Last week, the Girls co-creator was accused by a former colleague of hipster racism. Arwa Mahdawi reports on an unwitting racism profoundly been incorporated in popular culture
It is, by now, a familiar round. First Lena Dunham, the writer-actor-director best known for creating and starring in HBO’s Girls, does or says something fantastically tone-deaf and offensive. Anger ensues and people explain to Dunham why her activities were offensive. She apologizes.
But she doesn’t 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 columnist 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 ever belief ladies; that ladies don’t lie about rape. But to some, it seems what she entailed was that white wives don’t lie about rape.
Because Dunham’s first reaction to Perrineau’s 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 most recent #MeToo motion that has risen in response to a flood of sex misconduct accusations against powerful men has focused on wealthy white women and largely ignored victims of colour.
Dunham’s defence of Miller( for which she has now apologized) made an immediate backlash and triggered calls for women of colour to “divest” from Dunham. In a statement which proceeded viral, the writer Zinzi Clemmons talked about how, as a student at Brown University, she’d known a lot of people who’d moved in the same circles as the group of friends of Dunham. Wealthy, well-educated liberals, with parents who were influential in the artwork world.
” Back in college, I scaped these people like the plague because of their well-known racism ,” Clemmons wrote.” I’d call their strain’ hipster racism ‘.”