Last week we saw a lot of discussion around victimhood, and the legitimacy of a person’s victimization. Of course, Hollywood was involved so there were a lot of blurred lines, qualified statements and unqualified opinions. In the end for a lot of people, this writer included, the aggrieved and wronged party emerged not as a pure-victim, but a quasi-antagonist. And for some – and here I depart with them – the media conglomeration that insulted actually became the victim. Aint that some shit?
But we off that now. Because lest we ever forget who reigns as undisputed champions of false victimhood, we have two new entries to remind us that nobody but nobody is more wronged, more persecuted, more maligned, misunderstood – and generally subject to all manner of undue aggression than the hapless, put upon, white male.
In recent headlines we find Questlove, the de facto media-friendly face of hip-hop band “The Roots,” being sued by two white, now-former employees of the The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, where Questlove is employed as part of the house band.
The two men allege that they were the recipients of an “unsolicited racist text” from a former stagehand. The text was also sent to Mark Kelly (who is Black) of the Roots – and the two dutiful former-camera operators, presumably acting in good faith, promptly told NBC executives about it “in an attempt to distance themselves from the vile text for fear it would be associated with them”. The men then allege that “Questlove somehow got wind of it, and demanded they be fired” and NBC capitulated.
Uh huh. Ok.
If you’ve ever been, or been involved with, an aint-shit person you know the “oh-shit-I-didn’t-mean-to-send-you-this-text” text. You know what the sloppy clean-up efforts look like. You can smell the stink of this all over these guys story.
“Um, dude, did he send that to Marc with a C or Mark with a K?”
“Mark with a K. That’s white Mark, right?”
“Uhhh…no dude. White Marc is Marc with a C”
“What? How does that even make sense, I mean it’s gotta be short for D’Marcus or something. Black names are so…”
“Dude, we gotta fix this shit! The n*gger from the Roots just got a fucking racist text with our names on it!”
“Relax, bro. We’re white! All we need to do is ask to speak to the execs and tell them we had nothing to do with it.”
“Should we say anything to Mark? Apologize maybe?”
“Nah, fuck that. Let’s just cover our ass.”
But to clarify; we are to understand that these, completely innocent, not-at-all-racist, white guys, were just minding their open-minded, color-blind business, when out of no where, they were assaulted by a text with racist content. The two of them together then decided they had a duty to notify NBC brass. But they were unjustly terminated when a Black employee of major show, on a multi-billion dollar network, forced the network to fired them.
And to further clarify, Questlove wasn’t a recipient of the email. Questlove is not Jimmy Fallon. Questlove isn’t even Tariq/Black Thought. Questlove is simply Questlove. But on the strength of that he, and he alone, “got them fired”.
Questlove has since patently denied this, and NBC has released a statement taking full responsibility but the sick thing about the situation is that they even had to. The galling but not at all shocking part is that there are people sympathetic to this claim. TMZ who apparently broke the story, made a point to open end their first round of coverage by saying: “Questlove demanded NBC fire two white camera guys on the ‘Tonight Show’ over a racist group text they never asked to be a part of …” (emphasis mine) and close it with: “The Roots band member who also received the texts did not get punished.”
This trick of language is clearly agenda setting. A transparent effort to paint the cameramen as sympathetic – ‘they never asked to be on the receiving end of this racism!’ – while somehow vilifying the Black man who spends every waking day of his life being on the receiving end of racism he never asked to be a part of.
This is what we call throwing a rock and hiding your hands. The real story is this: two white men got sloppy doing some racist-ass shit, they got caught, they got punished, and their privilege can’t handle it so they want to cry “racial discrimination” because a Black man – whose suffering they now want to align themselves with – was not fired for participating in a racist conversation. They want to stretch their privilege to make Questlove a villain for not wanting to work in a racist environment. And they want sympathy for being treated unfairly.
So in their minds the only way this scenario would have been fair would be if the Black man who received the racist missive had also been terminated in addition to suffering he indignity of being exposed to racism in his workplace. Had that been the case, there’d be no racial discrimination involved when Questlove pressured NBC to fire them. That’s their idea of justice. But they’ll settle for $1MM. Each.
And shit like this is why anyone playing the victim rankles us so. Because we are used to real victims suffering unjustly and people with privilege and power doing dirt and crying foul. We can keep arguing about whether we see shades and shadows of this behavior among our own, but no one on the planet plays victim better than white people. Because white people know they are protected by a system that prioritizes white feelings over Black suffering.
This syestem is the reason is why calling Donald Trump a racist is a bigger problem than his BEING a racist – it hurts his feelings. It’s why murderous white cops are rarely indicted – they fear for their safety. And its how they can see their way to beat an innocent man and then charge him for the offense of bleeding on them, that’s stress inducing.
And in many ways this suit is just that. These two men want to commit acts of social and rhetorical violence and then express outrage when the victim has the temerity to bleed. Then they’ll find somewhere else to displace the blame. The sheer gall it takes to even file a suit like this is astounding and yet it’s not at all uncommon.
In 2011, A white supervisor received and forwarded a racist email with the subject line: “Why There Are No Black NASCAR Drivers” with his company email. He was fired. But then he filed (and won!) a case alleging discrimination because Black employees were sending an email called “How to Dance Like a White Guy” with the same system, but were only suspended short term. The court found that the case was valid on the grounds that both contained derogatory terms and stereotypical characterizations. Nevermind the disparity of their positions, the dynamics of power or the disparities in the emails contents (‘all Black men are violent gangsters‘ vs ‘white men dance funny‘), he was clearly a victim.
Just this week Republican congressman Patrick Meehan explained how his sexual harassment of his aide, and his aggression toward her when she spurned his advances wasn’t really his fault – see ObamaCare had him so stressed, and she just misunderstood and then overreacted. He was the victim here; sure, he used taxpayer dollars to settle the misconduct case agains him – while he was a sitting member of the House Ethics Committee. But who can blame him? Where is the victim aide fund when high-powered congress people are left to deal with the scurrilous rumors of the overly-sensitive? Damn that Obama.
So in the wake of Black actresses demanding fair pay and decent promotion of their work, and Black musicians asking for a workplace free of racism, and Black bodies being laid waste by bullets fired from alleged “protectors” who “fear for their lives,” lets not forget the REAL victims. The beleaguered white men (and women – we aint forgot y’al 53% asses). They need our attention now. So be sure to pay very close attention.