American Literature II
September 18th, 2018
Macklemore’s song “White Privilege” is uniquely conflicting because it relates to living in America as a Caucasian and being silent towards racial injustices. It brings up a number of important yet unmentioned opinions of most Caucasians in America. Unfortunately, his perspective does not fully comprehend what an African American goes through in America. He talks about being confused about how or even when to speak up on things such as racial injustices and what is right. But the question is, what exactly is right in America, from anyone standpoint when we are simply not in each other shoes. What role does the Caucasian American play in the struggling fight of African Americans in America regarding injustice?
But they see through it all, people believe you now?
You said publicly, “rest in peace, Mike Brown”You speak about equality, but do you really mean it?Are you marching for freedom, or when it’s convenient? (verse 2, lines 20 – 23)
These point of views were definitely something that needed to be talked about but his approach was a little questionable. For instance, what is he really saying here? Is it wrong to show Blacks our support because of the unjust killing of an African American teenage boy due to the fact that Black people will see “through” our public condolences? Or should we not pick and choose what unjust African American story to show sympathy and grievance towards as a White person. That is one of the most conflicting and confusing parts of the song because of the perspective of the Artist and my personal opinion.
I do relate to this song though because I felt exactly how he raps in Verse 1 lines 9 through 13. It talks about how his thoughts and he felt while being in a black lives matter protest.
And then I thought about it, we are not “we”Am I in the outside looking in, or am I in the inside looking out?Is it my place to give my two cents?Or should I stand on the side and shut my mouth (verse 1, lines 9 – 13).
I have never personally been to a protest or peace rally before but I do wonder just what I would say or how I would conduct myself at one. One reason is that I wonder how much my opinion even matters. I have been silent towards the majority of the injustices faced in America simply because I can not relate and have not personally faced any injustices myself. That does not make injustices in America right, I just simply cannot voice what I have not experienced because I believe I do not hold the perspective to do so. That’s like trying to describe what the world looks like to a blind person. They have never seen the world before and one person’s opinion of it simply cannot suffice its true description.
In conclusion, white privilege is not whether we are “good” or “bad” people. White people who are awful can still have privileges and people of color can be amazing and not have those privileges. Being white, it is never my intent to make use of the unearned benefits I receive on a daily basis because of the color of my skin. Most white Americans go through days not thinking about the color of their skin or why it even matters. Macklemore’s take on this song is valuable because it is a firsthand account of what goes through a white activist’s head who cares about black discrimination. It is almost refreshing to see someone recognize how to amplify other people’s voices without walking on top of them. Macklemore recognizes that he is guilty of co-opting the black culture. But he wants to help the movement for racial equality. “White Privilege” doesn’t end with Macklemore’s thoughts, it concludes with commentary about the Black Lives Matter movement meaning.
Macklemore, and Ryan Lewis. “White Privilege.” Macklemore. Ryan Lewis, 2016. MP3.