The art project, titled ‘Words Matter’ and designed by Yue Chen, went viral on Wednesday, after it grabbed users’ attention for having the n-word typed over it some fourteen times. The poster features a timeline, along which the racial slur is being repeated since the 19th century, while the ink gradually fades out towards the era when Barack Obama became America’s first black president.
Beside the parade of fading n-words, there is a column with a repeating b-word, a supposedly anti-woman slur, which doesn’t fade out like the n-word does on the poster, alluding to former first lady Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign failing in 2008.
nodding and smiling pic.twitter.com/ChpPWfVYfG
— subcomandante palma (@PALMAUNLlMITED) September 29, 2020
The imagery appeared to have been implying that while the fight against racism in the US had a modicum of success, in some parts sexism remains completely unchallenged.
The suggestion to measure women’s supposed oppression against that experienced by African Americans didn’t go unchallenged online, and social media got flooded with mocking comments.
Some commenters were genuinely wondering what was the point behind the artwork’s concept. Others perceived a disconnect between the author’s attempt to promote one type of identity politics, feminism, while using the most notorious racist slur to achieve that goal. “Someone wanted to write the n-word fourteen times and come out feeling morally superior,” one user quipped.
Someone wanted to write the n-word 14 times and come out feeling morally superior
— the beer queer (@bomb_threats) September 30, 2020
this is your brain on JK Rowling
— Fairway 🦋✨ (@fairway_fox) September 30, 2020
Many Twitter users ridiculed the mere idea of “rich white women” like the multimillionaire Clinton being oppressed at all.
As we all know, rich white women are the most oppressed in our society.
— Calamari 🌹 (@HughGRecti0n) September 30, 2020
Some observers pointed out that Obama’s tenure in the Oval office did not resolve racial tensions in the US. This fact is especially evident amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, and the counter-protests drawn out by them.
The sentiment behind the poster seems to be mirroring the reaction some Clinton supporters had to her losing the Democratic presidential nomination to Obama in 2008 and then losing the presidential election to Donald Trump in 2016. In both instances, some of her supporters were making the case that Clinton lost due to an inherent sexism among the general US population.
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