COMMENTARY | One of the aspects of the controversy surrounding the invitation to the White House of gangsta rapper Common that is disturbingly ironic is the artist’s virulent opposition to interracial relationships.
An interview with Common in 2005, published on the Future Producers website, reveals a man who has somewhat disturbing views on not only race relations but relations between the sexes.
“COMMON: In America we’ve got a lot of dreadlocked dudes and all you see them with is white girls. I don’t think there’s anything the matter with somebody loving somebody from another race but it’s almost like a stereotype that if you’ve got dreadlocks you go out with a white girl. I just feel like, as black men, we do have to be aware that, yo, every time we step out with some woman it’s setting an example for our daughters and it’s also representing something for our mothers. If you can’t really love your own, how can you really love others?
“TOUCH: So you don’t agree with mixed race relationships?
“COMMON: I disagree with them. It’s a lack of self-love. It’s a problem.
“TOUCH: Have you ever dated outside your race?
“COMMON: Nah, not dated [giggles].
“TOUCH: Have you slept with anybody outside your race?
“COMMON: Yeah, I definitely have.
“TOUCH: So sleeping with someone outside your race is OK but dating isn’t?
“COMMON: People got their choice. I’m not telling them how to live their lives. I just tell them what I think about and what I feel about certain situations. Dealing with having sex with a white girl is something I have encountered and I’m not acting like white girls and other races are not people. We all people: children of God. But our race has been damaged. Sometimes to get back up to the level of respect and love, you’ve gotta stick with your own for a minute and build a certain amount of strength and community within yours so that other people can respect and honour your traditions.”
The delicious irony is that President Barack Obama is the result of an interracial union that Common, his friend from his days attending Jeremiah Wright’s church, opposes. Indeed, had Barack Obama Sr. followed Common’s philosophy, it is likely that the president would not have been born.
Common’s statements about white women seem to be a little inconsistent. At one point he admits that they are people, children of God, and whatnot. But at another point he suggests that white women are good enough to use for sexual gratification, but not good enough to associate with as people. The rapper bounds this misogyny and racism into racial victim cant that is not only unconvincing but seems to be a cover for attitudes far less edifying than should be assumed by someone invited to the White House.
Turning things around, what if a white artist were to not only make statements against interracial relationships but also suggest that black women are good enough for sexual gratification and little else? One would suspect that person would be rightly condemned as racist and sexist and would not only not be allowed to darken the door of the White House, but would not get any more recording contracts.
This brings us to the subject of the number of alarming people the Obamas seem to count among their circle of friends. Jeremiah Wright, the hate-spewing minister whose church the family went to for decades, has already been mentioned. The Obamas were obliged to drop Rev. Wright like a live hand grenade because the relationship had become too toxic for a man desiring to be president.
Then there is William Ayers, the retired but unrepentant terrorist, one of Obama’s early political advisers. Obama benefited financially from his relationship with convicted racketeer Tony Rezko. It has been argued that no one who rises in the hot house of Chicago politics can avoid knowing unsavory people. But that says as much about President Obama’s suitability to remain president as it does about his rise in Chicago. People who make that kind of excuse are of the same sort who deny Common is a gangsta rapper because he has written verses that are not about cop killing and he has not killed anyone.
Source: Common’s view on interracial relationships, Future Producers, September 25, 2005
Sarah Palin: Barack Obama “Palling Around with Terrorists”, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, October 5, 2008
How close were Barack Obama and Tony Rezko? Edward McClelland, Salon, February 1, 2008