Wednesday, February 10, 2010


In the March edition of Playboy Magazine, John Mayer made the following comments about dating Black women:

john  mayer

PLAYBOY: Do black women throw themselves at you?

MAYER: I don’t think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock. I’m going to start dating separately from my dick.

Personally, I’m not offended that John Mayer isn’t attracted to Black women. Like all people, he’s entitled to his preferences, even if they’re different than mine. I’m also not going to hastily throw the “racist” label at Mayer, who most likely thought that his “Black pass” (i.e. cultural insider status) allowed him to make edgy comments that cannot (and should not) be made by ordinary white artists. In his attempt at humor, Mayer nonetheless reinforces racist thinking and reduces White supremacy to a (bad) punch line. One of the affordances of white privilege is being able to say things that cause hurt to people of color, and then appeal to your “heart” (or hip-hop collaborations) as proof you’re not racist. Again, I’m not calling Mayer a racist –I don’t know him– but his comments were certainly racially irresponsible. Next time, John, just say “Everybody has their preferences. Black women haven’t been mine.” Then, no harm, no foul.

As far as Black people go, I worry that our outrage is also connected to our constant need for White approval. Why should we really care whether or not John Mayer, or any other White boy, wants to sleep with Black women? If anything, we should focus on the lack of self-love –another outgrowth of White supremacy– that often informs Black men’s decision to avoid Black women. (Imagine if more brothers had Marcus Garvey hearts and Malcom X penises!) Also, Black people should be more careful about the White artists to whom we ascribe “honorary Black” status. It always seems to come back to bite us on the ass. Remember Justin Timberlake?


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