The Kardashians Use Their Power to Harm Black Women

We need to talk about pop culture’s self-described first family: the Kardashians. A while ago, we initially wrote a piece about how Kylie Jenner built her brand and business off the backs of Black women, and promptly swore to never write about this group of culture vultures again because we only have so much energy and, frankly, would prefer to prioritize it to more useful ventures.

However, like clockwork, we were compelled to raise our voices again in support with this latest round of dramatic shenanigans: Tristan Thompson cheats on the third Kardashian, the third Kardashian lashes out at Jordyn Woods, a young Black woman over ten years her junior. We get it: infidelity is bad. BUT the vitriol spewed against Woods by the Kardashians and their minions, AND the hatred these white women were all to happy to incite among their fans, is not far from abusive.

It’s shockingly simple: the Kardashians used their influence to abuse a Black woman on social media, and it’s not acceptable.

“What, abuse?! Are you sure?”

Yes, we’re serious.

At least one of the centers of racism and racial violence is the question of power dynamics. Power is all about who gets what. Those in the status quo -- the pinnacle being white heterosexual men -- are blessed with power be it visibility, autonomy, or access to networks, information, and financial resources, while those outside the status quo have to juggle often insurmountable barriers before any of those things can even appear on our horizons. Power is why cruel, racist attitudes and behaviors can exist acceptably: because those in the status quo deemed it “okay.”

Yay, institutionalized racism!

TL; DR: power dynamics are real and it could not be more real in this whole online debacle. The third Kardashian used her power and privilege to publicly shame and incite harassment against Jordyn Woods.

At her recent interview at Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett Smith, Jordyn made it clear how the third Kardashian’s abuse has impacted her. She can’t leave the house. Her sister can’t go to school, a fact that makes us doubly angry because now the Kardashians and their minions have literally built an obstacle in front of a young girl (that has nothing to do with this) that prevents her from receiving an education. Oh, and of course, layer on to all that the barrage of harassment she’s faced online. AND the fact that Jordyn was essentially forced into a position where she had to defend herself, while the third Kardashian gets to make cruel comments and then walk away? These are all functions of power.

And let’s not forget HOW the third Kardashian actually acquired her boyfriend, Tristan, and when. The Kardashians are vilifying a young Black woman who if she had done what they are accusing her of, would only be following their example. The Kardashian’s are notorious for “stealing” their friend's boyfriends and dating each other's exes so this wouldn’t be the first time and the hypocrisy alone should have them sit down and shut up. (See Jordan Craig, The Game, and Tyga.)

✔️ Use their massive networks to shame Jordyn?

✔️ Use their clout to solidify the third Kardashian as innocent and Jordyn as evil?

✔️ Force Jordyn to respond to the situation, while they sit back and relax?

✔️ Publicly accuse people of being homewreckers when they’ve been proven to do the same?

When a person with considerable cultural and financial capital uses their position to “punch down,” that is abuse and it is violence.

And the thing is, it’s not like ANY of this is surprising.

Given the Kardashians’ obsessive need to plagiarize the features and styles of Black women without giving them credit, it only seems natural that when Black women “rebel” against them they would respond with hostility. Take all of the cases where these culture vultures stole from Black women, not only co-opting style as originally “theirs” but inhibiting Black women’s economic opportunity. And in some cases, when Black women fought back, they escalated into legal action or threats.

As in…

Destiny Bleu. Tizita Balemlay.

Or when the a Black woman accused the Kardashians of causing her financial harm, as in...

Blac Chyna.

Or when the Kardashians steal without remorse Back styles and claim them as theirs, as in…

Kylie Jenner “invented” braids.

This. Is. All. About. Disenfranchising. Black. Women. And. Harming. Them. When. They. Are. “Out of Line”.

And it is racist.

So…

The Kardashians use their power to abuse Black women: that is plain enough. And clearly, their standing as a corporate monolith allows them to be terrible, as long (?) as they are making themselves and other’s corporations money.

So…

We’d like to offer a suggestion. Disenfranchise their asses, ignore their brands. Refuse to support companies that allow these culture vultures to stay powerful.

  • Pacsun

  • Topshop

  • Kylie Cosmetics

  • Ulta

  • Nordstrom

  • Becca Cosmetics

Kaitlyn Borysiewicz