“But I have a black friend”…and other microaggressive shit you should probably stop saying

I have been thinking a lot about a comment I heard the other day.

“I don’t understand why any woman would like rap music. All it talks about is “getting money and hoes.””

I heard this over a week ago and can’t seem to get it out of my head. I found this comment instantly offensive, but wasn’t sure why at first.  I personally love rap music but understand that everyone has their own preferences. So why did this bother me so much?

And then it hit me.

Most music today objectify’s women. Whether it’s rock, pop, alternative, you name it, there’s probably a song about a girl who has a banging bod and doesn’t wear a lot of clothes. I mean honestly, every country song is boiled down to how a pair of Daisy Dukes changed a guy’s life.

So why is rap music considered different? Why is a rap song about sex inappropriate to play in public when rock songs from the ’80s that talk about sex are considered “classics”?

I’ll tell you why. It all boils down to stereotypes.

Take your average black male. How do you imagine him? Is he wearing a do-rag? A white tall tee? Baggy jeans? A grill?

Is he walking down a street lined w/ chain link fences, bare yards, and tiny white houses?

(If you’re wondering, yes, I did just describe Nelly from the “Grillz” video)

But in all seriousness this picture you’ve imagined probably looks like what you’d consider a delinquent. A trouble maker. A hooligan.  It’s the same stereotype that’s triggered when someone sees a black man on the street and starts walking faster or farther away. It’s the same reason why I was ID’d one morning in my high school parking lot while sitting in my car waiting for my basketball practice to start.

It’s the same reason why innocent young black people are being killed.

Racism doesn’t begin with the words that come out of a person’s mouth.

It all starts with a picture in your head.

It is not the sex that people find inappropriate… It’s the culture.

It’s white culture being more accepted than black culture.

And if you’re arguing this in your head, take a look at Keith Richards. Do you you think he did any drugs or had any sex?

How bout Guns n’ Roses? The Sex Pistols? The Rolling Stones?

Trace Adkins has been to rehab y’all.

Why is it skin color that makes this music scary?

And why do so many white middle class kids go around singing this music if it’s so bad?

That’s just it…b/c it seems bad to them.

It seems like a big jump, from a statement about musical preferences to discrimination, but that’s just the thing…

It seems like a big jump, but it’s not.

And that’s why we have to realize that we must question our attitudes and why we dislike the things that we do.

To figure out if it is a preference or if it’s racism.

Because racism can end w/ a comment or w/ a lot more serious consequences.

For me that consequence was mental illness.

I grew up in an upper middle class suburb. The high school I went to was 93% white. I could not name to you a whole hand of black students in my graduating class of over 500 people.

It was always blatantly obvious to me that I was different. My body was shaped differently. I had many curves in places the white girls didn’t. My lips were big. My hair curly and textured.

And when there is no one like you to connect with, you can only judge yourself on the judgements about your race that the people around you vocalize.

“You are only good at basketball because you’re black. Black people actually have extra muscles in their legs that make them jump higher.”

“You are not actually black. You speak like a white person.”

“You have a huge butt because you’re black.”

And my personal favorite…”What are you?”

So here’s my answer:

I AM A FUCKING PERSON

A fucking person that heard this fucking micro aggressive shit so much that I began to hate myself. It’s called internalized racism son, look it up.

I heard this so much I assumed no boy would ever think I was attractive because the white girls in Urban Outfitters ads were the only thing I ever learned was “pretty”.

I learned that I would always have to be a perfectionist because there was something innately wrong with me that I would constantly have to overcome.

But you know what, I have a label for what you did to me now.

I know it is not all my fault, that I am just too sensitive.

I know that shit is wrong and I’m calling it out.

And I’m sorry if it makes you feel bad for being racist, but I refuse to be blamed and guilt tripped for something I have not done.

Because even though you can ignore it, I have not been able to. It is real. And it has been all too real to me.

Honestly,

J

 

 

 

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