Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mayer Reveals His Authentically Racist Self

Should we slaughter John Mayer now? I mean that figuratively. I know to clarify that I meant that figuratively because I know there are white people, like the ones who were outraged at Serena Williams's tantrum, who believe if a black person speaks of violence she means she will literally kill someone.

However, if you looked up John Mayer in the Twitter stream right now, you might conclude his life is in danger. People of all races slam him at the moment.

"F*ck John Mayer!" is today's catch phrase chocked full of venom, and all this because he speaks of having or not having a "nigger pass" in Playboy Magazine and says his penis is white supremacist followed by naming black women into whom he might consider thrusting himself.

What did I say about this on Twitter?
(The) John Mayer thing only bugs black ppl who confuse trying 2sing blck w/liking blck ppl. Cultural theft has nothing to do w/love. (Nordette)
The rest of what I could say would be book length and discuss the dangers of looking in any poet's, songwriter's, or novelist's closet. What they really think about life and your people might not sit well with you, especially on race.

But I've never been into Mayer. I'm the woman whose son, when he was 7, embarrassed his father at the fancy Bridgewater, NJ, mall by saying loudly in a shoe store full of white people, "Daddy, you know what Mom says," as my former husband raced to cover his child's mouth, knowing something bad was about to happen. "She says she gets so tired of white people stealing black people's music."

People pretended not to notice, but the clerk snorted at the cash register. An N'Sync song was on the Muzak speakers.

So, how was it that Justin Timberlake maintained the love of black male rappers and black music consumers after throwing Janet Jackson under the Super Bowl bus? How is it that we continue to think that liking black music, imitating us, trying to be hip and cool in black has anything at all to do with not being racist?

Don't get me wrong, I like a little blue-eyed soul, Joss Stone for instance, but I don't assume because she mimics black singers she likes black people. She might. She might even think she identifies with black struggle, the way Mayer seems to think he may, but I don't assume that she does anymore than I assume because a man says he loves his wife he's not a misogynist or that slave owners who impregnated their black slaves got up the next morning and freed them.

As I've said to friends, even the who dat New Orleans controversy reminds me of how much some white people love black music and black athletes, how they like saying black phrases, but, as I said in "Crescent City Blues in K," don't love the people from whom the culture springs. Poll some of the white people down here who were yelling "Who dat" is their culture and ask them if it would be o.k. to move black people into the house next door. How about pressuring government to help more of the poorer blacks who couldn't come back to New Orleans to come back home? Crickets chirp.

However, I am also the woman who's tried to explain repeatedly to white liberals who think they are not racist to stop having a knee jerk response to the word. Most folks have some racist in 'em, some kind of bias based on color or culture, especially white people, who have been conditioned to think they're a cut above everyone else.

Finally, Mayer's just a songwriter/singer and young at that. Don't like what he said? Stop buying his music, and stop buying the music of black rappers and entertainers who record or perform with him in the future. Other than that, who gives a damn about who John Mayer wants to fuck and whether he thinks he's got a pass into blackness? And "John, please don't try to apologize. Don't explain a thing. Be who you are."

4 comments:

Sister Big said...

I think Mayer's a moron on a lot of levels, and I think you captured one of them beautifully here. I just stumbled this post.

Vérité Parlant is Nordette Adams said...

Thank you, and I truly appreciate the Stumble. :-)

steveburks said...

It's like with the Williams sisters. Some mainstreamers hate them, but love their skill. (Well, kind of. At this point in their extended reign, people even try to dismiss/reduce THAT. i.e., they're hard-swinging monkeys with no brains. Note the commentators' descriptors during matches.)

Reggie said...

I am sitting on my bed and right now I'm looking at the March issue of Playboy. After I finish it I guess I'll have a better understanding of what was specifically said by John Mayer. But just glancing through it, it doesn't look good.

For the life of me, I just don't understand why public figures continue to make these types of statement, especially since there is so much money at stake for them.