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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Crackers by Chris Rock

It's taken 6 years for this music video to get out. If the title doesn't give you a clue why it's taken so long to get out, everything from 27 seconds on will.

Oh it's a parody of Outkast's Hey Ya music video alright. And it's dripping with sarcasm. I couldn't stop laughing the first time I saw it. In fact I'm surprised that Chris Rock made it. Bold is not the word.

The best thing about this video is what is being said. More than the insult that's the catch-phrase of the video. It's going to the heart of serveral issues.

But let's look at the catch-phrase for a second. Some Whites will be offended by being called a cracker. Which I can understand as it is offensive. But how is that different than calling a Black person the N-word? Isn't Rock "re-inventing" the meaning, just as Whites (and ignorant African Americans who likewise have no clue of the meaning and power of the term) claim when they use the term freely as if it were meaningless? If some Whites are offended, how in the hell do these same people not expect at least some African Americans to be offended?

The video goes deeper though. There is history in this. Lot's of it. They may not cover lynchings and rapes of African Americans for centuries of American history in school, but this video reminds us that it happened. Some of it far less than a century ago (the last attempted lynching on record was in 2005, and one of the more recent travesties of White on Black violence was the Megan Williams case in West Virginia - which the major media convienently avoided).

Oh this video cuts to the bone. It's not to kind to those that would adorn themselves with the N-word either.

There is just too much symbolism and truth to this music video parody. But is it racist, which it is sure to be called? I don't think so.

Slave rape, police brutality in regard to people of color, lynchings (as recent as 1981), popularization of demeaning terminology, commoditization of Black culture, insane degrees of disparity in economic and social status, and the willful disregard for inclusion of people of color in the entertainment industry are just a few facts this video hits on. If you covered all these topics in a speech, a lecture, or as I have from time to time on this blog, it's not racist. The fact it's all in 4 minutes of a music video, with more than a touch of humor and a slashing sarcasm makes it no more racist.

Chris Rock should take a bow. This music video parody is brilliant.

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