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    Macklemore Calls Out White America - Is It Listening?

    I am so proud to be from Seattle and to be involved in hip-hop. This is amazing: 

    Gawker quotes Macklemore’s Rolling Stone interview, in which he says in part: “If you’re going to be a white dude and do this sh*t, I think you have to take some level of accountability. You have to acknowledge where the art came from, where it is today, how you’re benefiting from it. At the very least, just bringing up those points and acknowledging that, yes, I understand my privilege, I understand how it works for me in society, and how it works for me in 2013 with the success that The Heist has had.”

    Please read the whole interview for more and feel free, in the comments, to delve in more on Macklemore than myself. I couldn't help but inject myself in to this debate.

    I recently made the personal decision of rejecting my "white" ethnicity. Over the years, I've been approached more and more in Spanish and while I was on Guam, I even got asked if I was a mixed native. I have gotten much darker over the years even as I tried to understand my own background. The last years for me personally have been a search for identity and in that search for identity has been a bit of a repulsion even as I immersed myself more in my native "white" culture.

    There is serious lack of understanding and self-awareness within white culture. It's really only been around white folks that I have experienced really serious prejudice - so serious I could feel it when I wasn't even bearing the brunt of it. Most other groups in this country know that they have to work with other groups to eat and survive. Only white people refuse to look people of color in the eye, treating them as if they're not human. While I have experienced people of color who have thrown bitterness towards whites my way - there was usually something that brought it on, the refusal to engage people they say as beneath them really is stronger among whites than any other group.

    When the subject of race comes up in this country, people of color consistently bring up reality and real events - having white women clutch their purses as they walk by or hearing car doors lock. The white side of the coin seems to be unaware and unempathetic - sort of denying that race exists at all even when the racialism of harassing the first black president with questions about his birth certificate persists. We saw the horror that is at the core of American white culture in the aftermath of Trayvon Martin - it didn't matter what Bill O'Reilly was actually saying, his facial expressions when he talked about black single mothers were like something from a horror movie.

    O'Reilly may have started out reasonable and his points about the social irresponsibility of guys like Jay-Z are certainly sound (it is very hard to take Sean Carter seriously as a voice on gun control when his latest album sports lyrics like "I still squeeze Mack 11s like lemons") but when the finger pointing and screaming about "derelict parents" jumped in, it made you really wonder what O'Reilly was trying to say to us.

    That sort of intensity when talking about a group that is only about 12% of the population is just scary. I can only imagine how scary it'd seem if I were in that group. Skip to 6:00 when he talks about locking up drug dealers - that will really make your hair stand up.





    I personally have ejected. I've started writing "Hispanic" when asked for race in applications for work and school. Race is a socially constructed thing - but social groups are a very serious business for us human beings and I would really rather associate with a group that has a better sense of its own impact on the global ecosystem of ethnicities or even understands that there is a global ecosystem of ethnicities.

    That lack of social understanding really is the most significant thing that makes white America stand out as a group and illustrates its maintaining privelege - no other group could even afford to misunderstand the rest of the world so badly. While I commend Macklemore very much for coming up front and telling white America that it needs to join the circle of reality - it's very possible it may fall on deaf ears and that even a boycott could show up. Much of white America is just really into itself.


    Thanks for this. 

    I thought you were a Pacific Islander, a genuine census category. That would give you as much or more status as a minority as Hispanic plus you would not be asked the follow up question of whether or not you are white hispanic. Better still, why not just answer Human to race question?

    J/K, sort of.  Whatever ethnicity you end up choosing, you will still have to deal with uchi-soto. It's too primal and almost always mistaken for racism.


    I think I covered this in the article. All racism is a bit natural - but there is something extra special in white obliviousness to it.

    As to the first part, there is alot of power and empowerment to one's ethnic identity. One of my friends growing was Cuban and the identity really powered their life. As far as identities go, "white" is so loaded with guilt and the very act of saying one is "white" seems to be a sign of standing over other groups - whereas signaling most any other ethnic group, at least in the American context, signals membership in an overall larger multicultural fabric. It would never be believeable to say I'm Pacific Islander but my father was very French and from the Deep South and, if you've ever listened to the Gypsy Kings, you should know that France and Spain weren't too far off from each other. laugh

    I don't really think there's anything special about white obliviousness to racism. When you're not part of the group that is regularly targeted, it's not surprising that you might be unaware of it, especially if it mostly happens in places that you don't visit. Then, of course, there are the people who like to argue along the lines of, "it's not racism if it's true", with the implicit assumption that it is true.

    What you're talking about, it may be more complicated than we imagine.

    And you can throw stories of American racist attitudes at me all day, and I'll agree that most of them are true. But that won't convince me that the U.S.A. still rules comparatively in this area: we are a melting pot like no other, we eventually assimilate with each other and intermarry and have mixed heritage children like no other country does. And we should continue to be proud of that. (Yes, on this we are not just better than India, but we are also better than "progressive" first world countries like Sweden! devil)

    Well, I do agree but just because one kid somewhere blows up a building doesn't mean you don't scold your own kid for causing the smoke alarm to go off with a kitchen fire. Alot worse is out there but that doesn't make us problem free. 

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