The question is simple; yet, the answer reeks of complexity. I don’t think I’m a racist. I frequently hold open doors for black kids. Just yesterday, I slowed down so a middle aged Mexican could merge into my lane. These strike me as sensible and decent things to do. But as a pretty serious music fan, it seems odd I’d only have eight rap songs (nine if you let me count “Hey Ya” by Outkast) on my iPod. Sure, I only have one techno song (DJ Yoeri’s “Fuck On Cocaine”), but wide-pupiled pseudo-hippy bozos with glow sticks and stashes of ecstasy hardly wield the same cultural relevance as an entire generation of disenchanted, fast-talking urban youths.

Trick Daddy’s gonna mop up the floor with ‘em. He’s gonna kick in the door and let his ‘44 get ‘em. Why? What have these unnamed men done to you, Trick? Why not sit down and discuss your anger issues with a moderately-priced therapist? My excuse has always been that I loathe violence, and since a large percentage of rap music advocates the pistol whipping of fellow human beings, my annoyance seems rational. And I do. I hate punching people in the face, arguably, more than disgraced Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson relished it. Why does anyone like Trick Daddy?

Juvenile wants you to back that ass up. Call him big daddy when you back that ass up. Oh, the loose woman. Rap’s second favorite topic of conversation. Like the sirens of Greek Mythology, she’s worshiped for her willingness to seduce, even color life with hues of passion and lust, yet she’s chastised for her well, willingness to seduce, even color life with hues of passion and lust. It’s a Catch-22 of promiscuous proportions. I don’t get it, club sluts and dance hall whores, I mean. Where’s the appeal? I’ll be the first to admit I like fornicating. You know, having sex and fucking and the allure of the milkshake. It’s neat-o, but I still don’t share the fascination with sliding your member into some overused and ravaged sinkhole, while desperately praying your Trojan holds both flanks, thus preventing you from years of baby mama drama. I don’t know. Maybe I’m gay. Why does anyone like Juvenile?

So, if I despise violence and loathe passed around pussy, than hating rap music wouldn’t make me a racist. In fact, my ire would be warranted, even logical. Right? Not quite. I wish it was that simple. The truth is I’m a big hypocrite. The worst. A real two-timing phony. Holden Caulfield would fucking hate me.

Johnny Cash shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. Now, when he hears that whistle blowin’, he hangs his head and cries. And you know what? I love him for it. I think he’s a badass. He doesn’t take shit from the man, and hearing him express it in song, makes my testosterone fire. Yeah, I know I said I hated violence, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like hearing Johnny Cash talk about pulling out his shotgun. It’s different. It’s exciting, and somehow, it seems acceptable when he spews vindictive hatred. I wish I was Johnny Cash.

Robert Plant doesn’t know what he’s been told, a big-legged woman ain’t got no soul. Now, he watches your honey drip, and he can’t keep away. I can get on board with that. I also don’t advocate sleeping with fat chicks but whole-heartedly enjoy watching the honey drip off busty coeds. It’s a totally acceptable leisure activity, right up there with playing golf and watching Wimbledon. Yeah, I know I said I hated singing about club sluts, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like hearing Robert Plant wax poetic about cumming inside females. It’s different. He’s just a blonde-haired rock star. Women throw themselves at him. I wish I was Robert Plant.

I must be a racist. There’s no other possible explanation. How can I chastise certain qualities of rap music, all the while lauding those same intricacies in rock music? Should I cut a few slits in my kitchen table and practice burning crosses? I’m not sure what my next play is here, but wait! Hold up. I’m still unwilling to even entertain the possibility that I may secretly want black people to move back to Africa. Otis Redding! I love Otis Redding! And Jimi Hendrix and Louis Armstrong and Aretha Franklin and the guy from Gnarls Barkley! What about the Temptations? “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”, that’s a hell of a song. It’s even on my iTunes Top 25. I told you, you judgmental asshole.

I don’t hate black music; I hate rap music. That’s an important distinction. MoTown, The Blues, unsynchronized dancing; we wouldn’t have any of these things without black musicians. I guess it all comes down to the ability to relate. When I hear Aretha Franklin bellow on (in an ungodly perfect pitch) about respect, I can smile and sooth myself in the knowledge that we just both want a little respect. Even as I listen to Jimi Hendrix talk about his friend goin’ down to shoot his old lady (he caught her messin’ around with another man), I can empathize with the pain, the betrayal he feels. Sure, blowin’ away your woman for playing with a foreign watchtower is a little excessive, but the rage and heartbreak is still easily applied to my life.

Not so with rap music. I’ve never seen a drive-by, never seen a gun pulled in anger. I’ve never even been pulled over for looking suspicious (but I do frequently have 99 problems without a bitch being one). So, all of the sentiments, the situations rappers dissect are foreign. The inner city might as well be Oz to me. I just don’t get it, and more than likely, I never will. So, when I hear Fred Durst rant about someone leaving with a blood stain, it’s exponentially more tangible to me than 50 Cent rambling on about getting shot eight times in cold blood.

So, I’m not a racist. Or I am. I’ll probably never know for sure, but I’m going to go ahead and choose ‘not a racist.’ It’ll help me sleep tonight.

Am I A Racist?

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