Racism? Much Ado About Nothing.

This is the original Allen Jones chair on which Dasha Zhukova sat for the photoshoot.  The copy on which she sat shows a black mannequin but that is what I would call artistic liberty,

Allen Jones, Chair 1969I personally would not buy it or sit on it as I think that it is in poor taste and I doubt very much that it will be comfortable for me.

But to call it racist just because the colour of the back rest, seat and parts of the bottom is black, I think is absurd.  It will be equivalent to calling me racist for wearing a pair of black shoes instead of say brown. Or, perversely, sitting on exactlty the same chair with white as the predominant colour with the mannequin being white.

Being politically correct is getting to be absurd.


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36 Responses to Racism? Much Ado About Nothing.

  1. Ursula says:

    Couldn’t agree more, Ramana. On all counts. Not least because those stiletto heels would dig into my head.

    Yes, political correctness has gone mad. I know it sounds ridiculous but I sometimes ask whether it’s ok to say … You name it. Anything. To think I lost a friend over one word which was apparently inappropriate (I said ‘preference’ rather than ‘orientation’ – what the hell do I know about these matters?). I remember my father coming home giving me what was then called a ‘golliwog’. I loved my golliwog (despite the fact that it was a blow up plastic number). It was black and its eyes were hugely white in contrast. Do I ever mention golliwog unless I am among friends who, with a bit of luck, have no idea what I am talking about? Of course not. I keep my mouth shut. I don’t even know any longer what to call anyone unless they are white. In which case it’s ok to say ‘a white person’. Hallelujah.

    Ursula recently posted..Lace

  2. nick says:

    Well, I would say someone sitting on a chair made of a doubled-up black woman seems pretty racist to me, but does it seem racist to black people? Maybe not, I’m open to all points of view! I think the original version was also criticised for being sexist, but again I’m open to persuasion otherwise. Is it just a clever work of art?
    nick recently posted..Wot, no kids?

  3. It doesn’t appeal to me, and it wouldn’t no matter what the person holding up the seat looked like.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..A Comforting Thought

  4. It’s not racist at all. It is, however, shamefully misogynistic. And I don’t think it’s fair to cast off an objection to something that sexist as mere political correctness. I find the thing outrageously offensive.
    Secret Agent Woman recently posted..Yo no hablo español…yet.

    • Ursula says:

      Interesting point you are making, Agent. Yet, I wouldn’t call the ‘art’ work misogynistic or sexist as you do. Or ‘outrageously offensive’. I dare say, and stone me for it, the only reason women are made into objects of desire because, as any man will agree with, they are more attractive. And men are visual. Glove in hand.

      Ursula recently posted..Romans and countrymen

    • There is this new angle to it which frankly had not occurred to me.

  5. wisewebwoman says:

    I’m with SAW on this one, Ramana, when I saw it on FB I was horrified, the pornification of women, yet again. Think a man or child in this position and how appalling it would be.
    wisewebwoman recently posted..5%

    • Ursula says:

      WWW, certain facts we just have to accept as part of human nature. As unpalatable as they may be.

      There is a danger (you call it ‘pornification’) of making women into victims and men into predators. I don’t think it fair (to men).

      Ursula recently posted..Romans and countrymen

      • wisewebwoman says:

        I have a lot of difficulty with the fact women have to be perceived as always perceived as “f*ckable”. And to be made into a chair in a pornographic position (does she look comfortable) just adds to my outrage.
        wisewebwoman recently posted..5%

    • I would offer the same response that I offered SAW.

  6. tammyj says:

    oh good grief charlie brown.
    being politically correct is definitely absurd. as is the chair.
    tammyj recently posted..hark!

  7. Ramana, I have to totally disagree with you on this one. Think about it from a black American point of view. On the birthday and holiday for Martin Luther King Jr a picture shows up of a rich white woman sitting on a chair with a black woman in bondage. Of course we saw it as racist, and you’ll notice how quickly the company pulled the image. This is the kind of thing that will keep the races in this country at each other’s throats for, well, probably forever because the majority could care less and others don’t get it either. And probably being the only black American male who’ll respond to this, I expect I’ll be the only one who sees is as the race issue it is, even if it’s also a mysogynistic statement against women.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted..10 Ways Diversity Improves Our Lives

  8. Maxi Malone says:

    Racism? This is beyond the pale, looking for any excuse…
    blessings ~ maxi
    Maxi Malone recently posted..I’m Never Eatin’ Froglegs Again

  9. *pornification, my autocorrect stepped in.
    Secret Agent Woman recently posted..Yo no hablo español…yet.

  10. *pornification – my autocorrect stepped in.
    Secret Agent Woman recently posted..Yo no hablo español…yet.

  11. Mitali says:

    racist? It’ just absurd and silly, and looks uncomfortable. I wouldn’t sit on it were it black, white, yellow, red, mullato, arab, a twisted up dear or an earthworm! I agree, political correctness is going overboard. I think as a people who were under colonial rule, we can safetly comment on this (!!!). I’m technically brown, i don’t object to being labelled brown or native or dravidian or whatever. And being a mixed-breed, I don’t object to being called that either. That’s what I am. I call myself a cocktail or a khichadi. Makes more sense than saying I am anglo-dravidian-mongoloid (bengalis have some of that in their genes) whatever. And gives the listener a pain in the brain! Negro means the race, like caucasian. Black and white and yellow and brown are skin colors. It shouldn’t be insulting to be called one. The chair, however, is just in bad taste, but not necessarily racist. Then again, maybe it’s just me 🙂

  12. I’ve realized that most people are reacting to the picture you’ve shown above and not the one that actually sparked the outrage. That photo is here. http://globalgrind.com/2014/01/21/dasha-zhukova-on-black-woman-bondage-chair-photos-buro-247
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted..Learning About Evernote – An Interview with Mitchell Allen

  13. Mike says:

    The image that sparked the uproar is unsettling and, in my view, quite racist. White supremacy over blacks has a long, painful and fairly recent history in our country and images like this are bound to induce visceral reactions from many blacks. The black mannequin chair by itself may be art, but when you pose a white woman on, it’s going to take on a different meaning for a lot of people. http://ioneglobalgrind.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/dasha-zhukova-black-woman-chair-miroslava-duma-buro-247-interview.jpg

    There is too much emphasis on political correctness. This picture ain’t that.
    Mike recently posted..Wind… and chill.

  14. Looney says:

    I think the term “racism” should not be thrown flippantly. The same goes for crude images of women.

    • I agree and would be very careful in the future with my posts on such issues Looney.

      • Looney says:

        My comment wasn’t directed at you. It was more at the blacks who exploit a memory of racism to avoid personal responsibility. As for the chair, I would call it a “feminist chair”. Certainly that would offend the feminists, but it certainly wouldn’t have been done by a Puritan. The counter part to the liberated woman, however, is the liberated male, and that is what liberated male artists do, thus, it is a “feminist chair”.

  15. nick says:

    How on earth can depicting a woman doubled up under a chair in a humiliating position, apparently unable to escape, and even less able to escape if someone sits on the chair, possibly be interpreted as anything but viciously misogynistic? There is no way it can be seen as simply an amusing work of art without the other implications shouting at you.
    nick recently posted..A lick of paint

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