Upon receiving one of those highly coveted “American Music Awards” awards Sunday night, YouTube rapper Macklemore took his valuable national airtime to voice his concerns about just how many kids are supposedly being murdered directly because of the racial profiling that took place in the Trayvon Martin case.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” And due to the fact that we are in Florida tonight accepting this award, I want to acknowledge Trayvon Martin and the hundreds and hundreds of kids each year that are dying due to racial profiling and the violence that follows it.
This is really happening. These are our friends, our neighbors, our peers, and our fans, and it’s time that we look out for the youth and fight against racism and the laws that protect it.”
Wow. Remember that game from Office Space — “Jump to Conclusions“? Macklemore would be so good at that!
Exactly how many cases of over-zealous Latino neighborhood watchmen shooting young black kids (after being attacked and punched by the aforementioned young black kids) have you read about in the past year? Decade? Extrapolating out from the Trayvon Martin situation that the biggest threat facing young minorities is racial profiling is, in my opinion, just about the least helpful thing Macklemore could have said Sunday night.
Racism exists. People racially profile each other every day of the week. Our hearts break for any parent who loses any child. We all want better lives for young people of any ethnic or socio-economic background. But to jump from such a specific example to a convoluted point that borders on inciting rebellion is wildly irresponsible (at best).
No one is allowed to talk candidly about race in this country. We’re still living in the shadows of previous generations who legitimately had to deal with institutional racism. But gone are the days of peaceful protests and “turn the other cheek.” Now all we seem to hear are race-baiting pundits, political scam artists and blowhard entertainers who think they’re being rebeliious by saying what every other entertainer not named Gary Sinise agrees with.
Laws are not holding anyone back from achieving great things in this country. The No. 1 predictor of things like poverty and time spent in jail is whether or not the person in question comes from a single-parent home or not. When nearly 75 percent of all black kids are born out of wedlock, and Macklemore wants applause for pointing to George Zimmerman’s acquittal as the reason for racial upheavel in the nation, forgive me if I ask him to stick to singing about thrift store purchases.
I know there are a lot of frustrated young people out there. I can’t imagine what it must be like to come from a broken home in the inner city. All I know is that what Macklemore said was preposterous and sets back any real effort to connect with America’s youth regarding ways to enact real change in their lives and neighborhoods. We need (and they deserve) better.