Please allow me to define you.

So now it’s John Mayer.  He said ‘nigger’ in an interview with Playboy.  He talked about his penis being a white supremacist and then went on to say some offensive things about black women and particularly actress Kerry Washington.  He’s been apologizing for it, of course: on Twitter, in his concerts, in subsequent interviews.  Of course.  And it’s annoying and it pisses me off, but as Jay points out (see below), I really can’t be spending all my energy on this kind of crap.  There are more important places for me to work.

True.  Completely true.  But then there’s this other bit of the interview, the part I found the most offensive:

“What is being black? It’s making the most of your life, not taking a single moment for granted. Taking something that’s seen as a struggle and making it work for you, or you’ll die inside,” he stated. “Not to say that my struggle is like the collective struggle of black America. But maybe my struggle is similar to one black dude’s.”

No, it’s not the arrogance of this ridiculous young, white man saying his struggle can be equated to the struggle of black people — or even of ‘one black dude’ — although that’s entirely gag-worthy.  No, my gag reflex is triggered earlier in the quote, when he asks, “What is being black?” and proceeds to answer his question.

Yes, thank you John Mayer for defining my race for me, for helping me to understand what ‘being black’ means.  I have often found that, as a black person, I’m not able to figure out who I am or what I think until some white person — preferably one who is significantly younger than I am and who can have no real idea of what my experience might be — comes along and tells me.  If only I didn’t now know that your penis is David Duke, I might try throwing myself at you in gratitude. <<sigh>>


One man’s intelligent take on the whole issue (though I wish he’d spent more time on the “stereotypes about sex, race and desirability” part).

And another man’s intelligent take on not making this be the issue:


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