Macklemore's Antisemitic Garbage Costume

[Content Note: Antisemitism; misogyny; appropriation; intent arguments. Antisemitic imagery at link.]

Macklemore, professional cookie-seeking bro, pulled a super dirtbag move, dressing up as an antisemitic caricature at Seattle's Experience Museum Project. Then, when he was called out on it, he offered the most pathetic excuse imaginable:

screen cap of a tweet authored by Macklemore reading: 'A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume. Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody.'

Ha ha whoooooooops! Incorrect.

Also? I love how his defense is basically: "That fake nose isn't a dehumanizing caricature of Jewish people; it's a dehumanizing caricature of women!" Of course, we're not supposed to care about the history of dehumanizing women as witches, nor the fact that there is an existing, marginalized religion in which there are practitioners of witchcraft.

Which is to say nothing of the fact that his excuse is total bullshit anyway. That get-up might not be his "idea of a stereotype of anybody," but that doesn't mean it isn't nonetheless a recognizable antisemitic stereotype.

Eventually, he issued a "letter of apology" on his blog:
He claimed, once again, that he chose the "disguise" so he "could walk around unnoticed and surprise the crowd," and that he randomly picked out a bunch of items to wear.

"It was surprising and disappointing that the images of a disguise were sensationalized leading to the immediate assertion that my costume was anti-Semetic [sic]," he wrote. "I acknowledge how the costume could, within a context of stereotyping, be ascribed to a Jewish caricature. I am here to say that it was absolutely not my intention… I respect all cultures and all people. I would never intentionally put down anybody for the fabric that makes them who they are. I love human beings, love originality, and… happen to love a weird outfit from time to time."
Good grief.

(Pro-tip: If you're apologizing for antisemitism, it's best to make sure you spell "antisemitic" correctly.)

Over and over, white people appropriate caricatures of marginalized populations and then claim they didn't know they were caricatures. That's not an excuse. That's the result of privilege, and living in a culture where you can live your entire life being insulated from those caricatures.

Which is the thing to address. Not your love of "a weird outfit from time to time."

[Related Reading: My Identity Isn't Your Costume.]

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus