Last month, I published We’re Sick of Racism — a blog post that tackled racism in America, its underlying factors, why it won’t come to an end anytime soon, and what we can do to change that.
Last weekend, I then came across this video. It gave me goosebumps! It is raw and uncensored, airing quite a bit of dirty laundry; albeit somewhat exaggerated, since it tackles stereotypical extremes of Black and White Americans.
If you’ve got sensitive ears with an aversion to coarse language and/or racial dialogue, do not watch the video.
Was it too much? Too honest? Inaccurate? Do you believe this kind of approach to racial tensions could help us better race relations in the US. I’m looking forward to hearing what you guys think about it.
43 thoughts on “Joyner Lucas: #IMNOTRACIST”
Years ago when we lived in rural Oregon the racism was a little easier to address because it was so overt and uninformed. One neighbor told my husband, “you are the first nigger I ever met and you’re ok!”
*blinks stupidly* Are you being serious??? I don’t even know what to say to that. It’s a start, maybe? What did your husband say??
That reminds me of when I went to Pennsylvania. I was in this small town called Mew Milford, population less than 900. Walked into a bar, and they were playing cowboy music. They see me, and suddenly the juke box changes to drop it like it’s hot. Then the guy at the bar tips his hat at me. I don’t even listen to hip hop.
I went to the machine and played $20 worth of rock. You should have seen their faces 😂
One guy came over and was like, I’ve never met anyone else who listens to Chevelle. I told him, yes, they’re my favourite band. I love them. I’m sure he learned an important lesson about how to welcome different types of negroes 😂😂😂
Ooh, Alexis, I knew I liked you for a reason! I love Chevelle too. Their music can make me feel like getting up and doing all the things, or the same song can help me calm down & find some inner quiet when I am upset 😍😍😍
And I’ve actually met several black women who have music tastes like Chevelle and Disturbed (oh the people I got to meet as a stagehand😍😍😍), and its awesomely hilarious watching the country folk in the south react to that😂😂😂😂
I didn’t know you were a Chevelle fan. Why are we so few?! I hardly ever meet other people who know them. What’s your favourite song by them? Vitamin R will always have a special place in my heart 🙂
That’s amazing that you used to be a stage hand. My cousin back in Jamaica is a big fan of Disturbed. I like them, but not the biggest fan beyond Down With the Sickness.
Yeah, a lot of White guys in the south will try to impress me by telling me how cool Kendrick Lamar and other rappers are. Then they ask, so what do you listen to? Then they try to backtrack to admit rock is actually what they listen to most. Boys! Grow up already!
I’m currently digging on “joyride” and “take out the gunman” (im loving the slightly harder edge to them) but “the red” & “send the pain below” will always and forever hold a special place in my heart. I got to see them at the strand theatre in Shreveport, as a paying fan and those guys put on a great show! Finger Eleven opened and they were awesome live, too
And have you heard the “sound of silence” cover by disturbed? I’m generally not a huge fan of covers but I do love that one
I hate that my taste in music is so seemingly “niche” around here. When I lived in Atlanta man the shows I got to see. The music scene in Atlanta was superb, with great small venue shows, massive stadium shows, awesome music festivals…
We should probably write about how we defy stereotypes with our taste in music, men, clothes, hobbies, and so on. Its a good place to get some difficult conversations (about race and gender roles and such) started, maybe
And “can I touch your hair?”
Haha, I actually don’t have a problem with the hair thing. That’s not really a thing for us in Jamaica. We play in our non-Black friends’ hair all the time. I wrote a post you may have seen about this before (https://alexischateau.com/2016/06/02/go-ahead-touch-it/), and have a video coming up on that one of these Wednesdays. Stay tuned!
Too funny. James Baldwin wrote about being in Switzerland and being asked to have his hair touched.
LoL. I’m not really sure why it’s such a big deal in America and the UK. I never grew up hearing anything like that, or seeing any of that around me from either Black or non-Black friends.
I’m with Alexis. Like, I don’t know what to say to that. Except to say that I’m so sorry you & your husband have to deal with crap like that.
Mixed response from me. The white man repeats things I have heard my whole life. I don’t see that the black man’s response really addresses this rant. I don’t know how to get to the pervasive ignorance that underlies the assumptions of the first man. I don’t think the responder really challenges any of the assumptions in a real way. I do love the irony of the oft repeated “I’m not a racist.”
I agree with you. I don’t believe the Black guy’s response really addressed all that was said. It was written by a Black guy, so maybe he kind of took for granted that his audience already knew the comebacks for those? Not sure, but there have been a few video responses where other rappers have spoken about that.
I think comebacks wouldn’t address the ignorance anyway. That first guy needs a full year of U.S. history and economics to get over his stupidity.
LMAO. You have a point there!
I love the repeated “I’m not racist” line as well. Every time I hear that, I know I’m about to be subjected to racism. Last time I heard it was from a junkie in Illinois.
I have Black friends! One of them looks just like you! Oh my! Look at your skin! I’m totally down with you guys! I’m not racist at all! Ask my boyfriend!
Somehow people know that they aren’t supposed to be racist without having a clue what being a racist is. I told my students once that we were all racists from living in a country which emphasized race–an invented construct. They really fought me on that one.
Wow. That was a hell of a statement to make! I bet they didn’t take it well. What did they say?
After arguing with me, and after hearing that I too was a racist, they were intrigued by the idea of culturally absorbed racism.
Haha, I’m sure they were. Funny how willing we are to accept a vice if someone else has it. 😂
Alexis, you DO always put food for thought out here. Let me start by saying that, for the most part, the language wasn’t that harsh for me; but I’m a recovering addict who is accustomed to making the f-bomb serve as all parts of speech LOL
My problem with the video is the stereotypical description of the black man with do-rags and sagging pants and wanting to rap. Its been my experience that that’s actually a better description of the white guys. Seriously. Including 2 of my native American stepsons who totally pass for white, wear sagging pants & do-rags, and think they’re the next incarnation of slim shady.
On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of the black people I have had the privilege of calling friends who have been the ones to dress like a stereotypical white preppy new Englander or even stereotypical hipsters. It has been the black people who I’ve had the privilege of calling friends who have taught me how to dress appropriately for my court appearances for drug charges in the past, taught me how to iron my pants with a proper crease (and without a crease if needed, as well as how to safely iron silk and rayon without ruining the fabric).
The black and brown women I served my prison time with were, as a whole, far more polite and gracious than the white women. The fact that I have served prison time for drug offenses should totally bust the stereotypes that are used by law enforcement when profiling & deciding who to stop and search; yet every time I was arrested for drugs some sh*thead cop always had to remark “she doesn’t fit the profile”. That I am the one nobody fears in public is ridiculous, since I’m the one with a past that would scare people. While my 12 step recovery has removed me from that lifestyle, it doesn’t change the fact that I was a junkie engaged in trafficking who was never the one anybody would suspect of being a junkie engaged in trafficking.
So, yeah my problem with the video is the entirely false assumptions it (and racists) actually operate under. And my history is not normally something I share publicly (well, not on the internet, because trolls); but perhaps it is long past time. Perhaps if people who look like me and have histories like me started publicly sharing what we’ve done and trolls be damned; well, then maybe-just maybe-we could help to change the discourse. Maybe we could bust the myth of stereotypes and profiling. So, since I actually admire and respect you, I’m putting a but of my history out here, trolls be damned. Because it isn’t the job of people who look like you to change the minds and hearts of people who look like me.
Sorry for the overly long response, but I think it’s past time I come clean to the world and do my part to bust stereotypes.
Never apologise for overly long comments, Cynthia. There is no such thing. I do aim to put food for thought out there, and love the responses I get from you, length be damned.
I did find it a little odd that they used a stereotypical Black male. The White equivalent should have been wearing a jumper suit with a White KKK hat tucked under his arm haha.
I do find your past intriguing! I know you mentioned drugs, but never knew it was to that extent. I’m glad you’ve put that behind you and moved on to a more productive life. Isn’t it freeing?!
And don’t worry about trolls. I let people get away with trolling me. I don’t let people get away with trolling my readers. Block and delete. I believe in free speech, but I pay for this platform, and reserve the right to use it as I please 😂
It’s funny that you mentioned the Slim Shady Whites. I get targeted by them so often. I want to know… if I wanted a White guy, why would I choose them over a New England preppie? And if I want a thug, why wouldn’t I go for the Black one? 😂 Makes no sense to me.
I figured as much about trolls on your blog, since all I ever see is fairly reasonable discussion. Now, if only the rest of the internet could be so reasonable😕
And yes, my history is ugly. The we steps have turned me into a human being again; one who is mostly decent yet still human so I do have my moments. It is freeing.
Now, you’re definitely on to something-the white guy should have been in a kkk hood or something (although the guy they used is probably a decent stereotype of what many look like without the hoods LOL). And maybe the slim shady whites target you because white women don’t want them either? Because neither of my stepsons can keep a girlfriend of white or latinx background (for real, they both have more failed relationships individually than my husband h I have COMBINED and that’s saying a lot)
I’ve only had to trash 3 comments, and block 3 people so far. Many others, I mark as spam. I believe it’s important to maintain an environment where you guys feel free to air your opinions without being attacked. Nothing wrong with disagreeing with each other, but not attacking and trolling.
My history isn’t very pretty either, but I’ve made peace with it. If you remember from my how to be positive post, where I talked about living with an abusive father, and battling the temptation of suicide. We all have our battles, some worse than others, but it’s great when we overcome. 😊
LOL maybe they can’t keep those women because it’s embarrassing. Imagine having to explain them to family and friends. 😂 Maybe they’ll get it together, and look back at their past and wonder what the hell…
I just snorted like a pig laughing at any woman that has to explain one of my stepsons to her family. Those boys defy explanations 😉
Lmao. Well I’m sure some poor woman has tried!
That was beautiful. Thank you for putting me on to this video. There are indeed two sides to every story, I kinda found myself nodding my head a little bit to some of what was coming at me in the first verse like “well, there’s truth to that…”
Honestly, racism in America is a smokescreen now. The real battle is between the oligarchy and the proletariat, and while there is a definite color divide built into that war, it is NOT the main dividing point. The oligarchy, while much smaller than the proletariat, is trouncing it’s opposition using race, among other smokescreen issues, as a divisive technique to keep us quarreling amongst ourselves while they take over our food supply and water sources and keep us wage-enslaved through mechanisms like debt and manipulation of the value of currencies against the costs of basic human needs.
Anyway, I’m not racist either. I’m a citizen of the Kingdom of God. I stand battle for all those who are embattled in the real fight.
Thanks Rashida. I do believe that race is only part smokescreen though. America is a baby of racial equality. Blacks just got equal rights here in 1964. We can’t compare them to our island homes, where we’ve been running the show since the 1800s, and 1700s for some.
The oligarchy in America is closely related to the plantocracy that existed. The Republican government is stronger than the Democrats, and the Republicans overrun the south, where slavery took place.
I think it will take at least the same 200 years it took for us islanders to move past racism. Right now, the US is just about 50+ years in. We have a long way to go…
I don’t have any issues with the video. I am concerned that we’re overly focused on the past and not the future. Within a few years, there will be no majority ethnic or racial group in this country, and African Americans will have dropped to #4 in size, behind Hispanics and Asians. The country is changing faster than the discourse.
Vic, you may find them too focused on the past, but I find you too focused on the future. The present is where we live, and presently racism abounds.
In my home country, I’m a first class citizen and treated as such wherever I go. Why? Because Jamaicans separate by class, not race. And class, is not just being in the top 1%, it’s actual class and sophistication. I was well treated everywhere because I am educated, well spoken, well-read, lived in a nice neighbourhood, travelled often, and dressed appropriately.
In America, none of these things matter. I am very aware of the difference in how I was treated at home and here. I went from first rate citizen to bottom of the barrel. When I mention I’m educated, the look White people often give me is almost hilarious. Only almost. As if it’s surprising that I sat through 6 years of college and have 2 degrees.
Jamaica never had Jim Crow, or Nazis and KKKs. Our Whites came to their senses after slavery ended, and we all made amends and moved on. When Jamaicans talk about slavery on the island, we talk about British planters, not Jamaicans. Our Whites are rarely if ever suspected of racism, and we literally have no racial slurs on the island. There is no disrespectful racial word to refer to anyone of any ethnicity in Jamaica. That’s where Jamaica is at.
America, on the other hand, has all those things. So, it isn’t going to just bury the past now, when you ended slavery a generation after everyone else, had Jim Crow up to 1964, and have KKK marching today. It’s just not going to happen.
This is the present. We have to understand the past, and fix the present, before we can look to the future.
Exactly this: if we don’t look at the past & learn from it, we are doomed to repeat it. And repeat it some more. Until we look at the past and see how it has shaped the present, we will never see change now or in the future
Surprisingly I quite enjoyed this, while I really dislike the strong language they chose to use I can understand it’s part of the street patois used every day. I heard both sides but had only sympathy for the black one which was perhaps very understated. I don’t believe it’s just a discourse that’s been lost between the two sides since I’m sure that the racism is felt very much by the white side and is truly institutionalised. There’s no interest in wanting to learn the black side of things since they already believe they have the way. it isn’t a misunderstanding or fear that created chapters of the K.K.K. it was hate and to create understanding you have to teach the hate out starting very young and reinforcing it at home. It’ll never happen.The U.S. are light years behind other Countries when it comes to race relations, but they haven’t been interested in change. It’s just been hidden until Trump said it’s OK to be that way. It isn’t !
Hi David! I’m glad you powered through the coarse language. I don’t believe it would be as harsh and honest without it. That is definitely the language used by many.
In fact, I’ve been called a cotton picking n-gger, on this blog before. I laughed and told the guy (a) n-gger is not a racial slur in my culture. We don’t have any racial slurs. And (b) my ancestors grew sugar cane in the Caribbean, so wrong n-gger 😂
That said, racism is a serious problem here. My only hope is that now that it’s climbing out of the woodworks, people will better understand how ugly it is and reconsider their stance, or just as bad, their silence.
In the meantime, you can bet I’ll keep trying to share things like these to have a more productive dialogue about race and race relations.
And I also agree that the Black side was understated. So much more could have been said.
I believe that focusing on whether the Black side was understated distracts from the purpose of the video, which I believe is an exercise in listening to provoke a much-needed HONEST conversation concerning racism in America.
However, I do agree with you, David, that it’s unrealistic that change will occur on any large scale concerning race relations in this country because racism is systemic. The White male power structure will never be ready to acknowledge Black humanity as equitable for fear that the power structure will somehow reverse itself.
I think this video can go a long way in recovering much of the civil discourse that has been lost when discussing racism in America. I love the way that it’s so brutally honest which completely annihilates the color blind comfort zone that many of us continue to manufacture whenever racism is even mentioned.
Hey Benjamin! I love it when you join in on these. I think it was a good video that dug up a few things that needed to come out.
I do, however, believe the Black side could have made a better case for himself. There’s actually a remix out there I saw today called “The educated black man version” or something like that. Didn’t get the chance to watch it though.
But I think the video was simply trying to create a space to start an honest conversation about racism.
I do agree that some issues needed to come out, though, and this video definitely forces us to listen.
Agreed. I hope the conversations are productive, and not just Nazis listening to the White side and nodding.
Do you think that video is capable of getting neo-Nazis to listen to both sides?
If they sit through the whole thing, yes, But I wouldn’t be surprised they see the Black guy come on, and stop watching.
So true. And that’s unfortunate because the video speaks to just how powerful communication is, as an agent of change.