Thursday, February 11, 2010

Who's A Racist? What's A Racist? (People Really Can't Tell These Days)

John Mayer made my day off a pretty thoughtful one. He had me read a Playboy interview for the first time in my life (via the BB) and went from a cocky, honest dude to an emotionally honest man in the span of sunrise to sunset. Give a man props for being so upset at the uproar he caused that he wasn't afraid to break down in front of fans.

For those who missed it, here's what he said.

MAYER: Someone asked me the other day, “What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?” And by the way, it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full.’"

People flipped over him using the N-word without reading the full context of what he said. Matter of fact. I wonder if people even read what he said afterwards.

MAYER: What is being black? It’s making the most of your life, not taking a single moment for granted. Taking something that’s seen as a struggle and making it work for you, or you’ll die inside. Not to say that my struggle is like the collective struggle of black America. But maybe my struggle is similar to one black dude’s.

If that's not real talk, I don't know what is. This is why I respect this guy and so many others do. He gets it. If anything John Mayer was arrogant for using the word and his later comments on why he doesn't date Black women

MAYER: I don’t think I open myself to it. My d--k is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a f***n’ David Duke c--k. I’m going to start dating separately from my d--k.

Yea my dude was stupid and reckless (and if folks could comprehend better, he didnt say he wouldn't date Black women, he just never explored it) And he admitted as much later on when he cried on stage after apologizing. He was the same way in describing Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson. He wants to be accepted so much and he's still the hyper self-conscious dude I saw accept his first Grammy in 2002. I'm still down with him and anybody with a brain can see he wasn't malicious or racist but stupid.

It's funny the age we live in. Like Chris Rock said, this is the first time where White men have to actually be careful with what they say. And for the first time, White people are quick to call someone racist before minorities do (see Harry Reid).

I think the word "racist" is overblown and calling someone that 90% of the time shows how far behind we are in effectively discussing race. It's the new thing to do - brand someone as a racist to show how offended we are. But the problem is that we lack the ability to determine whether or not something is actually racist or merely just racial or ignorant.

Let's define a racist by what racism is courtesy of the American Heritage Dictionary: The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

To be a racist means you have to show a lot of evidence believing that one race is better than the other or discriminate someone based on it. Obviously it's all about your actions not just your words. And I dare someone to prove Harry Reid or John Mayer or Jimmy The Greek or Howard Cossell were racist because if you look at their lives, there's far more evidence to the contrary.

Comments can be racial and offensive or they can be plain ignorant - which to me is worse. Ignorant comments mean that the person didn't think before they said it and what makes it worse is when people don't realize how bad those comments were.

But most of the time people make RACIAL comments that can be offensive and doesn't mean they are racist or the comments were racist. It means they are stupid and need to be called out for being stupid, but not racist. Funny how most well-reasoned people I follow on Twitter didn't overreact to what Mayer said once they read the full quote and the context.

Like I said with Reid, it's sad that we lack the ability to gauge how bad someone's comments are and give them an appropriate reaction when we look at it.

Calling someone racist is the new "playing the race card." So before you call someone a racist, think twice. Do you want to feel good about yourself? Then show people that you can be offended AND call it what it is without being overdramatic.

I'm down with John Mayer *plays Vultures*

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for an awesome post and great discussion... always appreciate your perspective!