Taylor, I Love You. Please Denounce White Supremacy

Sometimes it feels like Taylor Swift is my oldest friend. I remember “Teardrops on My Guitar” playing on Disney Channel, I remember listening to the Speak Now album on repeat in junior high (listening via lyric videos on YouTube, naturally), and I vividly remember the night I listened to “Dear John” over and over, thinking of my former boyfriend. That was the first night the word “abuse” made sense to me.

Taylor’s lyrics taught me the value of my own hurt, that being broken was a fact of life and there is something remarkable about enduring it.

Because of that, I’ve felt a bizarre, and at times unjustifiable, need to defend Taylor. When she had her unfortunate Twitter beef with Nicki Minaj, I dismissed it as a misunderstanding between two powerful feminists. I tried to convince myself there was no racial element.

I will be shouting with my last dying breath that some of the public vilification of Taylor is completely unwarranted. When people claimed her Shake It Off music video appropriated black culture and dance, I emphatically rolled my eyes. The point of the video was Taylor imitating styles of dance (clearly doing them poorly because she's an individual who needs to...shake it off...you get it.) The interpretation of the video I took was that she, if anything, was treating hip-hop dance on the same level as other forms, like ballet and modern dance.

The lens through which I viewed Taylor has steadfastly been that she is a celebration of girlhood, that Taylor stands for the vulnerability of young girls. So when I heard that she was suing a blogger who asked that she denounce white supremacy, it honestly wounded me. Taylor has been so synonymous with my conception of my femininity and how I hold myself, and hearing that my idol, the end-all-be-all of womanhood, had done this was really heartbreaking.

And so, Taylor, I say: just denounce white supremacy, goddammit. Tell us you did not vote for Donald Trump. Say you are not a white supremacist. That’s all I want.

The act of suing a blogger who said you were, in fact, a Neo-Nazi, rather than just saying “What? No, obviously I'm not a Neo-Nazi oh my goodness” is fucking ridiculous, Taylor.

Just say you’re not a white supremacist. Let us know you believe black people are equal. Clarify that you do not advocate white pride.

There is a price to silence. Taylor Swift has adamantly not made herself political, other than her use of feminism as part of her brand (which I love! That’s super cool!). She did not reveal who she intended to vote for, even as she posted on Instagram an encouragement for her fans to vote. She’s stayed quiet on what she believes. That enables white supremacists and alt-right folks to impose their beliefs on her. Which would be tight, if their beliefs were like “Rezone school zones!” or “Change laws pertaining to daylight savings!” or something, but is significantly less cool when they’re advocating for the extermination and genocide of millions of people. When Neo-Nazis already hold up Taylor Swift as an emblem of whiteness in pop culture, have crowned her their “Aryan Goddess” (not kidding), she needs to make it clear that that is not something she stands for, condones, or supports in any way.

In this political time we live in, speaking up, and speaking up loudly and often is crucial. This world needs to be one where people can listen to pop songs about Jake Gyllenhal or Joe Jonas or Harry Styles without worrying about racial violence.

And so Taylor, I reiterate: this is probably my last straw. Make this right. Don’t be a white supremacist for the love of God. In this time in America's history, our actions have historic resonance. You have the power to be remembered as someone who didn't represent hate and genocide.