Swedish minister of culture, black face, genital mutilation…hilarious right?

So when I saw the following photo, I was caught totally off guard by how blatantly racist the whole scene is.

Black cake, white teeth, a lot of smiling laughing faces in the crowd which look, without any context, like they are making a mockery of black women at the very least.  Just looking at the photo, I totally missed that the head of the cake is of a real person.

The lady holding the fork is Swedish minister of culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth.  She’s participating in the opening of an art exhibit at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet.  The art is supposed to highlight the problem of female circumcision.

On the horrid video above, the artist is screaming as people cut the cake. It’s awful all around.

I get that art is supposed to be shocking, provocative and even offensive at times.  But if the goal is to shine the light on genital mutilation and yet the whole conversation is about how racist it is, then the artist missed the mark.

Commentary on genital mutilation should elicit shouts of glee and giddiness.  I saw the image on Facebook posted by Adrienne George Lind from the Black Women in Europe blog, and she says there are groups in Sweden who are lashing out against the event, especially the Minister of Culture’s participation.

  • http://phelps.donotremove.net Phelps

    That whole area is just… weird. Blackface is not uncommon there, like the whole Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) sidekick to Santa Claus in the Netherlands. I think part of it is that there just aren’t any black people there to be offended and signal how boorish it is to them.

    BTW, if you have Netflix, you can watch Lilyhammer on Instant and get an idea of how they are. (Norway and Sweden are pretty similar.)

  • Adrian Khan

    Ok so if their isnt enough blacks to be offended,why are whites so obsessed with blacks then?

  • http://phelps.donotremove.net Phelps

    Are you talking about America or Sweden?

  • http://phelps.donotremove.net Phelps

    Also, as a final wrinkle in the puzzle, this is the artist who created the cake and played the “head”.

    http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m2mw0tJShv1qm16uno1_500.jpg

  • http://www.facebook.com/shawnpwilliams Shawn P Williams

    I figured there was a better than zero chance that the guy was black. I still don’t like it, think the reaction elicited was not the right one. I’m not an artist so I can only speak from my experience.

  • Magnan007

    There are things you see or hear and just don’t want to believe they are out there and real, because they are so insensitive, so shoking, so wrong… Art cannot serve as a shield to hide incendiary imaginery like the one in this case. No one gives credit to art under the Nazi rule in Germany, and that’s right. So why should this be called art and accepted? I would like to invite all the persons who see this demonstartion as tolerable to picture that woman, cake or “piece of art” in their skin color before defending it.

  • Kelychild

    This is wrong in so many different ways, this is racism and dehumanizing the black race, i rather have the culture of female genital mutilation as bad as it is, than be with a bunch of evil white racists who claim to be supportive but are just having their racist fun.

  • Jr

    I am sorry, but i fail to recognize the racial issues here. I do not think that there is anything racist about this, whatsoever. The old cliché “a picture is worth a 1000 words” fail us. After reading the short article about this piece and watching the video, the artist made his point very clearly. Female Genital Mutilation is not common in western civilization. It as a tradition that has been passed down from generations to generations in africa,”hence, the blackness of the cake.” I am black and from africa, when watching the video, I caught myself laughing because the scream of the artist is just humorous, If you truly understand anything about female genital mutilation you would focus more on that. lets focus at the issue at hand and stop looking for other issues.