Genital Mutilation and Shock Art

More

There was some amount of outrage last week when Sweden's Minister of Culture was seen presiding over a cake made to mirror blackface. The cake was actually made by a black artist in Sweden, Makode Linde. Like photoshopping Venus and the Old Masters, the piece is too didactic and spectacular for my taste. I tend to find "shock art" ultimately numbing and rather boring. 


But however you feel, it's worth understanding how it came about and what the guy was trying to accomplish:

"I've been working since 2004 with the image of blackness and criticizing different ideas of black identity within my art," Linde told Al Jazeera. I've been doing this by revamping the blackface into different forms and thereby critiquing it." The cake represents a woman receiving female circumcision. 

Linde says he created it to critique the Western tendency to point fingers at oppression in Africa, without examining its own racism, sexism and homophobia. "Racism, oppression against woman, or homophobia can take place in Africa, in Europe, in Sweden, in anywhere," Linde says. "By then labeling oppression to only be female circumcision or taking a certain form, I think that's putting on blindfolds for seeing what oppression really is."

Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In