Miley Cyrus Still Doesn’t Get Why Her VMAs Performance Was Racially Problematic
“It’s actually really funny how many people could watch my performance, and they think it was, like, sexist and degrading to women, and somehow people found that it was racist, which I couldn’t even wrap my mind around. Because I’m like: ‘How do I win? If I have white dancers, then I’m racist. If I have black girl dancers, then I’m racist.’ We know we’re not racist, and I know I’m not putting down women. People got a rise out of me saying that I was a feminist, but I am. I’m telling women be whoever you want to be.”
Oh Miley, Miley, Miley. Here she is in the New York Times this weekend proving she, still, so doesn’t get why people were offended that she spanked a Black woman onstage at the VMAs. I’m not entirely surprised that an ex-Disney star doesn’t have the a developed sense of racism and intersectional feminism, but I would have hoped she’d be slightly more intellectual than to think than employing black backup dancers makes her not racist.
Here’s what Miley had to say when she was asked by the Times whether her personal thinking about race changed this year:
New York Times: As people have brought these things up to you over the last year, has it changed your personal thinking about race?
No, I never let that change me. My grandma, who is alive, was living in a time where there was no way in hell that she would’ve ever thought there would’ve been a black president. I mean, never. And my grandma’s like, not even 80, so this is in a short period of time that things have changed so much. I really thought about it a lot when Nelson Mandela passed away, because I couldn’t even imagine living this life and seeing how much it’s changed. So, you know, I look forward to when I’m older, my kids being like, “What do you mean people ever even talked about what color your dancers were?”
I can sorta understand why Miley doesn’t let other people’s criticisms change her: she has a strong sense of self and doesn’t want to be influenced by other people’s opinions of her. Most of the time, that’s a great way to be, especially for an artist or creative person. But existing in the world isn’t just about preserving our sense of self at all costs — we have to peacefully coexist with others, too. She’s still got some more to learn about when she should listen to other people’s criticism — like when allegations of racism are involved.