Somebody who knows how much I <3 Das Racist sent me a link to this HTML Giant article today.
Lily Hoang wrote this article about one lyric from the song “Hahaha jk” by Das Racist. The lyric goes like this, “I’m not racist, I love white people!”
Hoang says it would be offensive for a white person to say, “I’m not racist, I love _____ people” (insert non-white ethnicity). But, because Das Racist has the “race card” at their disposal they can get away with it and “it’s not only funny, it comes to embody a certain degree of truth.” Interestingly (and confusingly?) Hoang says she chose to write about this lyric, “Partially because it’s true, partially because it speaks to racial issues in a very pointed and problematic way.” (It’s the ‘partially because it’s true’ part that confuses me…. how does she know whether Das Racist actually loves white people? Isn’t it a little bizarre to make claims of certainty about what another you’ve never met may or may not believe?)
Anyway, she argues that as an Asian woman she could herself say, “I’m not racist, I love white people” and mean it, and it wouldn’t be problematic. This is because it represents “racial assimilation” on her part. It makes her uncomfortable when Das Racist uses the phrase because “it goes without saying that such a pointed lyric is in fact racist, even if it serves to undermine racism.” Huh? Does it really go without saying? Why, because they still seem ‘really not white’ and haven’t assimilated? So they should assimilate more, and then they can say it? Isn’t saying that racists?
Later in the song Das Racist make a list of things that are presumably “white” foods, which is pretty much the only thing she offers as evidence for the ‘obvious racism’ of the lyric (though she doesn’t actually draw that connection explicitly, given that she thinks it’s self-evident, apparently).
What’s really funny is that to make her point, she’s like no but seriously guys, I really do love white people. As evidence of this she lists a few things, including that her favorite writers are white, and that “most of [her] clothes come from the Gap or Banana Republic” and she isn’t even an expert in Asian American literature (so white, right? bye).
Umm… how is calling Banana Republic a ‘really white’ store any better than Das Racist suggesting Slim Jims and Sour Patch kids are white food? Is it because, as she asserts, she actually likes white people? Who’s saying Das Racist doesn’t, even if in this particular instance it’s said in a joking manner?
“White people luv Slim Jims”- Das Racist
“White people luv Banana Republic” – Lily Hoang
“One of these things is not like the other”- Lily Hoang
“Lol wut?”- everyone else
In attempting to point out the inherent racism of this lyric she’s actually done the same exact thing she’s critiquing, which is ironic because it was likely done in earnest. Das Racist doesn’t ‘get away’ with saying this because they aren’t white or white-assimilated, non-white people. They get away with it because it’s harmless and funny and no one cares.
Towards the end of the article Hoang asks us if “a white person could stand up and call them racist without having a bunch of non-white people turning around and calling the white people racist”. She’s probably right that most people—whites and non-whites alike—would laugh at this person. But not because the race card has been pulled (thus, as she suggest, nullifying their logical argument); no, because it’s as innocuous and, well, non-racist as her saying that Banana Republic is a white store.
PS if you want to know Das Racist’s personal take on what is racist, PLEASE watch this video immediately. Includes reference to their “white devil gradient” and also this quote:
While we’re on the subject, if I see anyone on the train with a Kindle or an iPad I will straight lunch tray slap that shit out of your hand. Let alone the fact that I’ve never seen a person of color on the train with a Kindle. And that’s not because everyone knows people of color can’t read.
Seriously, the funniest thing you will ever watch, and a refreshingly light take on racism after reading that article.
This entry was posted on Monday, March 21st, 2011 at 8:49 am and is filed under Music. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.