2016 and 2017 have been banner years for racism. Ever since the November 2016 election, which saw Donald Trump elected on his "Make America Great Again" platform (a platform many have rightly noted encourages the very worst forms of American nationalism), racists have been coming out the woodwork.
Between the resurgence of the alt right, Neo Nazis, white supremacists and the KKK, America is a much different racial and political landscape than it was just a year ago.
A large part of this can be placed very squarely at the feet of Donald Trump.
Of course, he then backtracked immediately afterwards to levy one of his most infamous statements of all time.In reference to the violence in Charlottesville, which culminated in the death of a protestor, Trump said, "I think there is blame on both sides." By both sides, of course, he was referring to the white supremacist rioters (who he later termed "fine people") and the counter protesters who turned out to stand up against their campaign of hate.
This, of course, was only the beginning of the President's slow slide towards showing his true colors an outright Nazi sympathizer.
Given Donald Trump’s recent tweets endorsing the Nazi group Britain First. It seems appropriate to put up some stre… https://t.co/4J783yMYah— martin smith (@martin smith)1512130212.0
A wide reserve of his particular brand of white supremacist virulence was saved for Muslims.
@NickMinutemanC @sheckyyoungman @LumLotus @RoyCalbeck Point out the flaw. Donald Trump retweets far-right group's f… https://t.co/B2bABowxqI— Airstrip One🌹🍀 (@Airstrip One🌹🍀)1512019544.0
Then again, the other reason racism has peaked in America is because there has been a sea change in the American zeitgeist. To be more plain, White America fears it is losing ground.By 2020, babies of color will be the majority. There are more people of color going to college than ever, more people of color getting terminal degrees than ever, more people of color having jobs than ever, more people of color owning companies than ever. Heck, one notable person of color even became the president for the first time in American history. Barack Obama broke the mold when he became president of the United States in November of 2008. He also may have inadvertently stoked White America's fears of losing ground to people of color. As Corey Taylor, frontman for Slipknot and Stone Sour explained:
It's a reaction, sadly… It's a reaction to the fact that — and I'm gonna be blatantly honest — that we had a black president. That's exactly what it is. And not only did we have a black president, we had a very, very successful black president — much to the chagrin of people on the far, far right. I won't use that term that they use; they are far, far, far, far right — they are white supremacists, and that's all they are. They are trying to rewrite the history on [President Barack] Obama...It is because of this troubled racial climate that one rapper decided to stimulate conversation in the most unexpected way.
29-year old Joyner Lucas is a rapper from Worcester, Massachusetts.Concerned by the increasingly inflammatory racial climate, Joyner filmed a new song called "I'm Not Racist" and posted it on his Youtube account on November 28. The song immediately went viral, and has garnered nearly six million views as of this article's posting.
The song begins with seemingly ordinary white man in a red "Make America Great Again" cap staring into the audience as he perfectly lip syncs a rap.
Good Morning! Have you seen the video taking over the internet by @JoynerLucas titled, “I’m Not Racist” ? Check out… https://t.co/HiPxboaPJp— Educate ME (@Educate ME )1512133786.0
The man then proceeds to launch into an accounting of his issues with black people, an accounting that is meant to be seen as an honest depiction of the way many white people feel about black people.As he speaks his part, the camera pans to show that he has an audience, a young black man in dreads, who listens quietly as he unloads. Then, once his part is over, the black man stands and says his part, speaking about white privilege, oppression, attacks on President Barack Obama, black joblessness, etc.
Reception for the piece has been positive, much to Lucas's surprise. In an interview with CNN, he acknowledged, "It's a very uncomfortable conversation to have."
I've been listening to @JoynerLucas for years now. Everything he makes is incredible. All his music is about real l… https://t.co/8ghUmEnpsj— Nasty_CSA (@Nasty_CSA)1512124086.0
It was an average white man speaking his mind on how he actually feels about black people, and it was an average black guy talking about his interactions with white people. These are suppressed feelings that both parties have but are afraid to express.
The video is by no means perfect.
#ImNotRacist what people are missing most about this video is that its supposed to give you the message that a SIMP… https://t.co/bGEiKbpdam— Alexanderp (@Alexanderp)1511962475.0
The most obvious [problem], after watching this three times now, is that the black guy’s rebuttal is weak as fuck. The white guy spits all of the Breitbart and Bannon talking points, and the black guy cites ... Tupac? Sure, he also does mention how historical structural racism makes him feel as if he’s living in a “frying pan." But his overall rebuttal is more “Racism is why I do these bad things" and not “Actually, most of us don’t do those bad things you think we all do." He basically returned shrapnel fire with a spitball.Young further explains:
...The song and the video—is based on a faulty premise [that] white people’s race-related gripes and black people’s race-related gripes are .... equally justified and deserving of equal time and attention. They are not. There is no conversation that needs to happen between the races in order to create some measure of truce and racial conciliation. The only conversation that can do that is white people talking to other white people to try to find a way to be less awful to black people. (Also, saying “Hey, stop discriminating against and hating and killing us" is not asking for a truce. Just for them to stop doing what they’re doing so we can breathe.)But it's still a good start though.