The argument that black celebrities can’t possibly have grounds to complain about being black in America—because they’re rich—is a sophomoric bit of conservative boilerplate. But then, the absurd protocol that black perspectives be treated as more valid because black experience is somehow realer than others is equally tiresome. The morning headlines all insist on some variation of “Ice Cube schooled Bill Maher about white privilege,” but I wonder (not really) if it occurs to Mr. Cube that he was giving Maher moral cover by going on Real Time and calling him out.
Of course I’m not talking about a morality that I personally concur with; taboos against words can only elicit my sympathy for the sentiment that’s being repressed (naughty, naughty). So for example, I wouldn’t get too worked up if an Ice Cube were to rap, “You can’t be the Nigga 4 Life crew/with a white Jew telling you what to do.” In fact, Ice Cube did rap these lyrics, shortly after NWA broke up.
Now, ‘Jew’ and ‘white’ are clearly meant in the pejorative there, and it wasn’t the first or last time Ice Cube rapped anti-white, anti-Jewish or anti-Asian invective—which is not only excused but lauded in the NPR article linked above. So you can recapitulate the bollocks dogma that the N-word is more hateful because the black experience in America is uniquely unfair—in a way that’s totally unfathomable to non-blacks. But who I am is presumably as important to me as Ice Cube’s identity is to him, and I would be well within the electric fence of conventional cant to take umbrage, I just wouldn’t get anywhere because black resentment is more useful and (above all) malleable to elites than the white or Korean or even the Jewish varieties. After all, if you unreflectingly give people enough power that they can obligate you to respond to little trigger phrases like a marionette, then you’re a silly cunt and a weakling. Clearly, Ice Cube—a public image gangster who’s actually a pot bellied, noodle-armed little man in his late forties who lives in a gated community—sees things differently, and that’s his business. But by calling out Maher he’s reinforcing the entertainment industry pecking order he referenced in that song we just quoted from back in the 1990s.
This is not a spurious complaint, by the way. If I wanted to go all Irv Rubin and start calling in bomb threats to Farrakhan, I’d still have to admit the man’s got a perfectly valid point about Jews in the media. The fact is, a black actor or entertainer can only ever be a commodity in Hollywood, whereas a white Jewish comedian can conceivably reach a level—like Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, or Bill Maher—where he becomes an institution, an arbiter as opposed to a mere influencer of tastes and discourse, and a near-equal to real decision makers, who’re all Jews.
So Ice Cube can stroll into Real Time studios affecting as hard an image as he wants. The more indignant the better because, again, he was being used by Maher for moral cover. Public figures as powerful as US Senators have been taken down for saying nigger; obviously Maher has powerful protection. Again, the morning headlines all say Ice Cube “schooled” him, but if it matters to Ice Cube on any level what comes out of horse’s ass Bill Maher’s mouth then he’s a silly shit. “Please Missa Jewman, please don’t be using that o-ffensive language when you be referring to us black folk. We sho’ would be grateful. Nigga 4 Life crew, ya heard!?! You just been schooled.” This is why, according to the oligarchs and their marionettes, uttering nigger is what passes for unacceptable injustice in a world of actual slavery.
To say that Ice Cube is a hypocrite for taking offense at Maher’s salty language after making a career glorifying drugs and pea-brained street violence would be another bit of sophomoric conservative boilerplate. I think it’s true, but so what? Hearst/Viacom/Zuckerberg say that one thing’s more offensive than another, and who am I to argue? It’s not my country, I don’t make the rules. I just wonder, with all the bloviating we tend to hear about irrational white wariness of blackness from all these three-named, Jew-approved horse’s ass black intellectuals (Marc Lamont Hill, Michael Eric Dyson, Ta Nehisi Coats, who can even tell the difference?) will it make black performers who bank on mean-mugging “jack-yo’-shit” yippity-yap—or their shithead street acolytes—feel any better to know there are whites who don’t take their bravado or their hurt feelings seriously? I won’t hold my breath waiting for an answer.