“Inventing Anna” and white girl privilege

Like many ,I recently sat through hours of Netflix special Inventing Anna. I found myself laughing , shaking my head and absolutely incredulous at all the poor bastards on screen. But somewhere in the middle of the series, I found myself disgusted by the reporter Vivian looking for a redemption arc with Anna, how she insisted that there must have been some great motivator that spurned this woman’s lies. It is quite obvious that Vivian like every one else in this film was smitten by this blond haired, blue eyed girl with the charming accent and icy wit. When I saw how hard Vivian worked to vindicate Anna, I knew what was at stake, the upholding of white girl imagery by any means necessary. Anna Sorokin was only able to pull of her scheming and double dealing because she was a white woman. Being from Europe ,only increased her appeal to everyone she met. She was able to dupe everyone because it was necessary by those around her to believe her lies, to believe that this cool foreigner was quasi Royal kin , that she was connected to much more than her actual working class roots. She absolutely fit in just on the strength of her aesthetic and accent. It amazed me the level of access this woman was granted just off the strength of her appearance. Anna could never have been Black or Chinese or Indian. She could’ve never been granted access to all these different levels, she would’ve never been allowed to essentially run up tens of thousands of dollars in bills at different hotels. If Anna was Black or Chinese or Indian , there would be no Vivian fighting with her team to find an angle, to fight for her to be innocent, to make it appear that she was a good girl who’d just lost her way.

I posit that Anna couldn’t have pulled off her stunts in Europe. In Europe ,I imagine they would’ve laughed her out the room because social cues and proximity would’ve lain bare her lack of access and connection. But in America, Anna joins the ranks of all the blond haired darlings empowered by a cutthroat society invested in nostalgia and white supremacy. I find it interesting that two of her inner circle were Black women and that too is not by coincidence. Black people have longed been used as props and as seemingly evidence of a white person being able to appear un-problematic, hip and as a distraction for their wickedness. There is also amongst some of us Black people, a rush to uphold and defend “our white people” if they are good to us , if they extend more than the typical, superficial relationship. The Neffe character more than the Kacy displayed that , she was smitten by the life Anna led, took in by the excessive perks of being in Anna’s circle. She played her Mammy role to the fullest even defending Anna to the very end despite almost losing her job and everything she was working towards. The Kacy character also plays Mammy too albeit a lot more savvy than Neffe. She at least wises the hell up earlier but she is taken in as someone who works as this yoga instructor/ motivator for mostly rich white clients. In her case , proximity to Anna was read as being able to get even more money and clients.

I love a good Robin Hood-esque story. Wealth and its’ distribution is so fucking disgusting in this world. The hoarding of materials and numerous social safeguards that ensure access is limited fuels innumerable social inequalities. It will only get worse and it has reached peaks beyond even imagination. Obtaining wealth is so ingrained in the American psyche that to not get to a place of possessing more materials is looked at as a failure in our society. To not “make it”, to not end up with lofty picket fence and yard dreams , to be unable to leave generational wealth are all smears that haunt those without. We don’t word it that way but millions and millions in America are essentially failures because they don’t succeed in a rigged game. Anna Sorokin did what she did because she knew that it was possible. She knew that she could be granted access to out of reach levels of American society off a well read/ practiced facade. I’ll say that it is noteworthy that she wasn’t willing to whore herself to the top. I kept watching and thinking maybe she should sleep and seduce one of these rich men to at least be socially inducted in the scene, maybe marry them and pop out a baby or two. She would’ve been set. But it was a power thing. She wanted to be those men. She wanted to have that same level of control and privilege. The Netflix special and the accompanying pop culture rosters will ensure that Anna Sorokin won’t be a name we’ll ever forget anytime soon. I predict a great future for Anna wherever she ends up , definitely a financially secure one. They’d make her like a Suze Orman figure, a business maven , a “bad girl gone good” story. Vivian reads her well when she calls her out for wanting to be famous. And there is always redemption for white women and girls in this world no matter what they do. God Bless America!

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