"Token Black Woman" -Issa Rae

This gif comes from an episode of the show "Insecure" that aired recently on HBO. The show is based on Issa Rae, an African American woman, trying to navigate her way through her 20's. Rae works for a non profit called "We Got Ya'll," which helps children of color from low income communities to be successful in school. The non-profit was created by a white woman and Rae is the only black woman working there. Rae refers to herself as the "token black woman." This gif shows a white co-worker asking Rae the meaning of "on fleek." Her co-worker is assuming that because Rae is black, that she is familiar with this language. This is an example of her co-worker's language ideologies. Unfortunately for her co-worker, due to indirect indexicality, making this assumption actually makes her appear racist. Rae spoke about the show, saying that the series will examine "the complexities of 'blackness' and the reality that you can’t escape being black." Rae also said, in regards to the potential mainstream reaction to the series: "We’re just trying to convey that people of color are relatable. This is not a hood story. This is about regular people living life."

Posted by Erica Hageman on October 6, 2016


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