by Miles Raymer
Like, for instance, the current outbreak of racial concern trolling among right-wing media stars that's begun to trickle down to its base. This particular meme spiked recently with the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, which the right used largely as an excuse to chastise black America's inability to live up to the example that Martin Luther King (now retconned to be an arch-conservative) set for them, but its bread and butter is rap music.
The best example of this brand of thinking is (white) Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott's recent e-mails to (black) Florida Gulf Coast University president Wilson G. Bradshaw criticizing him for allowing Ludacris and Kendrick Lamar to headline the university's annual Eaglepalooza concert. The problem, Scott explains, is that Luda and Kendrick promote, among other things, "gender and racial insensitivity." An example: both of them are known to use the n-word, which Scott points out is a bad word, and since "Paula Dean" [sic] isn't allowed to say it neither should these guys.
Since Scott and his ilk are obviously genuine activists for social justice and not just a bunch of white race hustlers, we should expect a similar letter-writing campaign to any university president who makes the mistake of booking country singer Tyler Farr for a show. Farr's single "Redneck Crazy," currently sitting at number 32 on the Hot 100, is a veritable hurricane of "gender and racial insensitivity."
The gender problems are pretty easy to spot: it's a song where a man explicitly details his plan to stalk his ex-girlfriend.
But the song's racial issues are even more insidious. In the chorus Farr explicitly attributes a number of his first-person protagonist's ethical and legal transgressions—including public intoxication, trespassing, and waging a campaign of psychological and physical intimidation against his ex and her new boyfriend—to being in a mental state he refers to as "redneck crazy." Using a racial slur in such an offhand manner is (to quote Sheriff Mike Scott) "corrosive, divisive, hurtful, [and] painful," and the fact that Farr blames this laundry list of moral failings on his protagonist's race is disgraceful. As a white person I am shocked.
And as the right has insisted on pretty much every occasion where race comes up in the national discussion, as a white person I'm also entitled to make ill-informed guesses as to what minorities might be thinking, and then to put those guesses in my own words as if I was reading their minds. So on behalf of black America, let me say that we're disappointed.
This may be tough for whites to hear, but as Scott's letter proved, sometimes people of a certain race aren't even aware of the trouble that they're causing themselves by total nonissues that completely skirt the actual problems that they face in a virulently racist society, and that they need those nonissues patiently and condescendingly explained to them by a person of another race. Even if that person of another race is just a construct in another white person's mind.
If the right is to be believed, "reverse racism" is not only something that actually exists and not just one demographic group's paranoid reaction to losing its stranglehold over an entire nation's culture, but a growing epidemic. As conservatives have race-splained on many occasions, if one group is being unfairly oppressed by another group, it's their responsibility—and not the racists'—to fix that. If white people really want to stamp out racial intolerance, we need to start with "Redneck Crazy."