‘I’m Not Racist’ Filled With Stereotypes

Paul Comauex, Opinion Writer

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“I’m Not Racist” is usually a statement followed by various racist comments, but in this case it’s the title of a song by rap artist Joyner Lucas, who hails from Worchester, MA.

My issue isn’t the song itself because the song is about race relations, an important topic.

In the music video, it starts off with a white Trump supporter’s video. The song’s lyrics shed some light onto why a racist is so racist. The song employs shock value, a tool that Lucas told XXL.com that he feels helps him stand apart from other artists.

No. My issue with this song isn’t found in the first verse. It’s the second verse that does damage – and not in a good way.

When describing problems experienced in black America, Lucas spares no description or controversial image or term. Yet, when describing problems with White Supremacy he uses stock summaries including, the issue of white Americans not knowing “about no fried chicken and no barbeque, you don’t know about the two-step or no loose change.”

My issue is that Joyner Lucas, who is African-American, chose to speak in generalities and summaries of simplistic images. In other words, the racist character is well-developed while the subject of the racism is a caricature, a stereotype.

The racist character states that we, as African-Americans, don’t follow the lead of any scientists, but we worship Tupac Shakur.

The subject of the song’s racism fails to mention any black inventors including Louis Latimer, who invented the filament in an electric light bulb, Garrett Morgan, who invented the traffic light and gas mask, Jan Ernst Matzeliger, who perfected the production of shoes, or even Lonnie Johnson, who invented the first gun fired by children, the Super Soaker.

There is no mention of scholars like W.E.B. DuBois, scientists like George Washington Carver, or entrepreneurs like John H. Johnson, Madame CJ Walker, Robert L. Johnson, Cathy Hughes, David L. Steward or Oprah Winfrey. This caricature didn’t bring up likely because Lucas, the artist, doesn’t know these stories of our common American history, either. This lack of understanding and knowledge about one another is a factor that helps to push us apart.

We have issues in America that have to do with race because of events in American history. It is hard to comment on history without knowing our shared roughly 400-year history.

Lucas raises the mental effects of slavery in his song. Yet, you have to ask, how much or how little does Lucas know.

My dad’s grandmother was a slave. Growing up, my dad heard the stories – the oral history. His mom – my grandmother – lived through segregation. My great grandmother, who is still alive, was there when black people weren’t allowed to drink from the same water foundations as white people.

Mr. Lucas, you are a talented rapper but don’t try to equate racism to the people’s reaction to racism. You might confuse the two and end up with a mess.

After all, in this situation, historical context is everything.

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