(The Champ’s latest at Complex on Kendrick Lamar, GQ, and the psychology of dealing with racism)
If you don’t get how (Top Dawg Entertainment CEO) Anthony Tiffith found the racial undertones in the piece to be so problematic that he pulled Kendrick Lamar from performing at a party honoring Kendrick Lamar, you’re likely thinking Tiffith was being sensitive. Maybe you, like me, didn’t see any racial undertones in the profile. Or, maybe you also kinda, sorta, did see them. Either way, you probably don’t see what the big deal was.
You don’t get it.
This, this “nigga neurosis,” has a way of allowing race to color our interactions with non-Black people and/or institutions. Because we’re aware of the context behind both America’s relationship with race and our own relationships with America’s relationship with race, we have a tendency to question whether things (good or bad) happened (or didn’t happen) because we’re Black. Sometimes these things are (relatively) innocuous. Sometimes they’re not.
A waitress is short with me and fucks up my order. Is she just a shitty waitress, or is she acting shittily because I’m Black? Is my credit history or my Blackness the reason I wasn’t approved for that bank loan? Did I earn that promotion, or are they just filling a quota? Did he just randomly walk up and ask me where he could find black-eyed peas, or did he ask me because I’m Black and I look like I would know where he could find some black-eyed peas? Was I stopped…and searched…and “accidentally” shot because I’m Black, or did the officer just accidentally mistake his pistol for a taser?
After a lifetime of this, of training your ears to detect and distinguish racial dog whistles, you get how someone could read a relatively laudatory piece written by a White journalist and find disturbing racial overtones. Even if other Black people don’t see it, we get it. We get why he’s seeing what he’s seeing. We get why he’s upset about it, even if we might not have been. And, we get how an insistence that nothing is there, that this is all in your head, that you’re playing the race card, that you’re overreacting, that you’re being too sensitive, that “since I don’t see what you say you’re seeing, it must not be there” can make you want to shout.
(Read the rest at Complex)