Ok, so I’m not saying that what she did was right, or in good taste, but maybe what she was doing was making a statement of her generation.
Hear me out on this one.
We keep talking about how we are living in a “post-racial” society, or how we might be moving into one, but all I kept reading this morning about last night’s VMA awards was the white appropriation of black culture.
If that were so, I don’t think that Rhianna or Will Smith and family would have stayed in the audience for long.
Listen, Miley twerked. Elvis swung his hips. This is the same thing sixty years later. If we continue to freak out about it, we are doomed to be our parents’ parents (or our grandparents’ parents–scary thought!). The fact is that culture doesn’t just leak from Black to White or from White to Black (please insert any race/ethnicity you choose in these examples). Culture is boundless, it cannot be contained within racial boundaries. To say that Miley is only defined by her father’s country music (White) heritage is absurd. As much as we would like to believe that our children grow up in bubbles, they do not.
We should be happy that Miss Cyrus is internalizing Black culture and trying to interpret it for her fans, just as we should be happy that our African American students are reading Jane Austen in high school.
Why is there a double standard? Just because Miss Cyrus is young, a performer, and under-clothed, should we demonize her for exploring a culture other than the one that she is familiar?
From what we have seen of the recent voting culture in the United States, the younger generations–those of Miss Cyrus’s generation–are more likely to be open minded on race, sexuality, gender equality, and similar issues. Why then wouldn’t she make a foray into new cultural identities? I believe that Robin Thicke was the perfect partner for her, in his Beetlejuice outfit, because he showed the difference in the generations. Robin was the rigid, the un-“Blurred Lines,” and Miley, well, she definitely blurred the lines.