This ignorance is what caused a brief twitter feud between Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj last year about the VMA awards snub. Upset about the lack of a nomination of her "Anaconda" video for video of the year, Nicki tweeted "If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year." Taking this as a personal attack (because Taylor is a woman with a very slim body), Taylor tweeted to Nicki: "I've done nothing but love & support you. It's unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot.." Taylor's comment comes from a feminist perspective, focused on whatever seems offensive or harmful to feminism, which is an important point of view. However, what she fails to see is the racial subtext that Nicki's comment contains. Although she is talking about 'women with very slim bodies,' Nicki is really commenting on a specifically 'white' beauty standard. In other words, she is criticizing the white-dominant beauty ideal in American culture, as a black celebrity who does neither embodies that ideal nor seeks it. Award shows like the VMAs tend to celebrate whatever 'white' pop culture celebrates, and that is what Nicki finds problematic. In her feminist-focused mindset, Taylor decided to look past Nicki's racial subtext and consider her as just a woman, but not a 'black woman,' which resulted in her less than charming comment.
Race and gender are two very relevant and hot-topic issues right now, and they are difficult to talk about. We are often tempted to go with a seemingly 'safe' point of view, looking past people's race, leading to a lack of sensibility about important racial concerns. It is important to separate awareness about discourses surrounding race and judgments surrounding race. We should never resort to uninformed judgment, but we also need to be brave enough to actively seek awareness.