"Is Stephin Merritt a racist because he doesn't like hip-hop?"
floydianslip127 at yahoo.com
Fri May 12 13:18:14 EDT 2006
Black guy here who loves to ROCK! am i racist? lol
CHECK OUT MY BAND!
"If we are nothing at all in the end, let it be that we were true to ourselves." -e. peace
----- Original Message ----
From: Duncan Murrell <duncan at rattlejar.com>
To: RTP-area local music and culture <ch-scene at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, May 12, 2006 10:34:59 AM
Subject: Re: "Is Stephin Merritt a racist because he doesn't like hip-hop?"
In one of those posts someone (Steve Albini?) touched on this, but
what's the answer when you reverse the question: Are you _not_ a
racist if you love music made by people who don't look like you?
I've met plenty of crackers here in New Orleans who don't just like,
but LOVE everything even passingly associated with "black" music.
They would leap into a puddle and let Ellis Marsalis walk on their
backs so as not to soil his shoes, they go "into the hood" (as they
say) to see brass bands or Kermit Ruffins at Vaughns, Fats Domino can
just stand on the stage for a couple of minutes and the entire city
goes wild. And even Juvenile (hometown hero) packed the joint at
JazzFest. DJ Soul Sistah is a local radio legend who plays to an
almost exclusively white crowd at a place called Mimi's on Sunday
I won't generalize about these fans, but I will say (and I'm sure
that anyone familiar with the history of jazz and the blues already
knows this) that loving music made by black musicians does not
inoculate against racism. I sense myself about to get caught in a
logical fallacy, so I'll stop. But at least we know that if Stephin
Merritt loved hip-hop, we'd still know nothing about his racial
attitudes. Thus, the whole question seems foolish.
And, anyway, his critics seem to be privileging what's popular,
leaving this question: is it possible that Stephin Merritt's bigger
problem is with the state of popular music in general, of which
"black" music is, and always has been in America, a significant part?
Albini gets at that question directly. What if he didn't love my
favorite salsa and Cuban bands? Or what if he really dislikes Django
Reinhardt and new gypsy swing? Does he hate gypsies? They've limited
the question to concern only that music that falls within their own
experience and taste, and is that any less "racist" by their silly
It's hard not to wonder whether they're just not pissed that he
doesn't like their favorite acts.
On May 12, 2006, at 8:41 AM, grady wrote:
> Probably already discussed to death on that other, hipper music list
> you're all on, but it's Friday and I got precious little to do at work
> at present:
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