- Anti-racism activist Saira Rao call TIME’s choice for Person of the Year ‘white nonsense’
- Taylor Swift was selected following her wildly successful Eras Tour, concert film and release of her rerecorded albums
- Rao immediately faced backlash for her take, criticizing her for thinking Swift could solve geopolitical conflict
Political activist Saira Rao is being criticized for calling TIME’s choice of Taylor Swift for Person of the Year ‘white nonsense’ and claiming the pop star could bring peace to the Middle East with an Instagram post.
Rao is the co-founder of Race To Dinner, an organization that facilitates programs focused on conversations about race, and co-founder of Here4TheKids, a group advocating for banning guns and fossil fuels outright.
‘The white American woman billionaire who could end the genocide of Palestinians with on IG post is TIME Person of The Year,’ Rao said X, formerly known as Twitter.
‘White nonsense, white violence, white love of Black and brown genocide.’
The activist, who criticized the magazine’s selection, co-authored a piece published by TIME last year titled White Woman Must Do More to Confront Racism.
TIME selected Taylor Swift as the 2023 Person of the Year. Political activist Saira Rao criticized the choice as ‘white nonsense’ and said Swift could end conflict in the Middle East with one Instagram post
TIME noted the huge impact the Eras tour had in the nation’s economy, culture and even politics this year, saying of Swift: ‘Carrying an economy on your back is a lot for one person.’
The Bad Blood hitmaker’s tour led to a phenomenon experts called ‘Swiftonomics’ due to its infectious effect on local economies, as fans spend thousands of pounds on hotels, travel, food and drink and costumes in preparation for the event.
A multi-Grammy Award-winning singer, Swift officially became a billionaire this October largely due to the success of her tour and concert film.
Swift ‘achieved a kind of nuclear fusion: shooting art and commerce together to release an energy of historic force,’ TIME said of why they chose her as Person of The Year – a selection predicted by DailyMail.com.
TIME editor in chief Sam Jacobs defended the selection, ‘In a divided world, where too many institutions are failing, Taylor Swift found a way to transcend borders and be a source of light.’
‘No one else on the planet today can move so many people so well.’
In September, Swift got 35,000 fans to register to vote after she encouraged them to ‘raise their voices’ on National Voter Registration Day.
Rao’s Twitter bio contains ‘Ceasefire Now, Free Palestine.’ Following Hama’s October 7 terrorist attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people, Israel launched a brutal offensive that has claimed tens of thousands of lives in Gaza.
In November there was a week-long ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war that allowed for the release of hostages, but Israel relaunched their offensive Friday morning.
Israel claimed that Hamas ‘violated’ the ceasefire early and launched rockets on Israel before its expiration, with footage shared to social media appearing to show attacks on the city of Sderot close to the border with Gaza.
Backlash for Rao’s hot take was immediate. ‘How dare Taylor not solve the Mid East peace process,’ replied one user.
‘Imagine believing a pop singer could end what amounts to hundreds of years of relentless geopolitical conflict,’ said a user named Jake. ‘Why are you like is.’
Others compared the notion of Swift calling for a ceasefire to the controversial Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial that was mocked for being tone-deaf.
Smoldering rubble in the southern Gaza Strip on December 6. Israel relaunched their offensive following a week-long ceasefire with Hamas
A user named Brittany said, ‘Just like when Kendall Jenner ended racism with a Pepsi can.’
‘Saira Rao clearly thinks Taylor Swift is God. She should be more careful what she says about someone so powerful,’ said a user named Adele Scalia.
Even X added a community note providing context to Rao’s post.
‘Historically, conflicts and wars have not ended due to Instagram posts. Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that an Instagram post made by Taylor Swift will end the war in Gaza,’ said the note.