Last week, the Girls co-creator was accused by a former colleague of hipster racism. Arwa Mahdawi reports on an unwitting racism deeply embedded in popular culture
It is, by now, a familiar cycle. First Lena Dunham, the writer-actor-director best known for creating and starring in HBOs Girls, does or says something incredibly tone-deaf and offensive. Outrage ensues and people explain to Dunham why her actions were offensive. She apologizes.
But she doesnt seem to listen, because a few months pass and Dunham does something else offensive. And then the cycle repeats itself.
The latest Dunham drama began last week when the actor Aurora Perrineau accused Murray Miller, a writer on Girls, of raping her when she was 17. Dunham has built her brand on being an outspoken feminist, and has publicly said you should always believe women; that women dont lie about rape. But to some, it seems what she meant was that white women dont lie about rape.
Because Dunhams first reaction to Perrineaus allegations was to get together with her Girls co-creator Jenni Konner and publicly accuse Perrineau, who is mixed race, of lying. This was particularly galling to many, since the recent #MeToo movement that has risen in response to a flood of sexual misconduct accusations against powerful men has focused on wealthy white women and largely ignored victims of colour.
Dunhams defence of Miller (for which she has now apologized) caused an immediate backlash and sparked calls for women of colour to divest from Dunham. In a statement which went viral, the writer Zinzi Clemmons talked about how, as a student at Brown University, shed known a lot of people whod moved in the same circles as friends of Dunham. Wealthy, well-educated liberals, with parents who were influential in the art world.
Back in college, I avoided these people like the plague because of their well-known racism, Clemmons wrote. Id call their strain hipster racism.