On this blog I have a tag “racism.” I think I mentioned this before, maybe around the time I noticed “are die antwoord racist” in my blog search stats, but I tag stuff “racism” when I think it has potential to stimulate dialog on the subject of race.
I tagged my last post, on Antoine Dodson, “racism.” At the time I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it actually had to do with race, but I thought about it a bit and here’s what I came up with:
I questioned whether it was racist to broadcast the interview, to make a song out of it, to post it on my blog, to be entertained by any of it. I concluded that I don’t think it is racist in itself, to be entertained by Antoine Dodson’s interview.
The racially-charged aspect comes from associating Antoine’s attitude and speech and appearance with blackness. Or from associating the projects with blackness.
So the reason it felt racist, why I felt uncomfortable, is because I wondered how many people thought it was funny because it was “black.” But actually, blackness isn’t directly related to Antoine’s comportment in the video. Blackness may– most likely does– have a historical connection to the fact that he lives in the projects, etc. But he wasn’t “acting black,” or like he’s from the projects. He was just acting like Antoine Dodson.
So why is the video funny then? Because he’s over the top, I guess. He’s completely hamming it up. And his sister’s kind of downplaying it.
If anyone’s ever wondered why I talk about race so much, it’s because I’m a white person from the South with an antebellum family history. My family members owned slaves, fought for the South in the Civil War, and my family members complied with, and probably defended, segregation. It’s something I think about a lot, and something I see the impact of in many facets of US society (not just in the South). Thinking about race is an exercise I use to try to make myself a better person, I guess. Aside from the fact that racism in the US, and in most places, is a subject that I think still gets downplayed a lot.