Friday, January 06, 2006

The Quest For The "Negro Hipster" Continues ...

Not very long ago Gawker did a “Are you a hipster?” quiz. I took the opportunity to inquire about the “negro hipster” (see comments) asking for the more informed to provide examples of such a creature. I was quickly directed to a few candidates.

But the premise of my query still remains. Initially I proposed that perhaps the negro hipster doesn’t exist. Such a term might be redundant since so much of “hipsterdom” is about co-opting "hip" black culture (and I don’t say that with an "angry black militant" agenda, I say it like my boy Norman Mailer did, because it's true. Mr. Kamoji knows what I'm saying.)

Not long after, I noticed Joey at Straight Bangin’ inquiring about the same issue.

And now Byron Crawford has also joined the investigation. Although he’s not as focused on the "negro" part.

I recently reached out to Byron since I was feeling a little out of touch with my hip hop contingency. And so I'll use his story as my launching pad...

In covering the fashion, music, and party aspects the most critical element to being a hipster is overlooked. Unlike being a black person, being a hipster is a state of mind. And so the hipster keyword missing in his breakdown is “meta.” Byron submits irony as the hipster common denominator (HCD), I submit that the irony is more of an affectation. It is the flag for meta. For intelligence.

Byron ironically notes the hipster love for non-racist racism. But hipsters aren’t actually mocking black people (or other minorities). They’re actually mocking people mocking people that mock people mocking black people. Which, I think, still means they’re mocking black people, but over drinks you could get an argument, and there’s no way you could pin them on it.

Byron accurately points out what hipsters think is ironic, or funny. But it’s not really funny. It's meta-funny. It’s ha-ha funny. It’s acknowledge this funny. It’s "smart. " It’s a blogger. It’s the ugly-duckling late-blooming swan. It's Dave Eggers. It’s passive-aggressive. (probably went a few terms to far here)

Hipsters are all about post-modern, post-ironic. They are acutely self-reflexive and self-conscious. They are a byproduct of the information generation. There is no longer any external advantage to be gained if we all have access to the same information/power. So the end result is to look internal. To go meta. This sensibility, more than anything else, may be the distinguishing characteristic for a hipster. It is the essence of the “cool” that fuels the hipster locomotive. And this coolness translates to music, fashion, and partying in many ways, as demonstrated by Byron's great hipster-bingo chart.

(As a related thought, but one too involved to explore in this post, I also see hipsters representing a break from the Christian morality of previous generations, to a more Nietzschean worldview. The hipster sensibility springs from a "will to power" value system, as opposed to a judeo-christian (generally speaking) value system. Hipsters like niche. They like "individual", which is essentially the ultimate niche. This is notwithstanding the fact that "counter-culture" always eventually morphs into "culture" thereby undermining its own agenda. So they turn away from the external crutch of religion and look to themselves. Sort of an ironic self-help generation.)

I find the racial underpinnings evidenced in the hipster sensibility fascinating because I believe they represent progress. Hipsters handle race in a whole different way. A way that would be foreign to any previous generation. Vice, a prime source for hipster gospel, believes race is a dead issue. I think hipsters think the same way. They’re both wrong of course. But to have that adamant belief circulating amongst our young whipper-snappers is indicative of a new era of race relations. In many ways, because of "the hipster" and our new racial epoch, The Assimilated Negro concept is dated (luckily for me, most of us are dated in this regard, so I still have plenty of potential readers who won't write me off for being old-school). Plus since I’m meta enough to acknowledge that deficiency everyone can still appreciate the fruit of my loins. I mean the fruit of my toils, err labor. You know what I mean.

Now what I was talking about. Oh right, me. Oh wait, no, hipsters.

Hipsters are our first graduates from the school of racial equality (SORE). They are our first look at a new generation. Of course they have gook on their heads, look a little underdeveloped, and generally make you say ewww (which, by the way, is the new "make you say hmmm"). They have issues. But the thing is none of those issues are race issues. You think Blackface Jesus is a product of "old-school Jim Crow" sensibility, or is he a product of "I could give a fuck about this race shit" sensibility. I'm guessing the latter. And if I'm wrong I guess I'll kick his ass later.

So I guess, even though I'm no hipster, I'm down with hipsters. I think it's the artist in me. Because while the fashion and music may be ephemeral, I think the sensibility, the "mind of a hipster" is here to stay. And I'm saying that, like, totally unironically. Seriously. No meta-irony here at all.

Seriously. Stop looking for meta. It's over.


  1. wow TAN. you broke out a whopper.

    I agree we're in a new era. race politics doesn't play the same way. as you mention its wrong to think race is a "dead issue", but its different now.

    i like your take though. I might look into that norman mailer "white negro" essay. so funny the beats were called hipsters back in the days.

  2. Anonymous1/06/2006

    i think you might still have to kick blackface jesus's ass.

    racist or not, he obviously needs a good ass-kicking.

  3. Lucifer1/06/2006

    I've met a few hipsters in my time, and in my personal experience most of them don't give one flying shit about racial equallity, or a new era of peoples where race is no longer a major issue.

    Most of them just use these ideals so they can get drunk, mock The Hip Hop culture, put shoe-polish on their face and claim to be the son of Man. But what they dont realise the socio/political situations of the Black people discussed in music outside that of the rotation of Funkmaster Flex and those tall israelis who rule pretty much every major aspect of the American media (a point raised by Mos Def and Byron Crawford alike, except the Jesus part).

    These Hipster are not a statment against racism...they are displaying the same ignorance but in a way that would warrent a far more vicious ass-whooping than your average Redneck cracka would ever diserve.

  4. Black hipsters,...,

    Suffice it to say that black male hipsters might be rare, but black female hipsters,...,

    I had an unsuccesful date with one in '03

    I saw a gorgeous one selling CD's at the invite them up CD release party at the Bowery

    At the Urban Outfitters in Nassau, virtually the whole staff is black hipster women.

    No, this is not some trap to lure you into the Roosevelt Field mall, assimilated, though you are welcome to eat the milk and cookies I left for you near the books at Urban Outfitters.

    BTW, I saw Blackface Jesus's MySpace page -- I'm honestly more offended by his pretentiousness than anything else.

  5. I know a black guy who is a hipster but I am not sure if this makes him a negro hipster or not. Frankly I am confused, but I can't believe you left out the lame hair dos. Doesn't stealing styles from the Jennifer Aniston early 90's Friends do count for something?

  6. Anonymous1/06/2006

    hipsters are getting WAY too much airtime, like that video ho SuperHead.

    William Safire will be begging for pennies after he reads your piece.

    I personally tried to reach a point of Negro-hipsterism by selling tee shirts designed to end the oversized white tee shirt craze.

    Unfortuantely, the meta-irony only works when used by privileged folks.

  7. I think hipsters have blinders on, metaphorically speaking of course. That is until Jack White or some such Hipster North Star actually dons a pair of blinders in a video or something.

  8. I think hipsters are the biggest hypocrites in the world. They act like they are anti-everything, yet all of them act and dress a like. What is so individual and unique about that? I mean put on a pair of Clark Kent glasses, a sweater with red and black horizontal stripes get a mod hair cut and talk in a Kurt Cobain tone, and voila you have a hipster. All of them claim to be artists and sophisticants, when really the only reason they are able to walk around acting like a struggling artist, photographer, writer, or whatever is because they come from a wealthy family. 99% of hipsters come from the Upper Middle Class to Upper Class families. Half of these dudes aren’t talented, they’re just well read motherfuckers that like to party and use their intellect to make fun of others. Hey I like to read and go to indie rock concerts too, but I live in the real world where you have to actually get a fucking job to take care of yourself. Fucking Hipsters! In regards to black face Jesus, I’d love to see him dropped in the middle of a taping of comic view. I think that would result in an instant ass whoopin. Racist or not, black folks don’t take kindly to rich hipster white dudes in black face. And then he throws the Jesus thing on top of it. That’s like stealing a black mans shrimps off of his BBQ grill. Nice blog though brotha…

  9. blah blah blah, is anyone going to shank someone or what, I've got a chair and Im waiting to throw the motherfucker into the crowd, you know how negros roll!

    What no, well fuck this I'm going to go shop at Abercrombie and fitch. They know how to treat blacks right!

    Friday 8:42 and fckd up!

  10. Anonymous1/06/2006

    As Big Youth said, "Every Nigger Is A Star". And if you're a star, then you're automatically a hipster. Let's face it, most black people have more style, listen to better music, and don't sugarcoat the world's problems.

    But aside from that, I should point out that what people call a "hipster" is usually just a white person with a funky haircut. It's easy to look funky on the outside.

    _skwidawd man eric

  11. Good post TAN.

    This is really a very nuanced issue with a long history. I love that all your commenters are ignoring anything you had to say on it and continuing with the same knee-jerk generalizing about "the other" that they're ascribing to "hipsters".

    I don't know how much I'll go off here because hipsters and the joys and perils of anti-hipsterism will probably be a topic for some upcoming blog posts of mine. A funny thing to contemplate is that nobody hates hipsters more than hipsters themselves. So the next time you think about how much you all hate hipsters take a look in the mirror. The replicant may be you!

    By the way I maintain that the old idea of a hipster is not fully detatched from the new one. Yes that self-loathing hipster Norman Mailer did pan his brethren. And I've been using and hearing the word since I was a kid in the 80s. There have been related variants too like "art fag", alternateen, etc but "hipsters" specifically focuses on those who exchange the commodity of Cool. And yes it is about a taste for the meta or for the avant garde.

    It is not a new idea to want to stand outside of both culture and counterculture alike as there was backlash against the mass acceptance of other popular countercultures too. Those who would feel isolated from both the square and the hippie, both punk and disco, both pop music and alternative. I think the dank cave of the internet more than anything else has fostered the growth of hipsters and ironically turned it into an easily identifiable culture ripe for mocking like former beats or goths. But I tend to agree with you on the notion you stated that smart hipsters (and all real hipsters should be smart - if they're idiots they're just posers) have enough meta-awareness to know that countercultures always fail when they become the culture and if there is a real hip culture it is a moving target (maybe like the temporary autonomous zone of hakim bey's writing which is said to only exist in brief pockets).

    The old motto of cool-seekers may have been that by the time it's being reported on and analyzed it should be old news and you should be on to the new thing. For hipsters it's already old news and lame the first time you do it! I think that is simultaneously a pathetic and hilariously clever response to the instant blandification of anything that was ever cool.

    Blogs recently have been giving the distorted idea that *most* people who can be classified as hipsters spend all their time mocking other races through the false front of mocking racism at extremely odd parties. This is an absurd generalization. Some people who live in NY, listen to indie rock and enjoy shabby chic attire or irony are also racially sensitive. Some are not. People are not quite so easily grouped by what music they listen to or what they look like. You would think hip hop fans would be aware of that.

    Now, on to the topic of the negro hipster. It's absurd and speaks of a certain racist mindset to truly believe that all black people are automatically hip. This is like a jimmy-the-greek-ism. Yes there sure could be negro hipsters or hipsters of any race. First of all the word hipster itself is fluid as seen by its mutations over the decades and depending on whom you are speaking to. I know of some personally that I would say match the definition of hipster that you've been talking about: a predilection for certain kinds of obscure music, for cerebral conversation and aesthetic taste being the arbiter of cool. Apparently none of you spent any time at artsy fartsy schools in the New York area. Hipsters come in all races, shapes and sizes.

    Another way to think about negro hipsters might be those who due to their pursuit of what they individually believe to be cool have alienated themselves from black mainstream tastes. Wasn't Jimi Hendrix a hipster? Fab 5 Freddy dressed bizarrely hung out with art fags on the lower east side and changed the course of pop culture with a post-modern idea. He was a black hipster with vision! And it was an open-minded group of new wave kids who embraced hiphop reaching out from the bronx at many a coke-fueled Manhattan party. Hip-hop and the hipster were already tied together in the early 80s when hiphop shows ventured out of black neighborhoods and hip white journalists, documentarians and gallery owners began coming into the ghetto to photograph and record these exciting kids. I maintain that both the sense of exploitation and fascination wasn't just a one way street.

  12. The irony is that the very goal of being "hip" is to be culturally attuned to the point that everything you do will be seen as cool by the masses, but it requires that you basically look like, talk like and act like everybody else in your posse. A hipster is not the same as a trend-setter. Truthfully, there aren't many true trend-setters, so the majority of your hipsters are really copycats. How else would you explain the number of young black men that spend $10K on "spinner" rims for their $15K car and $200+ on Nike shoes while they whine about the poverty back in the hood. A real trend setter and hipster (in my humble opinion) would be one who starts a craze that allows one to wear normal priced clothes, drive normally equipped cars and be REAL COOL when they take the money they save and help themselves or their families get educated and out of poverty. Sorry, but hip-hop is a cancer in our country that sadly only strikes the young.

  13. king,

    get your stereotypes right. hipsters spend their money on awesome (or awesomely bad) vintage clothing and the only spinning rims they know might be when they experiment with bisexuality.

    those scary thugs who are tragically/fantastically using hiphop and crackulators to fund their pimped rides (did you ask to check his portfolio? maybe that black boy was legit and from scarsdale?) have nothing to do with this conversation.

  14. TAN, is this what you'll be writing your sociology Ph.D. thesis on?

  15. I don't know what a hipster is. Perhaps that makes me so uncool I'm cool?
    Ok then. I'll just be me.

  16. Dude. Hipsters are the Wiggers that race produced.

    My folks Donnell Alexander came with the clean analysis of the issue is article/essay,

    "Are Black People cooler than White People"

    I'm cool like this:

    I read fashion magazines like they're warning labels telling me what not to do.
    When I was a kid, Arthur Fonzarelli seemed a garden-variety dork.
    I got my own speed limit.
    I come when I want to.
    I maintain like an ice cube in the remote part of the freezer.
    Cooler than a polar bear's toenails.
    Cooler than the other side of the pillow.
    Cool like me.
    Know this while understanding that I am in essence a humble guy.

    I'm the kinda nigga who's so cool that my neighbor bursts into hysterical tears whenever I ring her doorbell after dark. She is a new immigrant who has chosen to live with her two roomates in our majority-black Los Angeles neighborhood so that, I'm told, she can "learn about all American cultures." But her real experience of us is limited to the space between her Honda and her front gate.....

    How in the hell did you go from hipsters to negros w/ spinners.
    F*ckin' bait and switch ass argument.

    "How else would you explain the number of young black men that spend $10K on "spinner" rims for their $15K car and $200+ on Nike shoes while they whine about the poverty back in the hood."

    You are just AS racist as the aformentioned hipsters.
    Systematic problems DESERVE systematic solutions not some flimsey as argument about we need stop buying rims and uplift the community. Don't come w/ al that ying-yang about nuccas in the hood and what they spend their cash on.

  17. okay, I had to read that two times to digest all of that......Anyways I hear you model minority, I hear you.

  18. I know a negro hipster! He's a photographer and i'm not advertising but you can find him and his work at

  19. Anonymous1/07/2006

    Rafi... I guess I should have explained myself a little better. I'm not saying all black people wear nice clothes and sing and dance. Now THAT would be a racist statement. I'm not saying culture is a product of genetics. That would also be racist.

    What I'm saying is two things

    1. Black people have a disproportionate influence on American culture.

    2. Black people have an authenticity that comes from a shared history.

    Now, I'm not saying I personally think Black people are cooler or more hip than white people. What I'm saying is that, in the context of American culture, Black people are more likely to be perceived as hip or authentic. Yes, there is an element of racism in that, but also an element of truth.


  20. Anonymous1/07/2006

    the charge for 20. this is the hump comment.

    hipsters rule!!!

  21. I believe the "black geek" is the equivalent to the "hipster" tag given to white people. Both are loaded terms just waiting to be lampooned, as they both have been. I think people should just be and stop giving themselves these stupid catchphrases.

  22. hmm...I have been referred to as a black geek...among other things....I never thought of myself as a not a hipster...

  23. Anonymous1/09/2006

    white hipster = black geek

    i guess my little dissertation was unecessary. thanks for pointing that out.


  24. i don't buy the hipster 'race is dead' creed- how are a buncha whiteys gonna tell me when something is a non-issue?

  25. ^ By the way Morgan Freeman said something pretty similar on 60 Minutes a few weeks ago. That the way to overcome race issues is to stop talking about them. That hipster!

    There's a whole lot of generalizing and bad definitions going on in this conversation - not just at this blog but at all the blogs and forums covering this topic. I'm finding it to be a pretty frustrating topic as a result.

  26. Anonymous1/09/2006

    There does seem to be an element of tongue-in-cheek here.

    To an extent I agree about "bad defnitions". Labels and stereotypes are just that: bad definitions. But labels and stereotypes are a reality. We could stop talking about them, but that wouldn't unexist them.

    The main thing is to simply remember that the labels and stereotypes are merely references. They are continually flipped and redefined. Either you are in on that process, or you are an observer.

    But, agreed, it is kinda frustrating that it must come to this.


  27. Rafi & Model Minority-
    I think we all learned something...

    1. I don't know the difference between a "negro with spinners" and a hipster. But hey, that is why I love blogs. I learn shit from people I would normally never meet.

    2. You guys should realize that I am a typical Midwest white guy and unless taught otherwise we lump "you all" in the same category. Maybe hipster and hip-hop sound too much alike. Not saying that to be negative or racist... just sharing what I would guess to be a normal stereotype in white Middle America. Is Puffy/P-Diddy/??? a hipster, a hip-hop guy or both? I am still confused...

    Thanks for teaching me something.

  28. You’re cordially invited to visit yet another blog. All the best.

  29. Tubbs definetly bought me on I


  30. You guys should realize that I am a typical Midwest white guy and unless taught otherwise we lump "you all" in the same category.

    King, that type of thinking is inherently racist--teach yourself a little something about the black community before you go spouting off with your supposed 'solutions.' It's not black people's job to educate white people.

  31. Anonymous1/10/2006

    ^^ kind of a weird comment coming from a white person. i've heard this argument many times. it's like a black person saying "your racism is not my problem." i figure we have a mutual responsibility to educated each other.

    Personally -- and speaking as a white person -- I would rather get a black person's take on the state of race relations, because then it becomes a mutual process and I get (presumably) a different perspective.

    And it is the job of some black people to educate white people. It's called school.


  32. Alizinha-
    Your moral superiortiy is so refreshing... maybe I will just say fuck it and go join the klan now instead of trying to learn something. Maybe I will go ask my other honky friends 'bout black people instead of surfing TAN's cool blog.
    On a serious note... no one has answered my question... is Puffy/Diddy/whatever a hipster, gangster or both?

  33. king - originally you say hipster or hip hop guy. then you use gangster. hip hop and gangster are not synonymous. but diddy is definitely a hip hop guy, not a hipster. i don't think there are any guys his age who are hipsters. he predates the contemporary hipster.

  34. "Thanks for teaching me something."

    Again, King, condescending. Unintentionally, perhaps????

    One of the benefits of being NOT Black is that you can:
    a. act like race NOT your problem.
    b. Thank people on blogs for teaching you about race.
    c.Go on blogs to learn about racial politics.

    I tend to look for the good in people. So I will give you the b.o.d (benifit of the doubt in negro speak). You will be better served by listing your "white guy from the midwest disclaimer" at the begining of all your racial postings. You know, to clear up any misunderstandings.

  35. Anonymous1/11/2006

    Most people would not regard Puffy as a hipster. I guess there is a certain element of taking chances. Being stylish and hip are not always synonymous. But again, I think there is a racial double-standard. In some ways, an XXXXL white tee is not much different than an XXS Penguin golf shirt. I think one of the dynamics here is that white people are a lot more conservative when it comes to adopting new fashion trends. It's true that a lot of white people ape black/latino/asian fasions, but I notice (here in SoCal) that the people referred to as hipsters are the ones NOT aping black/latino/asian fashions. hmm. I'm not sure if it should be thought of as post-racial, because it seems (much like punk boys wearing girls jeans) that it is a reaction to the baggy clothes thing (which is obviously associated with non-whites).

    I would say a better case study is Kanye. If kanye grew a beard, he would be a hipster no doubt (a sporty hipster, but a hipster nonethelesss). I think sometimes a hipster just comes down to hair. Supercuts, $8... you are a hipster.


  36. I guess it is ironic, but I truly hate labels. For instance, my background is in defense and other types of war-making, but I am really a hillbilly from the hollers (aka hollows) of Eastern Kentucky. I am currently finishing my Master's degree in National Strategy. When I talk to people I have recently met about my personal interests (running, coaching wrestling, fishing and my 4x4) I am automatically classified as a "good ol' boy", but once we start talking about my professional work, people look at me with this 'holy shit' look. I guess they expect me to be dumb as a rock. My point is I understand stereotypes too well.

    What I do value though, is good people doing good things for themselves and others. Like MLK said, I like to judge people based on the content of their character and not what they wear, drive, etc. I guess that is my only hang up with a lot of culture these days... That was the point of my first posting, but it doesn't excuse my obvious ignorance on the definition of a hipster. That is the last I will say on this, but I have enjoyed the discussion.


  37. Anonymous1/16/2006

    Where do you hang out? Go to the NYU area. 50% of the black girls you see are stereotypical strong angry black women, the other 50% are hipsters. About 99% of the black guys are hipsters. Whether being black and hipsters makes 'em negro hipsters or not, I don't know.

  38. Anonymous1/16/2006

    I forgot to add that about 90% of the black male hipsters are very gay indeed.

  39. After reading both this piece and the Byron Crawford piece and the 38 comments for this piece (but not all 52 comments for Byron's piece), I began to experience a state of disequilibrium and had to take a short nap to recover.

    I'm still not exactly sure what a hipster is, living out here in the boondocks of a very red state, but I'm pretty sure I'm not a hipster.

    It seems like an awful lot of work. I mean, I'm not opposed to irony, and I use a bit of it from time to time myself. But to live in a continual state of irony seems to be a lot of effort expended to not very clearly defined ends.

    And to say that nothing matters and that therefore everything should be treated ironically strikes me as simple nihilism. Maybe I'm just not really grasping the whole hipster thing.

    But the notion that the answer to the questions of race in our culture is simply to strike some sort of ironic pose looks to me like a dodge.

    Maybe it's progress. Maybe I'm wrong. But my own sense is that it is a form of denial. It may be healthier on the interpersonal level than some of the alternatives, but it completely ignores those aspects which are not interpersonal in nature. It refuses the existence of any big picture.

    The simple mouthing of politically correct stuff isn't an answer. But the simple rejection of the conversation isn't, either.

    It just doesn't strike me as being all that simple.

    As to Blackface Jesus himself, his schtick seems to suggest naivete or imbalance. The pictures suggest a Marilyn Manson-like cynicism (playing for shock value), but the posts on his blog seem to suggest a kid who likes the attention but has a bit of a martyr streak and one or two messianic delusions.

    And the extensive pixel time Gawker gives him seems to suggest a certain freak-show opportunism on their part.

    Why all this is considered "hip" I can't imagine. But perhaps that's because we in the sticks visited the midway last year when the fair came to town, and the bearded lady stuff is kind of old hat in these parts.

  40. er. meta may be dead, but don't tell it to my black hipster boyfriend. or actually, mixed. does that mean he's black? he's got a fro. it's not ironic. but it's hip. is he a negro? outstanding, according to some camps. what about if he wears a shirt that says outstanding negro on the back? is that irony, because it has racially pejorative undertones? is that the white mocking the black? or is that him embracing the irrelevancy or racial labels? perhaps i should bring this to the pillow talk.
    i think that perhaps we're all getting a little too hung up on the labels here. hipster seems to be a self-identifying catagory, whereas hip has lost meaning altogther, depriving individuals looking for that niche, that cult of the ultimate individual, a lexicon with which to describe themselves. they use approximate terms, which then become appropriated by hipsters, further distorting their meaning and rendering them cliched. the concious eschewing of societal norms has created a norm of itself, to which an entire aspirational class has emerged. see: williamsburg late adopters.
    instead of looking for a negro hipster, which seems like a fairly unfortunate cyclical development of white stealing from black culture which then reinterprets it and apes the simulacrum, why not an altogether new definition?
    just saying.

  41. Anonymous1/20/2006

    I think Hipsters are doing exactly what Madison Avenue ad execs want them to do which is being total products of a consumerist mind-set. In this mental economy race is just another empty symbol to be put on like a cheesy Halloween costume and abandoned at the end of the night. The problem is this divorces symbols of race from material history, the literal suffering of real black people at the hands of real white people which has lead to the economic inequality that allows upper middle class brats to run around acting as if nothing they say or do matters. It's really just updated dandyism.

    As for blackface Jesus: I dare him to walk down Fulton Street Mall in that get-up. The fact is he does this performance in settings where real blackness and real Christianity have no meaning. Hipsters have no emotional connection to blackness or the figure of Jesus.

    I used to be very ironic and all that stuff. I was a very empty person. I really had no heart and was very self-centered so I therefore had no respect for other people and their symbols and stories. Even when I dubbed things "awesome" (ironically) I was still placing myself above them: I was outside of everything, apart. It's actually a pretty sad place to be. Unable to connect on a sincere level with anyone outside of your hipster logic (which is a majority of the world). It's childish, self-absorbed mindset that's actually pretty aggressive in it's inability to connect with real people for whom life isn't an empty stream of pop-culture references.

  42. Brilliant essay TAN. As a homosexual male, I frequently enjoy calling my friends of any race "nigger," as well as making fun of the Jews. I have nothing against either group. Now I know why I do the things I do. I used to think it was internalized rage-based homophobia. Thank you for figuring this out for me; I'm too busy wondering what to wear and worrying about what people will think about my outfit to figure out the big questions. Or at least that's my aging hipster-aesthetic stance. big kiss, DVV

  43. I'm late to the party on this one, but I really like this post. Whoever said hipsters are buying into Madison Avenue, I agree with him/her. And I don't think they are helping race relations either. They are white middle class kids who go to Hate Whiteys and ridicule black culture at the drop of a hat.

    For the record, I'm a biracial girl who listens to some indie rock, but I don't buy into the hipster bullshit.

  44. Anonymous6/01/2006

    I use the term "hippie" being the son of hipsters. Then again as an adult maybe hipster is more appropriate.My credential as a person of Hip are solid, Just look at the time it took me to post this.

    Being A Deadhead boosters my case. BTW I know of two community were race is dead (or a least very very ill). Among Deadheads, you may think they're being patronizing when they call you "Bro" or "Brother" until you
    realize that's what they call everyone. They other is left to the reading as an exercise.

  45. Anonymous9/20/2006

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  46. ANDRE 3000. That is all.

  47. Anonymous2/08/2007

    Racism is not dead it just becomes more of a side issue based on your where you are economically. This does depend on what part of the country you live in though. Of course this theory only holds until you get into some trouble. At that point get ready to fight twice as hard.I guess all Black people should really treat racism as x it is a given, figure it into your equation. Black Hipsters oh yes they exist. Common,Andre 3000,PM Dawn,Lenny,Mos Def,Hendrix,Kelis,Badu,Corrine Lynn Bailey,John Legend,etc. Its not about veering off the expected path but the willingness to travel down other roads, pick up what you like and incorporate it into your life.

  48. MAN! You are one assimilated motherfucka!

  49. What a mouthful.

    In the words of Mark Stewart, as a black man, "We can show you how cool looks; we cannot show you how it feels." The history of hip is one that co-opts black culture--the fascinating, trendy otherness of it. Plus being a hipster, intentionally, is about creating an outstanding persona for yourself when you feel that the one you come by naturally gets overlooked.

    Somehow, I find this notion counter- to being black at all. As a black man, we already exist stood out from the majority--there's no need to create an additional outward persona for attention. This is why you rarely see a black Goth running around town, (save, perhaps, for Wesley Snipes as Blade, but he's a black vampire, like Count Chocula).

  50. For the White Negro, the REAL Negro symbolically exposes the sterility and hypocrisy of White liberal Christian culture. Negritude is the essential element in his project for "re-authenticity". However the tragedy comes when the young fresh faced surburbanite confronts the savagery of his urban ghetto neighbors and longs for the socialization that he/she left behind in the 'burbs as he lays on the pavement beaten and bloodied for the $20 in his wallet.

  51. Anonymous2/25/2008

    Negro're speaking to someone who's been so accused...

    But I don't understand how being a hipster has anything to do with black culture...

    From what I know being a Hipster is dressing in vintage, referring to oneself as an artist and connoisseur of art and sophistication, and being indie in everything you watch and listen to. So I don't follow the "co-opting black culture" bit...

  52. Anonymous4/08/2008

    Most of the people commenting have got this really twisting around. Being A hipster is not about materialism or consumerism and is definetely not about mocking race or pretending it doesnt exist. For a detailed explanation check here

  53. This issue of slavery is a simple one if understood. Slavery is about the control of Negro women and her children, by relabeling her, the U.S. has made invisible, and removed from memory of humanity, her existence in the world. Because of this horrific, experience, her children, and future generations have lost her gift to them (heritage inheritance) of lands belonging to the continent of America (formerly known as the Americas) Because she was captured and brutalized by Europeans, she has lost her husband, she has lost her ability to create for her race, resulting in loss of industry for her people. By reclassifying her as African-American, every person of color, coming into the U.S. is wrongly assumed to be a Negro, and are partaking in the so-called civil rights without responsibility, that were allegedly hers in the first place. The one drop of black blood theory has caused irreparable damage in so-called Negro communities by causing her to absorb other races children into her communities, resulting in further loss of economy, and industry and human rights. However, this is a very basic explanation. The so-called Negro woman is the original woman of North-America. Pres. Clinton apologized to so-called African women for slavery, while this was commendable, we are not Africans, we are the races of American Indians.(Negro Indians) To date no one has apologized to the American Negro Woman for anything! Accept it or reject it, nevertheless it is true. Negro-American men have got to stop making babies with white women. It makes us weaker and them stronger. The American Negro now known as blacks, black-Americans, African-Americans, people of color, coloreds, colored people, non-white races, and any other label or brand, has got to learn how to support and protect their women, for without our women their is no more us.

  54. Fantastic post. Thanks very much.

  55. Anonymous10/29/2009

    Read this? It's old, but:


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