This video is revelatory.
white people ain’t got no manners
lots of poc in there too
everyone needs to watch this.
Antiblack misogyny. The first perpetrators are white women. Two white women battling it out at the same time to get their antiblack misogyny in, and then one smiling to the other and apologizing for knocking over the other because she “had to get her shot.”
Third person to take a picture is a white woman. Who turns and, as the caption says, “happily shares her shot” [smiling and showing it to the white man behind her].
Two WoC (one black) see her, have no reaction.
The fourth picture was another white woman. This time she has a camera, not a camera phone. None of these white women have talked to this black woman, none of them have asked. All of them have taken her picture from behind, eagerly like they just can’t miss their shot. This is not even three minutes in.
Mind you, this person is walking to get to a museum exhibit on free admission day. That’s it. She’s walking in a loose yellow jumpsuit with a comfortable fit, her hair is done in lovely loc’d ringlets, she is wearing heels, she has on light and lovely makeup. She’s not an exhibit, she’s a person- but you’d never know it by the way she’s been treated just walking down the street to one building over, and up two escalators to an exhibit. Just in the first not even three minutes.
A few stares a points by white couples (initiated by women). Picture 5 is taken by a white woman.
One white woman complimented her on her outfit, she captioned this as her second compliment of the day (the first being a white receptionist at the beginning).
Minute 5:14, she goes for a bathroom break. She views what is currently collected from the footage, and for the first time discovers that people had been taking pictures of her without her consent (a fact she was unaware of until that moment).
Minute 5:55 caption: “at this point I lost track of how many pictures were taken.”
6:56: “I feel so comfortable, so I decide to walk to the lobby for a second time (more pictures are taken).”
Minute 7:02: I see someone wearing a red shirt with black stripes, very similarly to the jumpsuit’s pattern. It occurs to me that had she been wearing the jumpsuit as a shirt, and fitted jeans (you know clothes everyone wears) that this would still be her experience. Because she has a noticeable ass, and she’s black, and she’s existing.
7:28 caption: “She’s taken picture number 12 or 15???”
7:30-8 caption: “The gift shop was amazing easy to walk through. People are too busy shopping to look at you. (So I lingered there for a bit).”
[Bold mine. Think about that. Think about lingering a gift shop because people aren’t making you their exhibit. Think about lingering at a gift shop to get a break from not being a person at a museum, a break from being other people’s (white people who get to be people) exhibit].
8:30 caption: Then it was time to go look at one more exhibit. Plus I wanted to visit their sculpture garden which I love.
Bold reminder that this is a human being and she is looking at an art museum on free admission day like everyone else. She is a human being looking at art, and wanting to see some art that she particularly loves. Let that sink in, non black people (and especially white people).
8:47: More people in stripes, more people in tight shorts. It is not about the way she’s dressing. I repeat: IT IS NOT ABOUT THE WAY SHE IS DRESSING. It is her blackness, and her womanhood (note: antiblack misogyny denies humanity; desexualizes and hypersexualizes; and defeminizes; womanhood is denied, any protection experienced via white womanhood does not exist, but all the brunt of it does).
8:55 caption: “I pause again near another bathroom and talk to my friend who is filming. I am emotionally tired now." [Bold mine].
9:01: “Hmm. Interesting. Okay so I’m going to go to the third floor for real now.”
9:05 “Do you want a post card?” (I shopped while filming). Blaring reminder she is a person!
9:11 caption: (Friend): “This works too! Just standing here… [and film reactions].”
9:48: A white couple walks by, one of the couple turns around pointedly to get a last look (at her ass). The second half has a camera, but did not take pictures. The camera pans to a second person who has a camera phone and is taking a picture. Their expression is intent on getting their shot. (She is across the room, looking at art- as she has been the entire time, just existing).
9:57: An Asian person takes a picture and walks away, it cannot be determined if the picture was of her backside until the ten minute mark, when the friend who is filming stands in the exact same spot, and maneuvers to face the same direction: She’s revealed to be the very clear subject, not the artwork.
10:08-20: More people in stripes, more people in tight clothes. More people not being treated like an exhibit. The overwhelming majority are non-black, the majority are also white.
10:26: Another white person lines up to take a picture of her. This time the filmer is behind them, and you can clearly see her on their screen preview. The way they hold their camera is in the same manner they would caption a thing, a thing in the museum.
10:39 caption: “There is a lot less reaction in the quieter gallery areas”
[My thoughts: people feeling less confident in overt antiblack misogyny when they’re not in groups, and therefor they themselves cannot blend in with a shield of whiteness, and paleness).
10:48: A white man snaps a photo with his phone, a child is tugging on his shirt and looking up at him for some attention. It is not clear if the photo is of her.
11:29 caption: Time to head outside.
11: 34: A white woman takes a picture with her zoom in, the angles are too off to confirm who she took a picture of, however as the camera pans to the right, we see there’s really no one else for her to be taking a picture of, except of a black woman. If you look in the window during the pan you see another white woman with a camera phone. hear voices during the pan right. “Nobody’s invisible, people are like-“
Minute 11:40 caption: This girl came up to apologize after being asked why she took my picture.
11:48 caption: Naturally this led to a conversation about the project.
11:55 caption: She was the only one to apologize throughout the whole project.
[I would also like to point out that she was confronted, and had she not been I doubt we would have a measly “only one” to point to].
12:07: As they are talking, a desi man and a woman (race undetermined, could be white, could be pale desi) take her photo. The couple stop, turn, and the woman walks out while the man aims his camera with one hand.
12:07 caption: Note I am the background in their photo.
[My note: because she is being photographed from the side, they are getting a clear side view of her ass, for their entertainment].
12:30: It is now clear that the woman is also desi.
12:41: The couple is filmed walking away. They take no other photos.
12:44: We see a pale man (race undetermined)- he could be white, he could be East Asian) with a white woman rummaging through her satchel. He looks to the white woman before continuing to stare at the black woman. He appears to be gesturing with his head about the black woman in a “get a load of this” manner, treating her a spectacle.
12:55 caption: It’s taking her FOREVER to get her camera out! Bad nerves maybe?
13: 09 caption [Two East Asian women walking by, one is head to toe in loose purple fabric] : Notice this woman with the purple scarf. She seems not to notice me.
[The second woman says something while smiling, dialogue undetermined]
13:19: A white couple is casually walking, the woman is holding a camera. For a split second I really thought she wouldn’t take a picture. Of course, she does.
13:22: She transitions her camera up smoothly, in practiced manner of capturing a thing, an object, the man’s posture doesn’t change, showing that this picture taking, this overt antiblack misogyny and dehumanization perpetrated by this white woman is completely normalized.
13: 25: He begins to walk forward, as if bored or annoyed by her taking too long. She trails behind him, having gotten his shot.
[Note me: kind of how you’d walk off slightly irritated when someone’s taking too long to get a picture of an exhibit…]
13:32: She’s still talking to the white woman they confronted.
13:37 caption: The woman with the purple scarf is now back to take a picture.
[You can see the preview screen on her camera, it shows the black woman clearly. She is the only/main view of the camera, and it’s zoomed in to make the shot mainly her entire body].
13:51 caption [still talking to white woman who was confronted]: Finally we decide to exchange information and then it is time to leave the museum.
14:04 caption: I wander a bit before exiting…
14:04 caption cont’: I’m having fun at this point.
14:54 caption [a black man approaches, he’s dressed professionally: One security guard had interesting things to say. Dinner was made an option.
15:03 caption: Funny, he forgot meeting me in regular clothing two days before. [Bold mine]
[Me: Another thing about antiblack misogyny: You are invisible. You are either hyper-visible [and hyper-sexualized], and in danger. Or you are invisible, and also in danger]
15:19: A white man fiddles with the positioning of his camera as he nonchalantly determines what kind of picture of her he shall take. His expression is bored, his actions entitled. Bored entitlement.
15:24: The filmer angles so as to see the screen preview. It is clearly of her, zoomed in for entire body, though some of her foot is cut from the picture preview. He continues taking pictures as she’s walking away, this time his pictures are clearly zoomed in on her butt, and also gets some breasts. Whether he gets her face is clearly of no consequence.
15:38 caption: And then my day at MoMa comes to an end.
15:42 Closing Credits:
Special thank you to Morvarid Shahidi, Gina Im, and the Museum of Modern Art.
Body suit by Butch Diva
Holster fanny pack by Yana Handbags
15:45: YANA in a Body Suit Productions 2012
This is the reality of being a black woman, a black femme, and a black perceived-woman. If you do anything, anything, you are not a person. You are a side show and people have the right to be entertained! They will apologize to the white folk they knocked out of the way to get their picture rather than acknowledge a word of personhood to your face! You don’t HAVE a face! You’re just ass. White supremacy has a history dating into the early-mid 1900s of having black people in fucking zoos for their entertainment. This isn’t new! This isn’t new! This is a legacy. This is the legacy of whiteness and no white person is exempt.
Not white women, who are the initiators and main perpetrators of this because (as my friend said) they see her as a threat; not white men, who are indeed just as guilty; not white non-binaries, not white queers (your other axis of oppression do not and will not ever negate your whiteness). No one is exempt from the legacy that made this possible, that allows this to go on unchecked, that is still actively held up by the people who would fancy themselves passive, or “good people.”
It doesn’t matter how you dress. This isn’t just about being fat, this isn’t just about being skinny- this is about not being white, this is about existing in blackness.
You see white people of all shapes and sizes in this video. NONE of them are side shows, NONE of them are experiencing the sheer white gaze of antiblackness and antiblack misogyny. And this is about blackness. This is about being perceived in such a manner that other people only feel the need an “excuse” to dehumanize you: something they do already in the comfort of their homes, in their minds. You know this because not a single white person reprimanded another white person for their picture taking. Not one alerted her after said non-existent reprimand.This is what I worry about when I go out. I don’t even know if people are taking pics, and I pray they are not.