We knew that Miley Cyrus’ performance at the VMAs Sunday night was crass and offensive, but was it racist?

Yes, seriously. Jody Rosen of New York Magazine called it a “minstrel show,” accusing Cyrus of “annexing working-class black ‘ratchet’ culture, the potent sexual symbolism of black female bodies, to the cause of her reinvention: her transformation from squeaky-clean Disney-pop poster girl to grown-up hipster-provocateur.”

Hold on, though. The Daily Beast’s Kevin Fallon assures us that while Cyrus’ twerking was ridiculous and tacky, it wasn’t racist. What to make of Martha Plimpton’s analysis, then, that the performance was “blatant racism”?

There’s that M-word again.

Huffington Post blogger Anne Theriault was disgusted not by the performance, but by “white feminists’ silence over Miley’s minstrel show.” Writes Theriault, “I saw barely anyone discussing the fact that Miley’s sexual empowerment, or whatever you want to call it, should not come at the cost of degrading black women” who were used as props.

What if calling Cyrus’ performance racist is racist?

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