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Some poetry reading thing at the White House, a rapper named Common is invited (didn't this guy date Serena Williams?), Fox News goes crazy because he's a misogynist and a cop-killer, apparently.  Jon Stewart responds.  Title is from the first half of the segment, which is here (that half goes into how ridiculous this reading of Common's poem is). 

I posted the second half not for Jon Stewart's attempt at rapping but because the hypocrisy/double standards (Johnny Cash and Ted Nugent) are pretty hilarious/pathetic.

The Daily Show
Tags: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook

The comments at EW are interesting - many of them agree that Fox is going after the wrong target, but they're now disagreeing if race has anything to do with Fox's response.  It's just because he attacked Bush in a poem, not because he's a black rapper.  So now they're arguing about the race card and etc., and it reminds me of something I thought of a while ago - I think the way kids are taught about racism in this country is all wrong.  Racism is seen to equal the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis, and maybe Jim Crow, and everybody agrees that the KKK and Nazis are totally evil and crazy, so basically what it comes down to is "I'm not racist because I'm not evil and crazy."  Or, "I'm not racist because I don't literally want to kill every member of another race."  And basically it means that for the accuser, being accused of racism is worse than racism itself.  So of course we end up talking about that instead of about racism itself. 

And the whole thing is a false connection, because that isn't what racism is.  It's not genocide.  It's not "the absolute worst thing a human being can do" (not that I know what that is).  It doesn't make you a KKK Grand Dragon Whatever and it doesn't make you Hitler.  It doesn't mark you as someone who would beat up or spit at someone of another race.  All it does is put you in the company of most of the other people who share your one-ethnicity-dominant country.  It's a problem at the system-level, not the individual-level, and I wonder if maybe that's part of the problem - we don't want to admit we function inside a system, or even a society?  Regardless, painting it as this big Boogey Man that individuals are supposed to, like, ward off with torches just makes people less and less willing to admit to their own racist behavior without actually putting an end to racist behavior itself. 

Do we need a new word?  Because I think racism, as a word, is almost useless at this point.  It's just this incendiary flashpoint.  Should we start using xenophobic or some variant?  It seems to trigger less of a knee-jerk "no no no I am not that!" response, although I don't know why.

Date: 2011-05-12 05:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Haven't looked at the clip yet, but the rest of your thoughts are things that I think a lot about too.

Yes, it does seem as if racism is equated with the worst of the worst, and that then people argue that that's not them, and then, yeah, *that's* what people end up talking about.

Maybe rather than any accusatory label, we could just talk about the problems that [that thinking/behavior] causes, and fixing that. Like, recognizing when your world view or your assumptions are based on limited experiences, and privileged ones at that, and that when you talk that way, other people have a hard time entering the conversation. If someone said that to me, I could acknowledge the fact and try to change, and it doesn't seem to require as much groveling and hairshirt wearing.

Date: 2011-05-12 05:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, but sometimes I feel that people don't like the privilege concept either. Because they don't feel they are privileged. I do like the exclusion point though, that it's shutting out other people. Or even to try and get people to look at what's being said from the perspective of "the other." Or that it's "othering" behavior, since more people are okay with the concept of "fear of the other" and don't seem to think it's the worst of the worst. IDK.

Hairshirt wearing? What does that mean? I feel like I've heard it before, but never gotten it.

Date: 2011-05-12 06:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
A hairshirt is a shirt made of some animal skin, I think? And you wear the fur side in, so you've got the fur (hair) rubbing uncomfortably against you. It's something that medieval religious types supposedly did for penance and just because suffering is good for you.

Date: 2011-05-12 06:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh... gotcha. So it's like self-flagellation, in this context.

Date: 2011-05-12 06:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Another distraction. Who cares how much you torture yourself? What relevance does that have for the people whose disadvantages and injuries prompts the display?

Edited Date: 2011-05-12 06:13 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-05-12 06:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah. A lot of posturing goes on, for sure - and I think that has ties to the tendency to make the conversation All About Me - which is, perhaps, an inevitable side effect of having "Racist!" be an accusation, that the conversation turns into an indictment and defense of that person's character and not even what they said/did in the first place.

Date: 2011-05-12 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Xenophobe" really is the most fitting word--ie, you fear or distrust that which is dissimilar to what you find familiar/yourself. But it sounds fiction-y.

Date: 2011-05-12 09:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Because of xenomorphs?

Plus it's hard to pronounce, although we could always say "it's like Xena."

Date: 2011-05-12 07:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I loved his comment about how they bury tapes around the office just to make it challenging.

A job like Jon Stewart's would drive you nuts after awhile.

Now, with this, is it more racism or just the fact that the parties are so polarized they will pick on anything the other side does. For example, Clinton was lambasted because he smoked marijuana "once", but Bush had a deviated septum from the speedballs he was doing in the 80's.

Race wasn't an issue then, but partisanship was. Either way, both sides are going to whine like puppies whenever they feel slighted. Blind to their own hypocrisy when it suits them. Thank goodness we've got Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to illustrate the insanity of the American political "system."

Date: 2011-05-12 07:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, party polarization has something to do with it - always does, in our wonderful two-party system - if Common was a Republican who supported McCain, he would not have gotten any flak from Fox the media giant. 100% sure of that. Party lines are ultimately the most important thing.

But here's what I think. Say you got one of these Fox News personalities drunk. And you questioned them on why they seemed to hate Common so much. I think it's not necessarily the "black" part of "black rapper" that they would admit was the trigger word - they'd probably say, "and he's some rapper, are you kidding me, a rapper in the White House?" And that's all they'd say it was. The problem is that "rapper," like "thug" and "welfare queen" and the like, imply a certain race and socioeconomic class, and even if they don't admit to themselves that their hatred for rappers has anything to do with that, it does, on some subliminal level.

And I think that sort of instinctive, almost primordial reaction to "black rapper" would be present whether Common was in the GOP or not. But because he's not, because he's on the other side politically, they're choosing to actually make a big deal out of it.

Date: 2011-05-12 07:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I should also add that I think hatred is too strong a word to use in this scenario. "Disdain" or "dislike" or "distrust" would be better.

Date: 2011-05-12 07:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, there seems to be a whole "There goes the neighborhood" vibe with the GOP any time a black person shows up to the White House.

I wonder if they would feel more or less threatened by a white rapper from Detroit, or Jewish rappers from Brooklyn?

I'd rather have Ol' Dirty Bastard as a guest at my house than Dick Cheney. I knew several people who were friends with Dick Cheney, and thought they were some of the slimiest, most reprehensible characters I have ever had the displeasure to know. And I hope they all burn in Hell.

Sorry, what were we talking about again? :)

Date: 2011-05-12 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, pretty much. I don't think it's necessarily a conscious thing, it's more like a "vibe", like you said.

That's a tough call, but I'm gonna go with less threatened by white rapper from Detroit. This would make it a tougher call: Jewish rappers from, uh, the Midwest somewhere.

Wow, I've never met anyone who was friends with Cheney. That's what you get for living in Colorado, I guess! Even though he was born here!

Date: 2011-05-12 10:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It was something I learned from my year of struggling in Wyoming. Rich people all puffed up like baby birds, bragging about their friendships with the Cheney's. And their season tickets to 'Pokes games.


Date: 2011-05-13 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I stumbled upon an article about this and one of the objectionable lyrics were: "Seeing a fiend being hung/With that happening, why they messing with Saddam?"

This is what Fox is so angry about?

(has heard of Common through Team Teamwork's Ocarina of Rhyme)

Date: 2011-05-14 11:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I always wonder who decides what news anchors like Fox's get angry about.

Date: 2011-05-15 02:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't. Fox anchors are beyond our comprehension, after all.

Date: 2011-05-17 04:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have some stuff by Common (he collaborates with Kanye West and Talib Kweli and the Roots, I think). He's pretty much the last MC I'd expect people to pick on for being a mysogynist and cop-killer, though I guess he has political lyrics, if that counts as cop-killing.

a couple songs


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