The lynching of gentle soul Paula Deen has had a chilling effect on other American racists. How are they to exercise their right to free speech when there are such consequences? Your average racist could not be blamed for simply packing it in.
But Julia Chaplin is not your average racist. Her bigotry is sophisticated and subtle, as demonstrated by a recent feature in Santa Barbara Magazine. The “style” she promotes involves some egregious cultural appropriation, particularly against Indigenous American peoples, and her books are boldly titled with the portmanteau “gypset”, the combination of “jet-set” and a racial slur used against the Romani people. But none of this is mentioned in the interview; Chaplin and “her band of friends, artists, musicians, and otherworldly vivants” are described as “a disheveled, chic, colorfully elegant tribe that turns heads”.
How did Julia Chaplin get away with this sort of behavior in our politically-correct dystopia? We sat down with her (we did not) and asked her how to be racist after Paula Deen.
CAT: First off, congratulations.
JC: Thank you! In a time when you can get in trouble for using stock photography instead of finding a single image of a feminist of color, I feel like I’ve really beat the odds here.
CAT: How do you think you got away with perpetuating racist stereotypes against multiple groups with very little protest? During my exhaustive research I found only one Tumblr chain letter and a one-star review on Amazon of your book Gypset Style.
JC: There are a few things I did that Paula Deen failed to do. First, the groups I went after are even more marginalized than the Black community is. Racism directed at Indigenous and Romani peoples remains acceptable in a way anti-Black racism isn’t. Remember that just recently a music festival was hosted in your own backyard that engaged in blatant appropriation of various Indigenous cultures, and another local magazine devoted half an issue to playing on the racist trope of “gypsy magic.”.
CAT: Good points. And there’s probably something to be said for committing some appropriation against different groups, rather than going all-in on one.
JC: Exactly, you want to diffuse the response. There’s no one group that I’ve single-mindedly victimized; that was the mistake of Lucidity Festival.
CAT: So the lessons are to choose multiple groups that remain incredibly vulnerable and spread the damage around.
CAT: Well, this has been very enlightening. Thank you so much for your time.
JC: It’s been a pleasure.