Hey! :) Glad you replied. No, it was not rhetorical at all.
Nope, being called a gypsy as a Romanian in France is not racism. We were judged based on the ethnicity of our exported Romanian citizens which were the most visible. Mind you, for French people, a gypsy is as much a Romanian as any other ethnicity who has Romanian citizenship.
It might have been racist towards gypsies (not Romanians!) if the French have acted against them on an ethnical basis, as in say set up segregation laws where gypsies could not use the same public things other favoured ethnic groups could. That is racist. Being a Romanian and having a blanket ethnicity associated is a separate issue, an issue we as a nation have severely mishandled.
You should not ever, ever, ever switch the words describing the oppressed and the oppressor, in the intellectual output of a person that currently lives inside an actively oppressed minority, or group in general. That means, by switching black with white in Ezinne Ukoha’s essay you basically minimise the strength of the expression of her experience, by removing the black perspective, as if there is none, as if a white person living in her American society has an identical experience to a black person, which you must know it is simply not true.
It doesn’t matter that you don’t approve of the message. You are free to demolish her arguments, but not on the base of racism. There is, for example, the case of the selling power of big butts. There is also a case to make that it is unfair for Ezinne to hold Iggy to a standard of self acceptance which neither race of females on earth will hold on to because of a separate issue: patriarchy. I personally think that paragraph is the worst.
You may not approve of the message that Iggy has a black girl complex and is desperate to erase it. You may not approve of the stated idea that she is doing it as appropriation and not as cultural product. These are debatable. But there is no racism.
What is not debatable is that Ezinne is a black woman, discussing the actions of a white woman which so far looks like is very close to doing blackface in her videos. Now that would be a fucked compliment to the black folk of rap music.
Also, I believe the essay speaks more personal to those “black people who hate their own” than to us whites. We may be offended, but the truth is, it is less about us. I listen to Iggy and I also listen to Azealia. I don’t care. I am sheltered in my white skin. My kids will not depend on the rap culture surviving appropriation. Ezinne’s do.
Racism is complex but it really isn’t complicated: if you are the one who has to work to remove the weight society placed on you because of your race, you cannot be racist when you express your experience carrying that weight.
Even in Romania: if a gypsy calls a pure blood Romanian, whatever that is, a thief, without proof, that gypsy is not racist, he is a liar. If a pure blood Romanian calls a gypsy a thief, that is racist, because the gypsy is being labeled a thief because of his race first AND is it Romanians who crated the label in the first place.