Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Pain of the White Negro: Is John Mayer a Racist Hipster Douchebag?

John Mayer, racist hipster douchebag?

I am not a big fan of his music. But, what struck me most were not his words, but how low Playboy magazine has sunk. In reading this interview I couldn't help but long for the great interviews of years past with such figures as Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr., exchanges that could only be found in that most edgy of magazines.

Is the Mayer interview any surprise? Am I the only one who kept thinking of Norman Mailer's timeless essay on the White Negro as I worked through Mayer's ramblings? Is David Duke ever a fair metaphor for one's manhood--and its desire for inter-racial intimacies? Last time I checked, many a white supremacist (case in point: Strom Thurmond) for time immemorial loved to lay with a black woman (be she willing or not). Ironic then, that the loathing in the White Soul for blackness is more than balanced by an envious longing for the same.

Some choice excerpts from Playboy:

MAYER: Someone asked me the other day, “What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?” And by the way, it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full.’"

PLAYBOY: It is true; a lot of rappers love you. You recorded with Common and Kanye West, played live with Jay-Z.

MAYER: What is being black? It’s making the most of your life, not taking a single moment for granted. Taking something that’s seen as a struggle and making it work for you, or you’ll die inside. Not to say that my struggle is like the collective struggle of black America. But maybe my struggle is similar to one black dude’s.

PLAYBOY: Do black women throw themselves at you?

MAYER: I don’t think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock. I’m going to start dating separately from my dick.

PLAYBOY: Let’s put some names out there. Let’s get specific.

MAYER: I always thought Holly Robinson Peete was gorgeous. Every white dude loved Hilary from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And Kerry Washington. She’s superhot, and she’s also white-girl crazy. Kerry Washington would break your heart like a white girl. Just all of a sudden she’d be like, “Yeah, I sucked his dick. Whatever.” And you’d be like, “What? We weren’t talking about that.” That’s what “Heartbreak Warfare” is all about, when a girl uses jealousy as a tactic.


Sharon said...

Yes, of course he is. (I don't exactly know who he is .. a musician, I gather.)

erinn said...

here's the thing. first thing first, not ever going to be cool for white folks to drop nigger (why can't they get that? it doesn't seem that hard...). so he's a buster for that.

the point that he's making is ill-conceived and not funny, but partially correct. i think he's making an necessary point about the concept of the "hood pass." white folks (and some black people) use that as if it means that white people are now somehow black, just because they can dance or rap reasonably successfully. everybody wants to be black until the police show up.

i got the impression that he was saying that race doesn't really work like that; he's not black, he doesn't get refused service at a restaurant and deal with the other racist shit that we as black people face every day.

also, while comparing his "struggle" to that of a Black man's is ridiculous, he does a surprisingly good job (imh) of discussing how our community takes struggle and makes it revolutionary ("taking something that's seen as making it work for you, or you'll die inside).

i think he sucks for saying nigger and i want to punch him in the face for it, but i think there's a more interesting conversation to be had here about how he's talking about race.

Anonymous said...

um in a word, yes. cause while the hoopla about using the word 'nigger' is what has begun the shitstorm, and clearly that's a problem on its own, i'd like to figure out why barely anybody is calling this idiot out on his issues with black women, and the idea that they are only desirable the more they act 'white-girl crazy' (read: dick-sucking, submissive, lots of other stuff wrapped up in that problematic analogy that shows a misogyny against women of all stripes), and the fact that there's nothing more than a typical white dude fantasy at work in his attraction to them. I guess fantasies are allowed to anyone, as its a free world, but he's proving himself to be just that white dude I went to college with, that only goes public in his relationships with white women while being fine with sleeping with as many black women on the hush, as that's what black women seem to be worth in his description-- secret crazy sex. its a post-modern, purportedly post-racial revamping of an age old racist ideology and practice rampant among white men regarding black women around since the days of the slave plantation, that black feminist writers broke down in the mid-80s to perfection... no need for me to recapitulate now.

So the racism, and the sexism in his remarks damn sure doesnt begin and end with his use of the word nigger. dammit, black folks cant let everybody be down cause they appeared in front the carter on the dave chappelle show.

Pandora Bunny said...

I have a general dislike for John Mayer, I don't see his appeal and reading the entire interview I realized it's because he has none.

He's a 32 year old man-child with an unrealistic view of himself who is too lost in his own mind to be considerate of his partners (when he even bothers having them).

I don't understand how he (and countless other men) can be so worried about marriage and children yet they refuse to be in serious relationships. I was appalled about the way he spoke of Jessica Simpson (I'm not a fan of her's either)and some of the things he said about Jen Aniston. One would think that if he really did love her he would have tried to work through his problems.

As for his "attraction" to black women, he seems the type of guy that "just isn't attracted"to women outside his group. (I've met plenty of those) And while he may be able to acknowledge the physical attractiveness of specific Black women he, no doubt, has had his jungle fever vaccination.

gordon gartrelle said...

I call BS on this whole public offense parade, as I did with the Imus nonsense.

People aren't really upset at the "nigger" thing; they're mad because he was honest about his preferences--he's not really attracted to black women, and has a stereotypical white fratboy's view of them. So what?

People are acting as if black women are fragile children who need validation from everyone at every turn, lest they curl up in the fetal position and cry themselves catatonic.

Folks' hang ups and sexual preferences aren't personal affronts or political statements, and they're certainly none of our damn business.

Anonymous said...