All up and down my Facebook news feed I’ve been seeing this video – shared by family members, friends, and colleagues alike; they celebrate it like it’s the newest final answer to the great race question. Joyner Lucas, the rapper responsible for all this buzz is known for thought provoking songs and cinematic visuals and his latest, “I’m Not a Racist” is up to 14 millions views after only 3 days in the wild. I watched the video once – once because that’s all I could stomach – and here’s my best attempt at an objective summary of it:
The video starts with a white man spitting an incendiary rap. He is dressed in a button up and khakis, rocking a MAGA hat. We see later that he is rapping at a black man dressed in baggy clothing with dreadlocs and thug appeal. The men are seated across from one another at a small table. There is visible tension.
The white man angrily raps about his frustration that Black people won’t take responsibility for being massively incarcerated, targeted by police, coming from broken homes and being all-around perpetual victims. This man says that he is not racist, renounces Eminem while saying “nigger” more than a couple of times and asserts that if black people accepted the faults within our community, and changed them, we too could succeed enough to one day – pay taxes.
After the white man finishes his “argument” about why he isn’t racist and even if he was, he has good reason to be, the Black man stands up and gives his perspective. The Black man in the video raps a rebuttal to most of the arguments the white man uses and argues for the humanity of black people in America. At some point, he knocks the white man’s MAGA hat off, turns over a table, and stands firmly in front of the white man. The video ends with the white man getting up and hugging it out with the black man. And presumably all is well with the world because the two parties were able to have a fruitful discussion about racism and how to resolve it.
“I’m Not Racist” directed by Ben Proulx & Joyner Lucas, has garnered a lot of attention and praise from people of across racial and ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, socio-economic statuses, and political affiliations. Black people love it, white people love it, it seems everybody loves it. But videos like this – especially this one – just don’t move me. In fact, it made my eyes roll so far back in my head I could see my brain shrinking as I watched it. And, if we’re really honest about this video instead of being so excited to hug it out with the oppressor, it’s not hard to see why.
There isn’t anything “new” about this concept. White people being righteously indignant and Black people over-explaining our humanity is the bedrock of the systemic racism that rules America. And considering the fact that white people keep receiving the same information from multiple vetted resources about systemic racism and remain adamant that it’s “not a real thing” – showing them being surprised and awakened to it in 2017 is a fairy-tale to cover up the truth: they just don’t care.
I’m over this pandering. Stop with the “creative” ways to engage people around issues of racism in America. Why should Black people have to package our pain with a nice rhyme and catchy beat to get white people to realize that systemic racism is as American as fucking apple pie? Make them take this truth straight. We need to spend our creative energy on building a new system not propping up this one.
And still despite our dismal history of repeating our strife to deaf ears, I keep reading in comments that this is how debates should happen. We need this kind of brave open conversation around racial and ethnic differences in America. Nah. And fuck nah!
Did y’all watch the same video I watched? Because this white man said nigger more than a little bit to get his point across. You’re telling me that if a white man in a MAGA hat steps to you, yelling, cussing and using racial slurs, you’re both open to finding some common ground? I didn’t think so.
Speaking of being racists, can we stop saying that there is even an ounce or possibility for our Black asses to be racist, period? There’s a moment in the video where the black man implies that he is racist towards white people. So this whole thing was really just a “both sides” ass display where Black people are asked to accept equal or at least some significant portion of the responsibility for America’s racism. Nah.
Then, the icing on the trash ass liberal cake: The hug is at the end of this video implying that everyone’s opinion about racism in America is valid. If someone calls you a nigger, it’s okay because they don’t know any better, and racism can be resolved by Black people embracing their oppressor. Cue those videos of police officers dancing with black kids and handing out ice cream because we all know that the reason Black people suffer systemic oppression is because white people aren’t smiling at us enough.
Keep your creative ways to explain the 400-year problem to those who created and maintained it. Aha moments when white people finally get it ain’t the look or the goal. Nice white people don’t eradicate racism. And patient Black people don’t crush white supremacist systems.