I’m back in the short nail club. The talons got out of control on holidays. (at Blonde Tiger)
If you ever (pre 2013) marvelled at my nails on here, chances are either Erin did them, or she taught me how to do them. Melbourne people, go get yo’ nails did!!
please tell me a white person didn’t use aped AAVE as a tagline…
I am American. I grew up in Southern California. I lived there until 6 years ago. I was taught, by the Black and Latina ladies in my beauty school (20 years ago!) and the salons I worked in that there is “getting your nails done” and “getting yo’ nails did”. The former is a “tasteful” French manicure or plain color. The latter involves bright colors, nail art, rhinestones, etc.
The tagline on my cards is my way of bringing American nail culture to Australia and paying homage to the women who kept nail art alive in the years when mainstream fashion dictated that we should all have “tasteful” nails.
If you a fly gal get your nails done
Get a pedicure, get your hair did
- Missy Elliot
Anyway, thanks for the reblog and the opportunity to supply feedback.
Thanks for your reply.
I was hesitant to reply to this because I myself am a white woman. But there’s a few considerations to make that I think are important and have relevance: the first, specifically, with using a racially suggestive tagline in a country like Australia - which itself is not only highly racist but has little understanding/context for African American culture, except what it sees presented in movies. Which themselves can be highly problematic, stereotyped and racist presentations. Regardless of your history in those cultures in America, no one in Australia simply reading the tagline gets any hint of that. All they get is the decontexualised usage of a racially-charged statement presented by a white woman.
Conversely, the tagline itself cannot be decontextualised from being AAVE in large part *because* it was popularised by Missy Elliott, a Black American woman. It’s not American culture, it’s African American culture - which comes constantly under fire from the dominant white American culture.
Then there’s the added complication of elaborate nail art itself having evolved from AA & Latina cultures but being appropriated by white business owners who turn massive profit (in a general sense, not you specifically) on something that, when placed within their originating cultures - as you noted - are seen as indicators of being lower-class, tacky, cheap, etc. On top of that is the beauty industry itself is a racially-charged atmosphere, both in America and Australia - “worthwhile” nail salons are characterised as white, again something you indicate awareness of. I’m sure you’ve come across the grotesquely racist sentiments concerning the Chinese and Thai-owned nail salons in Australia. Similarly in America, nail salons are promoted and characterised as being most worthwhile when they’re white. AAVE itself is highly derided and sneered at by dominant white culture when used by AA people - but considered hilarious, kitschy and cute when used by white people.
You made it clear you’re aware of much this stuff, and based on what you’ve said there’s no doubt you made your choice from a place of respect and passion, but perhaps haven’t considered it fully through to its end impact with you as a white woman using such a phrase. As a friend of mine said to me, quoted with permission: “Specifically, it’s a racialized linkage that she’s only free to use as a sale-point because she’s white. People who decontextualize/use phrases that are HIGHLY linked to non-dominant cultures, when they themselves are of that dominant culture, is utilizing privilege in a clear and egregious manner to profit off of perceived social capital, while simultaneously denying that cultural capital to the source.”
I guess my final point is: even if the friends we have who come from different backgrounds to us give us the thumbs up on using capital from their cultures, even if we do so with the intention of respect, should we still do it when we consider the broader implications of our actions?
Not that I’m telling you to change it or anything, I wouldn’t presume such authority over you or the topic of conversation, just I felt there’s a lot going on to talk about.
I’ll tell you what white people totally own: over-thinking shit.