Because let’s take a step back, says Clemmons. She’s currently in Nigeria at a literary festival hearing stories from women who are “putting themselves in danger every day to help women in some of the worst conditions on earth.” She reminds us to consider the 26 Nigerian girls who drowned last week while being sex trafficked off the coast of Italy.

With that in mind, here’s what she has to say about Dunham:

Jemima Kirke was in my year at RISD while I was at Brown [Ed note: the campus is next door]. We had many mutual acquaintances and still do. Most of these acquaintances were like Lena–wealthy, with parents who are influential in the art world. They had a lot of power and seemed to get off on simultaneously wielding it and denying it. Back in college, I avoided these people like the plague because of their well-known racism. I’d call their strain “hipster racism”, which typically uses sarcasm as a cover, and in the end, it looks a lot like gaslighting– “It’s just a joke. Why are you overreacting?” is a common response to a lot of these statements. In Lena’s circle, there was a girl who was known to use the N word in conversation in order to be provocative, and if she was ever called on it, she would say “it’s just a joke.”

Zinzi Clemmons, African American Literature, Black Literature, Racism, Race Relations, What We Lose, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNMonica Almeida | Photo Credit


NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY & CULTURE | WASHINGTON, DC

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. (Website).


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KOLUMN Magazine celebrates the lives of People of Color by giving our world texture.