John Mayer is deeply sorry, and everyone is accepting it. Our society allows racism in people as long as there is an apology after. It’s better if it is tearful and really should be accompanied by an icon like Rev. Al Sharpton or Bishop Desmond Tutu in your corner, like they have your back. Like they are gonna notarize your ‘hood pass.’
I am angry about the hateful word he used. And I am super mad about the other thing….What does it mean that he has a “David Duke cock?” Is that supposed to mean that women of color are not sexy and beautiful? That women of color are unfuckable to him? That is rude and disgusting and I don’t care if his music is good (I don’t know it well, so I can’t say. I only love Jon Brion and Garrison Starr and Ani Difranco and Grant Lee Phillips and Tegan and Sara and Cypress Hill and Billie Holliday and Doria Roberts and Fiona Apple and Joan Armatrading and MIA and The Cliks and Miles Davis and David Bowie and Ben Lee and Susie Suh and Rachael Yamagata and Andrew Bird and I don’t know much about how John Mayer sounds).
What I do know, is to say you have a ‘David Duke cock’ is demeaning to women of color. What I know is it’s a slap in the face to all beautiful women of color. And I must say, it’s hard enough to be a woman of color in this world and feel beautiful. It’s hard enough to live in this skin and feel good without having rock stars saying that you are not worthy. We feel unworthy enough. Society tells us enough we are not worth it, by not including us in anything. By not showing us in our glory. We are not presented in the movies or TV as much as beautiful desirable creatures. We are barely shown at all. And then you – John Mayer – rock ‘god’ tell us that we are not fuckable? I don’t care if you don’t want to fuck me. But keep this to yourself. Keep the idea that you don’t like to fuck women of color to yourself. Keep it from our ears because we don’t need to hear that the man who would say “your body is a wonderland” really only means it if our bodies are white, if our hair is blonde. If we are Jessica Simpson. And only if we are Jessica Simpson.
Keep this from the ears of all the young beautiful young girls who love you, who have your posters on their walls and now are looking at those posters and feeling weird because they are not white and now your music, which they so loved, makes them feel bad inside. Like you don’t love them. Like you never did. Like if you saw them you would look the other way. Like they’d be invisible to you because they are not white. These young girls who are not white – they loved your music so much and you are paying them back for it with arrogance and blistering hatred that you don’t even know would hurt like it did. I am glad not to have known your music before this and been a fan of it, because if I loved you before and you said that, it would make me hate myself even more than I do already. This revelation of yours would have crushed me. If I was a young fan of yours and you said that it would hurt me so much. Thank god I am not. Was not. But I am hurting now for the many many many many many young girls who are fans of yours. You wounded them and they will never be able to heal. Ever. I hope you read this. I hope you think about this part of it. it’s not been talked about in press. But I hope you know that part. The young girls who love you who are not white. Think about them. So it keeps you from doing it again.
I try to think about Duran Duran, and how I loved them and how they always had women of color as objects of desire in their videos. In “Hungry like the Wolf,” Simon was chasing down a beautiful black/asian mixed girl. In “Rio,” she was latino with curvy hips and black hair and a bright bright smile. If they’d said something back then like what you said John Mayer, I would have killed myself. I would have died. If they said only white girls got them hard, it would have been the end of me.
It’s sickening to think that we can exist in a world where these words of hate can be cast off quickly without repercussion or blame. People forget. But that doesn’t make racism go away. It infuriates me because I can’t cast off my ethnicity with an apology. These are people who have never been discounted because of their race. They’ve never been left out of a comedy show because they’ve already got an asian or a gay or a woman. They’ve never been passed over for a part because the producers decided not to ‘go ethnic.’ They’ve never had to endure the invisibility that people of color live with on a daily basis.
I am so used to being invisible it stuns me when people pay attention to what I say. I am so used to blending into the scenery that it’s shocking that anyone cares what I do. I am so used to people looking at me like I am ‘the help’ that it doesn’t even bother me. I just stay there and I try to help. And I don’t care. These stars who toss about racist hateful speech have never felt what it feels like to be called something hateful – that they cannot deny. They’ve never been in that situation, when you are a victim of hate, but you have to agree. That is what racism is. What hate speech is. Why it’s so terrible is that the word you may have called me – it’s correct, in your racist estimation. It hurts because its meant to. That is why we don’t use those words. Because of the history and the pain and the shame and the tears and the rage they have caused.
Even though I love Lenny Bruce, I do have to say, I disagree when he says that these words can’t hurt you. I think they do. They hurt me. When people use hate speech, it hurts me. It hurts even though I am not that particular race. It hurts because I know what it feels like to be in an inescapable skin. I can’t escape this color. I can’t be the right color. I can never.
It could be hard too for those who are not ‘of color.’ I am never going to be white, and I’m never going to know what it feels like to have the responsibility of not being a racist. I guess I feel bad for white people sometimes because they do have to watch what they say, but then again, it really doesn’t matter does it? Michael Richards is back on tv, and it’s cool. Everyone’s forgotten his terrifying, violent rant that to me sounded like what klansmen would say before they lynched someone in the 30s. I don’t know him, and I don’t know personally that he’s a racist. All I know is that in the two times that I have seen him in public, close enough to touch, he has been screaming at someone, and those people were not white. I guess he was sorry because he got caught doing what he normally does and it was on TMZ and it made him look bad to the world. He was super sorry about it. Way super sorry. And that is nice that he was sorry. He even went to Mexico behind it, as if there was some special retreat for racists there where you could read bell hooks and Angela Davis and Cornel West all day and think about what is wrong with you and right with them.
Dog the Bounty Hunter never left the small screen. His racism was kind of just buried under that amazing mullet. I don’t know if he is racist, but I think his hair is racist.
And Mel Gibson never had to stop making movies. He is even in a big one now. Really big. And no one mentions a thing.
Does racism hurt your career or is it good for it? I don’t know. If I was white, I think I would try to be as racist as possible because it keeps you current. Keeps you relevant. People will tweet about you more. People will be outraged but you’ll still be on the homepage of Yahoo and everyone will want to know exactly what you said, when you said it, and how you said it. And aint that showbiz?