All Articles Tagged "n*gger cake"
Yesterday, I was sitting begrudgingly at my desk, trudging along through some paperwork when I decided to take a sanity break and catch up on what the blogosphere was outraged about today. Today’s point of contention was over a cake. But this was no ordinary Betty Crocker concoction. No, this cake depicted a black African woman with a minstrel-esque face, being sliced open in the genital region by Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, a self-proclaimed anti-racist, who also just happens to be the Swedish minister of culture. The pictures alone were horrifying but the video of the spectacle is enough to reduce many to tears.
The display came courtesy of Makode Aj Linde, a black Swede who actually played the head of the cake as part of an art installation at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. In the footage from the event, you can see and hear Aj Linde screaming in agony as Liljeroth proceeded to cut and then feed that part of the cake, which is her vagina, to the performance artist while several established members of the Stockholm cultural elite watched, laughed and merrily devoured the body.
Linde said that the cake was meant to be provocative social commentary on the issue of female circumcision in Africa as it’s viewed by the West. And according his Facebook page, he writes, “This is after getting my vagaga mutilated by the minister of culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth. Before cutting me up she whispered ‘Your life will be better after this’ in my ear.”
Needless to say, I was floored at the open display of cannibalism at the expense of a grotesquely caricaturized image of a Black woman. My initial reaction was “what kind of fuckery is this?” And I wasn’t alone. A spokesperson from the National Afro-Swedish Association thought that the piece “adds to the mockery of racism in Sweden.”
But after a day of reflecting and a good night’s rest, I woke up, thought about it some more and said: On second consideration, now I get it.
To fully conceptualize the artist’s message, we have to first consider Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman, who was the most famous Southern African slave women to be exhibited as freak show attractions in 19th-century Europe under the name Hottentot Venus. Baartman was exhibited around Britain, France and places in between, entertaining people by showing what were thought of as highly unusual bodily features, mainly her large buttocks and elongated labia. Once the novelty of the Hottentot wore thin, Baartman was “freed” and eventually died from an undetermined ailment (many suspect her death was the result of the prostitution she endured in order to support herself after the being discarded by society). After her death in 1815, Baartman’s skeleton, which included her genitals, were placed on display in Paris until as recent as 1974.