It’s “Slightly Racist To Be A Taylor Swift Fan”, BLM Co-Founder Says


Authored by Sarah Wilder via The College Fix,

Melina Abdullah, a professor of Pan-African Studies at Cal State University Los Angeles who is a leader in the Black Lives Matter movement and once argued Jussie Smollet was framed, recently stated she thinks Taylor Swift fans are kinda racist.

Abdullah made the comments in a post on X during Super Bowl, prompting a lively debate on the platform as Swift attended the game to watch her current boyfriend, Travis Kelce, help lead his team, the Kansas City Chiefs, to victory.

Abdullah also wrote on X after the game, in response to the San Francisco 49ers loss: “Why do I feel like this was some right-wing, white-supremacist conspiracy?!?! Booooooo!!!!”

“Folks think they’re attacking me by asking why I think everything is racist…I’m not offended. Virtually everything is racist,” she wrote in another post that day after her comments garnered attention.

Abdullah did not respond to requests for comment from The College Fix over the last week seeking further context on her posts and the interest they prompted.

“Too many American flags” is also racist-feeling-y…

Professor Abdullah’s faculty bio describes her as “a womanist scholar-activist – understanding the role that she plays in the academy as intrinsically linked to broader struggles for the liberation of oppressed people.”

Abdullah is listed as a co-founder of Black Lives Matter’s Los Angeles chapter and co-director of Black Lives Matter Grassroots, the activist wing of the controversial advocacy organization.

In December 2021, she authored a post arguing Jussie Smollett is innocent during his trial.

“In our commitment to abolition, we can never believe police, especially the Chicago Police Department (CPD) over Jussie Smollett, a Black man who has been courageously present, visible, and vocal in the struggle for Black freedom. While policing at-large is an irredeemable institution, CPD is notorious for its long and deep history of corruption, racism, and brutality,” she wrote.

Two days after that statement was published, Smollett was found guilty of staging a fake hate crime.

The actor had claimed he was attacked by two white men screaming “This is MAGA country” in the middle of the night in freezing weather on the streets of Chicago in 2019. He has actually hired two black men to perpetrate the hoax.

Abdullah called the verdict a “white supremacist charade.”

As The College Fix has previously reported, at a 2017 conference on intersectionality and discrimination, Abdullah said current-day police officers are the “slave catchers” of yesteryear: “You literally have a target on your back. That is what policing was founded on and that is what it evolved out of.”

A year before that, Abdullah referred to Jewish conservative commentator Ben Shapiro as a “neo-KKK member” and “part of the conversation about ‘anti-blackness.’”

In 2022, she said on X that white people should not go to Juneteeth cookouts.

Abdullah’s more recent comments come as academia focuses on the Swift “phenomenon.”

Swift’s ongoing musical tour became the highest-grossing tour of all time and hit $1 billion in revenue as of December 2023. The singer received six nominations at the Grammys this year, announcing a brand new album as she received one of her two awards of the night.

The University of Florida will offer an honors course on Swift’s “evergreen songwriting” this spring semester, led by a professor with a stated interest in promoting “diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Harvard University is also offering a course on Swift’s music titled “Taylor Swift and Her World” during the spring semester.

“We will move through Swift’s own catalogue, including hits, deep cuts, outtakes, re-recordings, considering songwriting as its own art, distinct from poems recited or silently read,” a course description on Harvard’s website reads. “We will learn how to study fan culture, celebrity culture, adolescence, adulthood and appropriation; how to think about white texts, Southern texts, transatlantic texts, and queer subtexts.”

Abdullah is also not the first in academia to blast Swift and her fandom.

In 2022, shortly after Swift released her album “Midnights,” the singer was forced to delete a section of her music video for the song “Anti-Hero” for what some viewed as promotion of fatphobia.

In the music video, Swift is astonished to see a bathroom scale reading “fat,” while a second character, also played by Swift, looks at it reproachfully. Some defended the music video, saying the scene drew attention to the harms of eating disorders suffered mostly by women. Kristin Rodier and Heather McLean, professors at Athabasca University, responded to Swift’s defenders in an article for The Conversation.

“Some have raised concerns that Swift’s removal of the scene from the video watered down her feminist message,” Rodier and McLean wrote. “This suggests that fat becomes a feminist issue only in the context of the harms of eating disorders from a white woman’s perspective, within market-friendly celebrity feminism.”

Northeastern University and the University of South Carolina also announced upcoming courses on Swift’s discography, with Northeastern focusing on “Gender and Storytelling” in her music.

University of South Carolina’s course will focus on Swift’s “agency as a woman,” according to a university spokesperson. The course is titled, “Life is Just a Classroom: Taylor’s Version,” an allusion to lyrics in her song “New Romantics.”

An academic conference put on by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2021 examined the “whiteness” of Swift’s fanbase, referring to listening to her music as a “guilty pleasure” of many.

“In addition to looking at how she engages with gender and age and maturity, some scholars are really engaging with the politics of whiteness and how that plays out in her fandom,” said Kate Galloway, an ethnomusicologist at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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