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"I'm Not Racist" is a song by American hip hop recording artist Joyner Lucas. It was released on November 28, 2017 by Atlantic Records. It is controversial for rapping about race and society and depicts a heated discussion about race relations from the perspective of a white man and a black man. Lucas has said that the song's lyrics represent the uncomfortable race talk that people shy away from.Contents
The track features Lucas rapping from a white man's point of view in the first verse, then rapping from a black man's point of view in the second verse, which is notable as Lucas is bi-racial. Both verses are supported by an ambient trip hop beat.Music video
The song was first released as a music video on Lucas' YouTube channel and has since garnered over 80 million views. It was directed by Lucas and Ben Proulx.
The video starts off with a white man wearing a Make America Great Again cap from Donald Trump's presidential campaign opening up about his unfiltered view on the black community, synced to Lucas' first verse. He is talking to a black man in dreadlocks who sits across a table from him. The white man in the MAGA hat mentions a perceived laziness and victim complex in the African American community, and criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement, lamenting that all his "hard-earned" tax payments went into supporting them. He also criticises Eminem, a white rapper, speaking out against Trump, claiming "he ain't white no more", the national anthem protests by notable black athletes, and rips blacks for idolizing rapper Tupac Shakur as compared to Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs, saying that rap music has poisoned their minds. He finishes off by blaming blacks for their treatment by police, saying if they pulled up their pants, took the durag off and put on a suit, and quit blaming the white community and everyone but " own race", then the police would "stop killin' you fucks". When the white man finishes his verse, he claims he is "not racist" due to the fact he has connections to some black people and states he wishes he knew the dreadlocked man's point of view.
The black man with the dreadlocks then states his own unfiltered point of view, synced to Lucas' second verse (Lucas does not physically appear in the video), countering the white man's stereotypes and critiquing the All Lives Matter movement as a "protest to my protest". The black man mentions police brutality in the United States and institutional racism, which gave him no choice but to deal drugs when he was blackballed from getting a decent job, and that his grandmother was a slave and that it still "gets to ". He also mentions the white community's hate for former president Barack Obama and his policies, which led to Trump's election. He then criticises the white community for misconstruing black stereotypes such as fried chicken, barbecue, dance, Kool-aid, and usage of the "N" word and other black slang. Regarding Tupac, the black man defends looking up to him as he carried the struggle of the black community up to his death and welcomes Eminem's freestyle against Trump as Eminem expressed his solidarity with blacks through it. The black man becomes so angry in the process that he flips the table and swats away his white counterpart's MAGA hat, telling him to stop "blaming the blacks and everyone except own race" for the country's problems. At the end of his verse, the black man also claims he is "not racist" and that he wished they could trade shoes.
Following the argument, the two men embrace each other, having heard each other's point of view and desiring to reconcile despite their differences.Critical reception
The video for "I'm Not Racist" went viral within a few days of release. It has been characterized as "polarizing". Some critics have called the video necessary to spark conversation about race by tying in both extremes of the debate, while others criticized it as "cliched" and "cheesy", and that it oversimplified the race debate by reinforcing stereotypes.References