“Rolled up to the parking lot, parked it…zipped up my parka…joined the procession of marchers…In my head like this is awkward…should I even be here marchin…thinkin if they can’t, how can I breathe…if they chant, what do I say…I wanna take a stance cuz we are not free…and then I thought about it, we are not we…”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have sparked quite the conversation this morning with their new 8 & a half minute song White Privilege II featuring Jamila Woods. I was immediately intrigued by it. Seeing white men take on the subject of white privilege is interesting. The song is about how Macklemore & many white people benefit from white privilege, especially in relation to Black Lives Matter & Black culture.
Over the years Macklemore has been slammed by the Black community for his perceived white privilege. He came out & was proclaimed by pop culture this great rapper & won awards over MCs like Kendrick Lamar, who he admitted should have won. I will admit that I held a similar view & held it against him. Black people have been discussing white privilege for quite some time & many white people have waved it off as ridiculous. Now that Macklemore has come forward perhaps they will actually listen.
White privilege is not that white people have no problems, never suffer & are given everything easily. It is that in relation to minorities white people enjoy many advantages that are based on a preference for whiteness & not merit. For example, people with “white” sounding names being more likely to get job interviews or white people receiving lighter sentences than Black people. White is the standard in this country by which everything else is measured. Obviously being the standard or normal thing will always be an advantage. It’s the assumption of goodness versus the stereotyping of minorities of being less & more trouble. We’ve seen it in the conversation of the Oscars. Privilege is real in many different categories. What Macklemore has chosen to do is accept that he is a benificiary of white privilege & use that privilege to inform others.
The song is very thought-provoking & I’m sure the visual will match. We’ll be hearing a lot about it for a while. I’m sure quite a few people will be upset by it. He raps, “Think about it…you’ve exploited & stolen the music, the moment, the magic, the passion, the fashion…you toy with the culture was never…yours to make better…you’re Miley, you’re Elvis, you’re Iggy Azalea…make it so plastic you’ve heisted the magic…you’ve taken the drums & the accent…”.
Along with the song Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have started a website called www.whiteprivilege2.com where you can get background & stream the song. Listen to White Privilege II below: