"What's Good, Miley?": The Tone Policing Of White Feminism
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Politics and Activism

"What's Good, Miley?": The Tone Policing Of White Feminism

Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus have something in common...

"What's Good, Miley?": The Tone Policing Of White Feminism
Scott Barbour/Getty Images

With the saying that has swept the Internet, everybody and their mother knows about what went down at the VMA's last Sunday. If you still don't know, Nicki Minaj justly called out Miley Cyrus with one sentence.

This was in response to what Miley said about Nicki in an NYT interview.

In response to questions relating to Nicki Minaj being, as the interviewer said, "upset 'Anaconda' wasn't nominated for Video of the Year," Miley tone-policed Nicki Minaj:

"There's a way to talk to people...If you do things with an open heart and you come at things with love, you would be heard and I would respect your statement. But I don't respect your statement because of the anger that came with it."

One of Nicki's statements in question is the following.

If I was a different "kind" of artist, Anaconda would be nominated for best choreo and vid of the year as well. 😊😊😊

"I don't respect your statement because of the anger that came with it," is Tone Policing 101. The notion that a black woman should be "kind" and "unoffensive" when talking about the mix of sexism and racism in any industry as well as other environments is ironic because racism and sexism are part of a system that doesn't respond to or was founded by "please" and "thank you." People of color are expected to wait for the "right" moment to address race issues when really there are few specific "times and places" it can be spoken about and received by a large amount of people.

Taylor was the first to address Nicki's tone as "pitting women against each other," thinking that Nicki's tweets were about her.

But Nicki actually didn't respond with anger, opposite from what Miley said she was.

They made up before the VMAs on the phone and Taylor Swift actually responded on Twitter, "I thought I was being called out. I missed the point, I misunderstood, then misspoke."

The point that Taylor had missed and that Nicki summarized in her earlier tweets is that when white people appropriate black culture, they are applauded for being "different" or "edgy." But Taylor stepped back, apologized and communicated verbally with Nicki within 24 hours.

Miley is the antithesis of this, going so as far as wearing apparently "amazing" dreadlocks at the VMAs after the NYT interview was published (compare this to Giuliana Rancic's comment on Zendaya's locs) on top of her ignorant response, and attempted to give shout-outs to the Weeknd and A.S.A.P. Rocky (which was met with both men looking confused and/or covering their faces).

What white feminists miss when they dismiss women of color as being "angry" is that they are responding to POC in a way that misogynists respond to feminists. There is no attempt from white women to understand or realize their place in society as white women when the differences between a white woman's struggle and a black woman's struggle are brought up.

If you really want to "unite," it's time to strike the term "angry black woman" from your vocabulary and listen.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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