Thoughts on White Privilege II
Macklemore released a 9 minute single titled "White Privilege 2" addressing white privilege, attacking cultural appropriation, and shedding light on white people who manage to still be blind to the injustices blacks face in this country.
To be frank this song has a lot going on. Each verse has a different context. It's rap, spoken word, documentary, and theatrical play. Of course when I heard Macklemore had a song called White Privilege 2, I was reluctant.
Isn't this the same guy who happily accepted a Grammy for best new Hip Hop artist, then posted a wack ass text message apologizing to Kendrick Lamar on Instagram saying K.Dot should've won instead of him? So I was already raising an eyebrow towards this whole thing.
Check it out below:
Last year in the height of the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, I participated in several protests, alongside many white people. Some chanting along with me, some marching with signs in the air, and others were silent. I would ask myself "how do they feel?"
Knowing that the police would never shoot them in broad daylight and leave them in the street for four hours, how do they feel? They'd never shoot a white child while he was sitting on their couch or on the swings. How do they really feel? While I shout the names of the lost, with tears rolling down my face, do they really understand? The first verse partially granted some clarity. For some, (Macklemore included) they're confused, they're conflicted and they're not quite sure if they can participate in these gatherings. He gets it. And I'm thankful that I can see into his perspective. Its a perspective that isn't really highlighted too often. There are white people who understand clearly the privilege they have but aren't sure how they can help the cause. Its often a double edged sword. If they try to help they get patronized for never being able to truly understand the struggle, and if they don't take action they get attacked because they're seen as sweeping these issues under the rug. Its an uncomfortable perspective to live in. It sucks, but that's how it is.
I like the song but the message is old. We know there is a problem in America. We've been saying it for years. This song is not for us. This song is for white people and whoever else who chooses to ignore or desensitize the issues people of color face in this country. In the song, there's a dialogue between him and a mother of 2, and she praises him for his "positive hip-hop" that doesn't talk about bitches and hoes. She goes on to talk about a group of protesters outside and tells him they're "so sad and so dumb. If a cop pulls you over, it's your fault [that you are killed unarmed, with your hands up] if you run." There are white people in this country who feel this way and do not understand the logistics behind institutionalized racism. They don't want to understand why reverse racism doesn't exist, or why ALL lives don't matter, or why we do not trust the police who swore to protect and serve. They don't understand because it doesn't affect them. It's not their children shot dead in cold blood. He wanted those people to find themselves in the song so they can see the ignorance in their thoughts because thoughts trigger behaviors and if they knew better, (I hope) they'd do better.
He used this song to reflect on his own error, the error of white America and put the #BlackLivesMatter movement on a pedestal. That is what we want because clearly we're not speaking loud enough for them to hear.
If we could only get Macklemore to give back that Grammy......