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Race Review: This week’s news is a lesson in boundaries

27 May 2018

Settling on a universal understanding of what is and isn’t acceptable is crucial for a functioning multicultural society. So often people of colour are forced to draw the line for white people who overstep the mark of what is acceptable or conversely, find themselves being restricted by other people’s boundaries for us.

When people talk about cultural appropriation, what they’re really saying is: “this person crossed a boundary.” Nicki Minaj has faced fresh accusations of cultural appropriation for her performance in the new video for Chun-Li, in which she donned chopsticks in her hair and employed other Asian exports. It was branded an “orientalist mess” by some who thought that her homogenising of all Asian cultures was not celebratory, but adding to the issue of different cultures being balled into one digestible aesthetic.

Meanwhile, a white fan was invited on stage to rap with Kendrick Lamar joined in a little too enthusiastically on the “my ni**a” lines, and K-pop kings BTS have been forced to step in and defend black women from racism within their own fanbase. Finally, Black communities in California came together in a beautiful way to protest months of black people being persecuted for breathing the same air as white Americans in Starbucks and beyond.

So here’s all the boundary breaking news this week:


Once again the world needs reminding of why white people can’t use the n-word. White fan Delaney was invited on stage with the Compton rapper and after he halted the music, he questioned her on knowing “the rules”, saying “you gotta bleep one single word, though”, after which she apologised profusely.

Ta-Nehisi Coates compared this racial boundary with how men can’t join in with women calling each other “bitch”, or  that he doesn’t feel right using the term “white trash” while his white friends use it freely. He said: “For white people, I think the experience of being a Hip-Hop fan and not being able to use the word ‘ni**a’ will be very insightful…This will give you just a little peek into the world of what it means to be black. Because to be black is to walk through the world and watch people doing things that you cannot do.”

Many people sympathised with Delaney’s error as an accident, and it’s clear she had no malicious intent and got caught up in the moment, but it reflects a wider issue and it is important for the black community to draw the racial boundaries for themselves and for white communities to accept the n-word simply doesn’t belong to them anymore.


China’s government forced Muslims to eat pork and drink alcohol according to a former internment camp inmate. A US commission called it the “the largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today” while a leading historian called it “cultural cleansing”.

Omir Bekali, one among perhaps a million people reportedly arrested and held in mass re-education camps, said he was held without trial or a lawyer and forced to go against his core beliefs while praising the Communist Party. He said: “The psychological pressure is  enormous, when you have to criticise yourself, denounce your thinking – your own ethnic group. I still think about it every night, until the sun rises. I can’t sleep. The thoughts are with me all the time.”

According the The Independent, the Chinese Foreign Ministry denies any knowledge of the inhumane camps.


  • The Obamas have signed a multi-year deal with Netflix to produce “scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries, and features” that “highlight issues and themes the president pursued during his eight years in office.
  • Diddy has broken records by paying the highest ever price for the work of a living African American artist after spending $21.1 million on Kerry James Marshall’s painting Past Times (1997). It depicts a black family enjoying an afternoon at a park on the lakefront.
  • A woman was allegedly “kidnapped and raped” by a police officer in Texas and was being held hostage in Ellis County Jail on May 20. Sherita Dixon Cole said she was sexually assaulted during a traffic stop by a Texas State Trooper but the department have denied her accusations.

  • African-American children are taking their lives at roughly twice the rate of their white counterparts, according to a new study that shows an increasing racial disparity.
  • A comedian drowning in his own white privilege, Josh Denny, said: “’Straight White Male’ has become this century’s N-Word. It’s used to offend and diminish the recipient based on assumption and bias. No difference in the usage.” Naturally the Internet put him in his place.


A beautiful community cookout was organised in response to a white woman calling the police on a few black people trying to enjoy a BBQ on April 29. This classic case of everyday racism was all captured on camera and has been viewed over two million times on Youtube.