    it’s the American way of looking at things.”

    Curious,(or not so curious), how bits like Pauly Shore puts up here, an obvious blast on Western racism and patronization of other cultures, become in some weird psychotic way, at first just humor, then racist humor, then finally to many boneheads, the truth.

  3. don,

    having lived a fair amount of my life not as an american, I can state that I always anticipate americans to make excuses for anything—kinda like interpreting the bible is something that opposing religions exhibit by quoting the same passage as they scream at each other. Like green meat in the Food 4 Less, all it needs is some pretty plastic packaging; no need thinking that something’s rotten in Denmark. Once done, any american will buy it, eat it and say, “That tasted great!”

    I always like to think how Henry Miller would tend to slap, fuck and ignore someone’s momma, too, and then demand change for a taxi so he could get the hell out of there after pulling out his “perception” that he only inserted for the very cash needed for said cab to escape. (Those who invoke Miller should know what I mean.)

  4. Hipster racism? Really?

    Somehow hipsters are to blame for the disparity between Africa and the developed world AND Pauly Shore’s bad sense of humor?

  5. You’re back to spread your sunshine Ubray.

    Anyways the description wasn’t racist hipsters, but hipster racism, which is kind of racism that is coined by Carmen Van Kerckhove from the New Demographic as

    “… ideas, speech, and action meant to denigrate another’s person race or ethnicity under the guise of being urbane, witty (meaning “ironic” nowadays), educated, liberal, and/or trendy”

    Now if this describes you or your friends I’m sorry, I wasn’t talking about you, but thanks for sharing your opinion.

    If you want to take this post and run all of the world with what it means when I pretty clearly pointed out what it means, go right ahead.


  6. Wow, okay three things here:

    1. The subject of Pauly Shore’s project seems wack.
    2. It seems to me that he MUST at least partially be making fun other celebs adopting from foreign countries for publicity.
    3. Pauly Shore is no hipster.

  7. 1. I get Pauly Shore isn’t a hipster.
    2. You don’t have to be a hipster to practice hipster racism. I call it “I’m not touching you” racism, but I like Carmen’s definition and like to spread good ideas when possible.
    3. Yes I get he is trying to be ironic (which is the point of my post,) but irony and satire is supposed to be making fun of the person doing the stupid thing not the people the stupid thing is being done to.

    And I don’t think he’s making fun of celebrities, yeah that’s the premise, but that premise is only there to allow him to make all of these cracks on the people in South Africa. And he has that save, “Well I can make this joke, because I have this higher cause.”

    I call bullshit on that easy save shit. I am not letting this shit go anymore cause I’m sick of hipster assholes wearing shirts with Asian caricatures on the, hipster assholes in the magazine Vice using the term nigger, the endless jokes about Mexican Americans on Family Guy, women that look like little girls spread out in American Apparel ads, all under this guise of irony.

    This irony thing has been going on since 2000, can’t it die now. No one does it right anyway.

    It’s supposed to be making fun of people who make fun of people, but yet they choose the same people to use as tools to make fun of. Why no ironic cracks on the rich white guy where he ends up looking like a pathetic dork? That and many other reasons seems to look like its not irony anymore or satire, it just seems ignorant and stupid people finding a new way to be racist, sexist and homophobic jerks.

    You know what I think Pauly Shore is doing. He’s taking the ignorance of the American public’s view of what irony is and selling it back to them, because he thinks we’re complete morons.

    The average American is afraid to call him racist, because they don’t want to look stupid or like they don’t get the joke, but the joke is there is no joke.

    Of course this is just my opinion.


  8. Well it’s sure a good thing that he got us all talking about his crappy humor then, isn’t it?

    Incidentally, I always thought this was blog about issues affecting communities and residents east of the LA river.

    When did morph into the Pauly Shore fan club?

    As far as I know hipsters hate him, except possibly the ‘weasel’ stuff in an ironic so-uncool-its-cool way.

    later buuuuudy.

  9. “the joke is there is no joke.” That’s an excellent summation.

    No, this site is not just about east of the river. It’s about “life beyond the river”, meaning we understand the city from either side of the river.

  10. That’s a fair question. How does pop culture impact your life?

    Public opinion are shaped by many things. The media is one of those things. When people decide to vote for or against school funding or the rights of certain people many times they base those perceptions on what they see from TV and movies.

    Intolerance crosses boundaries, so sometimes you have to bring the corporate world into your world if only to critique it.

    And really we’re all connected what happens anywhere in the world can shape what happens in your life.


  11. Good point robertoB, I would never have known about the bit had it not been for Browne’s post. Who really cares about the weasel? I plan to just stop talking about him altogether. No more blog time for the weasel from me;)

  12. RobertoB,

    No, this is a glaring example of a pattern of behavior I’ve been noticing. It’s online, it’s in the movies, it’s in magazine.

    This kind of attitude (Pauly Shore and it being thought of as wrong only because its not funny and not because its racist) is why people feel perfectly ok to steal the name of people’s neighborhoods. To have parties at colleges and dress up like various ethnic stereotypes.

    These young people grow up to become people of power with the power to exclude. To exclude people from jobs, opportunities, etc…

    This post isn’t about Pauly Shore it’s about this weird odd pattern of behavior that people who claim to be liberal seem to think is ok and its not.

    But I get what you’re saying why even bother to mention it at all. I very much used to be like that, I still am, but I’ve seen that sometimes you have to go outside of just local politics and very hyper local issues to talk about local issues. I could just put up facts, but that is not real, people do watch tv, people do go to the movies, people do look at youtube.

    I’ll put up something more directly impacting your life later.


  13. Oh yeah I should add I’m half Nigerian so this especially pissed me off.

    Just throwing that out there so you don’t think I’m so high and mighty and talking only on some philosophical level.


    I have that conversation, but sometimes I have the other conversation too, so it’s not entirely all about me, but the Africa as a country thing bothers me.


  14. “That’s a fair question. How does pop culture impact your life?”

    For many on the Eastside, pop culture is their main source of culture especially for the folks that are working class and a couple of generations removed from being immigrants. It’s very disturbing to me to have conversations with people who parrot People magazine, TMZ and know every actor in every Hollywood movie and know nothing else. If you only knew how much people watch crappy, shitty, fucked up movies all day and then start talking and acting like people in those movies. Pop culture has a HUGE impact on people’s daily lives.

  15. I think the thing that bothers me most about hipster racism is the idea that “my intellect is so developed that I’m above all of this”. But these types are as detached as ever from the subject of their humor.

    How does this attitude affect the Eastside (or any working class neighborhood)? Easy, it’s the same patronizing attitude of “trust us, we know better than you”. It’s the attitude that says, “I’m going to move in to your neighborhood and bring the trappings of my current lifestyle because it’s so much better and I know deep down you covet it”.

    I come across this a lot in LA and I’m truly glad that this blog keeps up a dialog about it.

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