In 2010, I heard Minneapolis-based hip hop artist, Brother Ali, speak at a forum on the role of hip-hop in politics. As an extremely politically conscious lyricist and performer, Ali had much to say about how the United States operates as a government entity and how we as citizens operate within that same institution. During the Q&A session, he offered some very real perspectives on the role of white people in Black-focused political movements and circles–like hip-hop–and noted that when he speaks critically of particular types of white folks who, possibly can’t see past their privilege to be a humbled and engaged ally, they should really check themselves. For the white people who may bristle at any criticism against the institution of whiteness (which is what most “white criticism” boils down to), he recommended, “If it don’t apply, let if fly.” Meaning, as a white person, if you hear someone being critical of a particular type of white person for engaging in some problematic acts of privilege, don’t take offense and shut down the lines of communication if you don’t fit the bill of that description.
This blog touches on a lot of issues at a level of analysis that may only be appropriate in a university classroom, though I try to speak about things in a real and accessible sort of way. Outside of the realm of academia, it may seem like elitist, pretentious idealism–and in some respects, it is, but everything I write comes from a sincere place and not one of hate or prejudice. So as you read through these posts, whether you’re white or otherwise, please be mindful of the fact that it is: a) my blog-so I am free to draw out these criticisms as I see fit. Obviously you don’t have to agree with me, but I try as best I can to think these things out thoroughly before I post and be as fair and sensitive as possible; and b) if you find yourself becoming offended, confused, hurt, or possibly angry-“assess yourself,” meaning do some self-reflection and if you don’t see yourself in the criticisms I’m making, then there’s not much need for you to feel those aforementioned things. If you do, by chance, see yourself in some of these critiques, I would then suggest figuring out how you can raise your social and political consciousness to a greater level that results in productive action and not self-aggrandizing complacency.