The political ghetto is alive and well with our illustrious friends over at The Daily Beast. Indeed, those on the left believe everyone must be put in a box: white, black, conservative and of course the moniker of choice for themselves: “progressive.” It is a nasty habit and must be called out for what it is: over-simplification of an issue with a lack of critical thinking and a need to label everyone by their skin color.
Will someone please tell me where these people were when Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned a world where people would be judged by the “content of their character” and not the color of their skin?
Stereo Williams, who penned “The Conservative War on Hip-Hop: White Scapegoating and Black Respectability” must have missed that day in history class. This seems like a teachable moment for Mr. Williams to learn what must have eluded him in grammar school.
In taking on Jazz legend Wynton Marsalis’ recent unfavorable comments about Hip-Hop, Williams felt the need to establish his political ghetto by naming the race of those with whom he disagrees. Ergo he quotes my LN article and adds a rather shocking coda: “He [Marsalis] articulates a sensible and cerebral perspective on the race issue in America and refuses to buy into the empty racist narrative of the uber-left,” wrote Leesa K. Donner, editor-in-chief of LibertyNation, who is white.”
How erudite of Mr. Williams to pick up on the “fact” that I’m white. This began a rather lively discussion on the Liberty Nation back-channel:
AM: Every time I quote someone in an article, I’m going to make sure I add their skin color.
MA: #MeToo!!!!!” I love it Shawn, who is white. Every time I quote someone in an article, I’m going to make sure I add their skin color.”
SC: That’s right Mike who is white!
MA: Thanks Shawn, who is white.
AM: Considering I live in Canada, I’m more of a gray.
LKD: But I’m 3/4 Lebanese…does that make me white?
MA: makes you a latte
TD: OK, so now that Leesa has been outed as questionably white, who wants to do the investigative piece on her disturbing Arabic background?
LKD: Do Arabs count as white? Now, I have race confusion.
JC: Nope. They’re brown. But what about Mexicans who happen to be darker than some blacks? Are they still brown? I’ve met plenty of Mexicans who are darker than me. Indians too! Or should we call them off-white?
TD: …and a movement begins
While this friendly banter was done in jest, there is a serious point to be made. Thus, the question arises: would my quote about Mr. Marsalis have been taken in a different light if my author picture revealed a different skin color? What about our black correspondent who writes from a conservative perspective? What about my Arabic heritage? Do I still count as white? Certainly, this information should go into the colorful cauldron that Mr. Williams is stirring over at The Beast.
But skin color wasn’t the only fault Mr. Williams found in those who support Wynton Marsalis’ comments about hip-hop and black culture. There is yet another accusation he felt the need to level against Whitey: “There has always been an uneasy, often-exploitative relationship between black creativity and white consumption.”
My father, who was not black but 100% Lebanese, was a jazz drummer. My earliest memories are sitting on a stool in some jazz club sipping a Shirley Temple and listening to Billy, Ella, and The Count. Then there were the many nights with my parents jamming to jazz in our basement with their “black” friends until 3 a.m. To extrapolate on Mr. William’s point — this means I grew up “exploiting” black creativity.
And all this time I thought I was just enjoying the greatest music on the planet.
Perhaps Mr. Williams should consider giving his racist pen a rest and think about the things that matter most. When you judge a person’s comment by the color of their skin you are missing the essence of Dr. King’s message. “’Tis a sad tale when someone feels the need to resort to such tactics,” wrote Leesa, who is white – or maybe taupe.