Random Thoughts

Racism and Privilege are Difficult

When I heard Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ Same Love, I thought it was brave for a recently successful hip hop artist to rap about homosexuality (probably because of my own racially biased understanding of hip hop and homophobia).  I thought it was commendable and still do, but it also raises questions of race, homophobia, and to a lesser degree geography (considering the politics and racial diversity of a city that hasn’t produced a chart topping rap artist since Sir Mix A Lot).  I looked around and found this article on Racialicious that speaks pretty well to the issues.   As is the case with this subject matter it created a bit of a bloggers row with this gentleman on gawker.  While Mel Gebreamlak speaks in a bit of a prophetic voice, I don’t think he is all together wrong.  And while Macklemore seems to be well educated regarding his privilege in this song

He seems to be painfully uneducated regarding his racism in this video

Seriously dude!? A fucking shaman and a black guy on a camel (and unless they are an actual Mariachi Band from Seattle (which is possible) thats fucked up too).  While the narrative is all together pretty disjointed and goofy, there seems to be a running theme of the exoticized other in this video.  Racism and Privilege aren’t easy, in fact it is much easier to just be a white asshole, so it is good that Macklemore Ryan Lewis and Tricia Davis are trying.  Like the rest of us we just need to try harder.


One comment

  1. I talked about this a little before- how in Thrift Shop he talks about how spending a bunch of cash on T-Shirts is ignorant. That kind of bugged me a bit, because while I don’t spend that much on T-Shirts either, I can’t imagine writing a song calling people ignorant for spending tons of money on, say, Comic Books or video games or whatever (to me) pointless crap that young white people spend money on. And I did notice this video- what the hell is going on there?

    That being said, white rappers are kind of fucked. Either you go the full Eminem or Paul Wall and accept a lot of the dominant themes in rap, some of which are pretty negative OR you become the Beastie Boys and spend your career on rock radio. Not a lot of in-between.

    I think the Racialious article is a little off base on one point- Macklemore is, as he says in the video, an independent artist. He doesn’t have a label he could use to promote a homo-hop rapper. If there’s a homo-hop rapper (I know absolutely nothing about homo-hop, in fact, today was the first time I’d heard of it) who deserves a record deal, there are dozens of famous rappers who could have made that happen. That was the point of creating a black run power structure in rap- they wouldn’t have to do what whites tell them. The fact that no one with the power to do it hasn’t done so isn’t really Macklemore’s fault.

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