COLUMN: Why I’m not surprised or disappointed by Taylor Swift’s complacency

Taylor Swift made her debut at 15 as the sweet, blonde girl next door who sang about her ex boyfriends. 

Today, Swift has a reputation in her fandom for befriending fans, loving her cats and being all-around “unproblematic.”

Swift’s fanbase is one of the largest in the world, and she has undeniable influence with her platform.

That is, until she started allegedly dating Matty Healy, lead singer of The 1975. Healy is known for being racist, going on a podcast and admitting to watching torture porn of Black women and belittling drill rapper Ice Spice, making fun of her looks and hair. 

Fans understandably feel betrayed by Swift’s actions, but my question is, is it really all that surprising?

Non-white Swifties have been calling out Swift for her white feminism for years, as well as her inability to call out the many actual white supremacists in her fan base. 

Swift is currently in Chicago for her “The Eras” tour, bringing in thousands of fans.

The only times Swift was “political” was in 2018, when she endorsed a democratic House candidate for her home state, Tennessee, and again in 2020, when she showed her support for the Biden-Harris campaign.

Swift has yet to say anything about her alleged boyfriend’s racism, and instead, in the midst of controversy, proclaimed on stage that she is the happiest she has ever been at a concert in Foxborough, Mass. on May 20

Recently, Swift has been employing queer people and people of color as love interests in her music videos, as well as hiring non-white backup dancers and singers in her tours.

Swift also recently collaborated with Ice Spice, a move that many found incredibly distasteful since she has yet to say anything about Healy’s comments towards the rapper. Ice Spice is the first woman of color Swift has ever collaborated with. 

It does not matter who you are, but who you choose to surround yourself with says a lot about you. If you willingly date a homophobe, you are homophobic. If you willingly date a racist, you are racist. By surrounding yourself with bigoted people, you indicate to others that this does not impact your moral code enough to distance yourself from someone. 

Don’t get me wrong, Swift is a feminist, but only when it concerns her. She will always call out sexism in the industry, but chooses to remain silent about issues that impact women of color and low-income women. 

Last year, Swift was called out for being the largest private jet polluter in the world, taking 170 flights and producing more emissions in one year than most Americans would in five lifetimes. People of color and Indigenous people are the most impacted group by climate change.

Swift was called out by others in the industry for her more than questionable behavior. The Weeknd, a Black pop singer, called her out for allegedly repeatedly petting his hair and white-splaining his own music to him while she was drunk. 

She was called out for dressing up in colonial African style for her “Wildest Dreams” music video, which was filmed in East Africa but has mostly white actors. Many stated that Swift was living out her colonial fantasies in the music video. 

During the Black Lives Matter protests of summer 2020, Swift tweeted out in support of the movement, but faced backlash for not doing enough with her platform to support the issue. Other than the tweet, Swift has remained silent on the issue, and it is unknown whether she went to any protests or donated any money. 

Calling out Swift will not do anything to solve white feminism as a whole, and it will not impact her career in any way, but it is important to be hyper critical of the people we choose to give a platform to, and hold them accountable for their actions.