“The white man has to be free to say what’s on his mind without the negro getting angry and the negro has to be free to say what’s on his mind without the white man getting angry”-Malcolm X
In a 7 minute video, a middle american white man and a young black male trade what appears to be the worst indictments of each other’s race and culture inside of a volcanic track. The video is a kind of exorcism of the other’s cultural stereotypes. The white guy opens up with a an honest admission of dislike for black men and derides them as lazy deadbeats. He expounds on their perceived racial hypocrisy surrounding the use of the “N word.” He continues his assault on the tendency within black culture to lionize mindless consumption over self improvement. No one is spared; not even the patron saint of the thug life. He reloads and unloads on the persistent narrative of slavery as the context of black oppression but shrewdly brings the argument back to the tried and true conservative maxims of personal accountability. The old “my taxes pays for your lazy welfare induced lifestyle” is trotted out as an additional slug into the black carcass. He concludes each line with a qualification: “i’m not racist,” which is based on an interracial relationship of a family member. He also targets the tendency of blacks to lean toward sports and entertainment instead of science and math based disciplines. Singing an ode to the cliche admonitions of personal responsibility, he wraps up his bars with an outcry of confusion and misunderstanding. (There’s two sides to every story, I wish that I knew yours)
Next, his black co-emcee takes the mic and opens with an honest confession of dislike and distrust of the collective white society. He admits the inconsistencies and validates the hypocrisies around the word nigger (Sorry! but that N word shit gets on my nerves…lol). He launches into a verbal flurry about the consequences of structural inequality and the impulse in the American psyche towards domination and empire. He tells an all too familiar tale of struggle and his feeble attempts at resistance by selling drugs. He concludes with the line: “it’s two sides to every story, and know you know mine.”
But do we? Do we in fact know the complete sides of both stories. No! This is because the complete sides of both stories cannot be encapsulated inside of a 7 minute racial therapy session. The amazing thing is that both of these man sound just alike. Each side speaks of an incessant urge to blame the problems of their respective races on everyone but themselves. And thus, each side becomes the scapegoat for the other’s tale of woe. In his eloquently honest diatribe, the white guy fails to mention that government intervention in the form of weak policies of his predecessors created the very culture that he is wailing against. Simply put, black people didn’t create welfare. Welfare is a creation of white society. It is a poor answer to the mass concentration of wealth into the hands of the few. He like wise fails to mention that the nigger is a creation of white society. It is the pet project of those who sought a come up by avoiding the labor intensive practices necessary to achieve economic independence. So if the avoidance of work for a life of leisure is his standard for a deadbeat or a nigger, then on behalf of all the niggers in the world, the collective western world should acknowledge their darker kinsmen with a hearty smile and a handshake because they’re simply niggers of different hues.
Does this mean that the black man’s retort is the more complete side to the story? Hell no! What the black man failed to say to the white man is that his welfare induced lifestyle is a sign of acquiescence to the forces that are destructive to his existence. All of the partying and bullshit is a shallow attempt to celebrate a short, uneventful, but utterly meaningless life. He suffers from what Dr. Huey P. Newton called the impoverishment of the spirit. In other words, he has been broken. His lifestyle is a tacit admission that he now accepts his destiny to face oblivion. As he continues his diatribe against white people, the black dude reveals a fallacy that is common to both sides of the argument: the idea that both sides got it too good. While white people may be given the benefit of the doubt as far as law enforcement is concerned, the benefit has not prevented them from suffering from massive wealth inequality in the form of: home foreclosures, inadequate health-care, the replacement of stable employment with temporary low paying non-benefit jobs, massive bankruptcies and ever decreasing wages. This is accompanied by an expanding underclass of formerly middle-class white people who are now finding their residence in the same ghettos as the people they despise.
In truth, while each person’s story is told to the other, it’s not the complete side. Because for the complete story to be told, both of them will have to venture outside of their racial comfort zones. Because if they put aside their racial antagonisms for a minute, they will discover that both of their cultures are equally as ratchet as the other. Both guys are right. They’re not racist. This is simply Archie Bunker and George Jefferson having a conversation in 2017. And after all of the venom from their cultural disses, they discover that they really don’t hate each other. They are two guys that are just too afraid to confront who and what is really the source of their problem: the politicians and their paymasters
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