Eminem: An analysis, perspective, thinkpiece, blog post.....

Whatever you want to call it this is a write up on Eminem. My sense of not necessarily being too concerned with the nuance of the title gives credence into how I feel about him.  Eminem is an odd figure in the canon of hip-hop due to the distinct path that he moves on. Let's get a couple ideas out of the way because I think they matter. He is not the first successful white rapper, nor is he the first. He's also not the first controversial white rapper. With the white history out of the way, for the remainder of this blog post I want you to view the person I'm talking about as a Black man.Whatever you want to call it this is a write up on Eminem. My sense of not necessarily being too concerned with the nuance of the title gives credence into how I feel about him.  Eminem is an odd figure in the canon of hip-hop due to the distinct path that he moves on. Let's get a couple ideas out of the way because I think they matter. He is not the first successful white rapper, nor is he the first. He's also not the first controversial white rapper. With the white history out of the way, for the remainder of this blog post I want you to view the person I'm talking about as a Black man.

Eminem was born on the 8 mile line in a poor trailer park in Detroit. The guy had writing talent and a few people who were supportive of him and his rise in the game of hip-hop. He at first was clowned on stage, but then given a chance from a good friend named Proof to begin some legendary battle rapping. As such, his lyrical prowess drew the attention of Dr. Dre who would eventually sign him to Aftermath. Under Dre's beat making skills and tutelage, Eminem would begin to take from his Marshall Matthers LP. 

The mainstream media got a hold of his controversial lyrics and amazing flow which began a whirlwind of attention.  He had lyrics that called out several celebrities like Limp Bizkit and Moby. His lyrics also were extremely misogynist and homophobic as he bashed gays over their sexuality blatantly and then found hatred by antagonizing his wife and in a sense his daughter with threats of murder and drama. He also promoted a crass sense of jackassery with a style that many kids wanted to imitate from drug use, vulgarity, raping and killing women. Tons of kids wanted to dress and be like him even in suburbia kids wanted to be like him.  Also many other poor trailer park people looking for a vanguard for their plight, found one in Eminem and supported his ideals while preaching their pride for their poverty.  People often enjoyed his critique of president Clinton and president Bush and found a voice that they were looking for even though they may have had Republican ideals.

Eventually his fame and skill grew so large that respectable hip-hop heads considered him to be worthy of being in the top 5. As such, his skill and respect in so much so that he was able to transcend race as people are highly excited when he is on a track or makes some new music due to his reputation. Still, his verbal disrespect in and outside of his lyrics has often tarnished while popularizing his overall image. He is also not the only rapper to be misogynist and homophobic either. It is personally, my least favorite aspect and personal struggle about hip-hop/rap in general as it doesn't respect women and LGBT people in any capacity; which leads into that idea of separating the art from the person. This skill seems to be easy though with Eminem because of his reputation and what his upbringing is.


Now I have to ask, as you have imagined this story and analysis as if this person was a Black man, is this even possible for a Black hip-hop artist to achieve? No it is not because Eminem is actually white and regardless of his upbringing, his lyricism and controversy he is allowed to move in spaces where Black rappers cannot. He can be heralded at a frat party, bumped a summer garden party in white suburbia, give credence to white poor people and their issues, and even be thought of as a white savior to several Black people who say "hey he's one of us and can be invited to the cook out!" However, he isn't one of us and never has been. Sure he's made some support of his hometown in Detroit in both white and Black spheres, but it's never been consistent. Furthermore, could a Black rapper get away with threatening to rape and kill his wife in front of his daughter? No he absolutely couldn't he would be hung out to dry same as any other controversial hip-hop figure. And while I will not go into his specific songs, albums or even videos there is an entire acceptance to all that he does purely because he is white. 

Do I think there are better rappers? Absolutely - go look at my top 10 MCs list along with my ode to Tribe Called Quest. 

Do I think there are more controversial rappers? Depends on what you mean by controversy. Dr. Dre beats women, but not as many people know about that as they do Eminem's blatant disrespect.

Can I ignore the whiteness for talent? It's not even that I cannot, it's that you cannot look at Eminem and ignore it, it is why he is so famous, it is why he can move through circles, it is why people let his condemnation of America, women, gays, and so much more slide.

Therefore, in an argument I've had since his inception into common knowledge, Eminem is not in my top 5 or my top 10 not only because of talent, but because if he was a Black man we would never even be having this conversation. 

The Pervasiveness of Whiteness (Not just Trump's)

This post will not be about the NFL movement, but about what surrounds it. Overall, whiteness is pervasive in every fabric of our society and Trump has existed to highlight that. Yes, whiteness is everywhere and it is constantly everywhere I cannot watch a piece of media without seeing Trump or the issue of whiteness in some form. To give some recent examples:

NFL Sunday - Trump calls them out and everyone follows Kaep (late and not entirely the right reason but solidarity against white supremacy is great only because of the costs). Hopefully people continue the protest.

Kingsman 2: The President is a caricature of Trump

The Deuce: People hate on the current mayor and changes as if it's Trump

South Park: Trump's tweets

Game of Thrones: The Night King/Cersei and their political moves

I could continue on and on, but the whole point is no matter where you look, whiteness and Trump in particular wraps itself around all of the US.  However, as I read a soul-cleansing  book, called Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, I have learned that whiteness still keeps its tendrils in parts of Africa, South America and more. Hence countries that have little influence (Cuba and Myanmar) often feel unfamiliar because they move to their own beat. At times, I view it as a disease as most people moved to their own beats in general before whiteness. Yes there were wars and other atrocities, but the level at which whiteness has overcompensated for the weakness of its ancestors is thorough and damaging for generations.

Continue to speak out and call out white supremacy. White people from within must continue to do so as well. I can only hope one day it fades. 

Chaos is a Wheel more than a Ladder - Riots

While I will get to discussing our current state of affairs in the country (August 2017), I will first shed some light on the concept of rioting, chaos and the mania that drives humans. One would say as Littlefinger, from Game of Thrones, might say that Chaos is a Ladder in that it continues to build. However, I think Chaos is a Wheel as often comes back and repeats itself time and time again through history, in evolution, and even in the very existence of entropy. At the same time it's all interconnected as the spokes; for chaos tends to repeat itself as riots are inverse or parallel images, wars will never end, and falling in and out of love is a cycle.

At first, one might think this is presents a portentous outlook on the world that live in, but it is merely fact as human exist to eventually establish order or chaos. It's why we create legal systems, why we have territories and at the same time why we have violence and why we have crime. The internal forces of the mind will always drive a person to certain outcomes based on neurological impulses to situations. Many times this manifests in riots.

At current though, these riots come from the hatred of being relegated to mediocrity and fragile egos. The term race riot has existed in America since its inception as Black people frequently tried to riot against their bondage, against their station in life and constantly against Jim Crow laws, Civil Rights issues and against police brutality. However, most of these were not riots, but protests against an inescapable hell that has existed in America since its inception. While within our heritage we have always been royalty and warriors so to vilify restriction on our bodies is only natural. Many other racial groups haven't protested like we have on this soil even though they were treated in a variety of terrible ways too - internment camps, railroad labor conditions, underpaid immigrants and more. Though they have protested in their own original countries - ranging from the Boxer Rebellion to the Battle for Algiers. All of these protests have been a right to protest and protect for rights and sovereignty of ones own mind and body.  

The current riots are not for that whatsover, they are a sham of a protest and instead a full blown riot to protect the world's greatest abusers - white men. There is nothing they don't have access to, nothing they need to recognize and frankly we don't have sympathy for them. However, they through their own workings in the Alt-right  or Alt-lite(KKK)  have created a racist riot in Charlottesville, Virginia that will no doubt be used to distract from larger government issues and will also create multiple riots in other colleges throughout America. As has been the case in my writing since the beginning of Trump, this is all fueled by the bigotry that he brings and will continue to bring on not only America, but the world.

My hearts go out to those who are not white men and are attempting as they always have been to have their voices heard. This again is what Black people have been stating for years. Why Colin Kaepernick is taking the knee, Why police brutality is real, why racism exists, why as James Baldwin says "To be Black in America, is to be in a constant state of rage," why my reading of Between the World and Me makes me constantly worried for all the Black students I ever taught, and why this riot is as dangerous as the government, business, and education we work under. 

The regime is here to cause chaos. The same chaos from the Atlantic slave trade, the same from creating the Constitution, the same that pushed for the Confederacy, the same that supported the Birth of a Nation's KKK film victories, the same that was excited for lynchings, the same that brought police into Watts, Newark and Detroit, the same that gets off free for incarcerating and killing Black bodies and the same that exists in Charlottesville. Chaos is a Wheel that continues to repeat. 

If you feel that you need to establish any order or protection of your own mind, body and spirit then research and make discoveries as needed. Take your approaches to control chaos, but do it from a base of knowledge about the true history and interactions of the white chaos that has permeated the soil of this country for centuries. 

Colorism in a Multiethnic View

Many people would argue that colorism is essentially racism. However, there are a couple of key differences that separate it from racism. Racism tends to deal with systemic issues while colorism is more based on people but can lead to systems and institutions. Also race deals with an entire set or group of people while colorism can come from factions within race thus making it a different sense of hierarchy. This in turn, lays the context for this writing. 

Without cutting corners, colorism is why this site exist. My multiethnic background has determined much of my lens in analyzing and living in the world around me. From a white suburban upbringing and support from a white mother to a sense of Black history and eventually Black culture. This factor has come up a bit recently from my research into the history OJ with his fictionalized show and documentary. It has also come up recently with the terms of lightskin Black people and their apparent difference from darkskin Black people. These two views started my search, but I'm going to give some of my history before going into discussion.

My own colorism deals from a lack of acceptance from Black children while growing up. There is much more I have written on this but this is probably what turned me off so much from being around Black children when I was growing up. Many times I was seen as not Black enough from being a general kid who group on the suburbs. Some felt this was my lack of struggle (though not being accepted would be its own struggle) or my lightskin which some how gave me the ability to pass into white communities as I was often able to not be seen as Black to them. This would eventually change when I made my bed when BlackLivesMatter and Trayvon Martin came to a head. I often call this moment the catalyst because nearly all white friends from San Diego or my college years fled my life as they learned that I was not to keep my place. Meanwhile, my Black people who had often wondered came back into the fold and I also gained a wealth of new Black allies. Still, both parties had the perceptions of where I should fall, but make no mistake the way my skin color is put me in a space to be treated as a certain way.  I have had a total of thirteen interactions with the police which is probably more than most people will ever have in their lifetime. Five of those encounters were racist which would determine the way I felt about police for quite some time as my first ones were in racism.  Furthermore, I have had to deal with quite a bit of fetishization and microaggressions from white people having lived and white suburbia and many interactions with white women in alternative or kinky lifestyles. Suffice to say, I had no mistake on the color of my skin.

To give another personal historical answer, I experienced and saw this in full force in Brasil as fairer skinned Brasilians are considered of a higher class than darker skinned Brasilians. Their colorism is intriguing because all of them consider themselves of a Brasilian ethnicity, but there are evident hierarchies in their rankings based on color. This offers a view in fractures of people who believe they are on equal footing as a ethnicity or race, but on closer inspection are not due to skin color. 

Fast forward, to today in which there still seem to be divisions within Black people based on the spectrum of color. While, I will admit that I am personally jealous of darker skin because I find it the most beautiful out of any skin tone; however, I still share in a Black experience of discrimination. Granted there are a few people I myself I have met who I feel have assimilated into white culture, this isn't limited to skin tone. As I also know a couple of dark-skinned Black people who have surrounded themselves with white people who give them a perceived appearance of success and appeasement. The reason for this is that many white people absolutely love the feeling as if they have a look into Black culture with a Black friend, are able to date a Black body or can fawn over the abilities of a Black person. Many of these sentiments are showcased in the recent film Get Out (but this writing is not about that film, as you can instead refer to my thread on Facebook) as old white people desiring Black bodies. I think this works with youthful white people as well in a sense of righteousness that they are relate to not only Black people but other ethnicities as well - a Chinese friend, a Latino friend etc...  In a sense, you can say they have upgraded/downgraded their color as many of the OJ Simpson media did because he left his upbringing behind and became "white" in a sense of his activities and who he hung out with which is an absolute contrast to my upbringing. Still these factions create a spectrum of judgment.

Many of my dark-skinned Black friends, primarily women, will judge or make commentary about light skin men or women as if the experience is not the same and can seem bitter, even though I know they are not and simply want to be heard. However, I must reiterate that when I white person or another person in a foreign country sees us they will feel the same way regardless of our many shades of melanin.  On a different note, this doesn't seem to be the case as much with darker skinned Black men though they do judge me at times in thinking that the reason I may not comprehend an issue is due to light skin. Still, I see much of this as ways to break up our sunkissed union considering that we all face the struggle no matter our position. As long as we are of a darker complexion we will face that. 

I'd also like to note that colorism is not just a Black and white issue, but one of nearly any ethnic group. I have seen it frequently in my Latino students back in Los Angeles or NYC in how those of lighter skin often consider themselves white rather than having to have the Latino experience. At the same time, they too face judgment from when they wish to stand with their own heritage who won't accept them based on skin tone. Furthermore, this was also evident in Southeast Asia as there were an alarming amount of skin bleaching products and nearly everyone on TV was of a lighter complexion. Thus, colorism unfortunately transcends all ethnicities and it is detrimental to creating unified fronts, cultures and support systems. Love your fellow man and woman based on the heritage and their culture not on the shade of their skin.