Like many Disney artists before her, Miley Cyrus is rebelling. She cut her hair. She’s dressing provocatively. She’s dancing in a lewd and suggestive way. She’s simulating touching herself with foam hands onstage and putting her face in a backup dancer’s posterior.

When black women misbehave, our bad behavior is viewed as indicative of an entire race problem. Conversely, Miley’s mishaps are not being attributed to her whiteness. Her wayward acts are black people’s fault, too.

Because she made a poor attempt at twerking and had voluptuous black female bodies on display onstage, somehow her outrageous performance is being linked to our culture.

Be clear: Miley’s offensive caricature of a dance that originated among some black women is in no way representative of the black experience.

Her lascivious moves on a married man and her racy costume are a reflection of her, not us.

Too often, white people behaving badly is attributed to black influence. Sharon Osbourne tried to blame black culture for Justin Bieber’s mistakes. “I think he doesn’t realize he’s white and not black, that’s a huge problem,” she said.

Miley has received so many messages about trying to “act black,” she responded on Twitter saying “I know what color I am. You can stop with the reminders.”

Since when did black become synonymous for misbehavior or in-your-face sexuality?

Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber are two white teenagers, making cringeworthy mistakes in the public eye. Let them own their mishaps. Don’t blame them on us.

-Erica Haynes

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