Excerpt from a piece written by Das Racist member Victor Vasquez (aka Kool AD) on the Trayvor Martin case, Ashton Kutcher in black face, and general place of race in modern culture.
When somebody says something racially offensive, it doesn’t matter if they intended to be racist or not. If somebody rear-ends your car, they’re liable for damages whether or not they meant to do it. Even when the aesthetic trope is used in a way that’s ostensibly devoid of or opposed to the racist characteristics to which it’s historically linked, the ugly history of the trope is still there and must be addressed if the work is to be of any significant positive cultural value … It’s been said a million times before but it bears repeating that it’s significantly easier for white people in America and Europe not to think about race being that all aspects of Western culture take whiteness as the given norm. You’re upset that you’ve been made to feel uncomfortable because of your race? Join the club. I’m a professional entertainer and performer, I work in the global field of producing and disseminating cultural objects for general consumption. I’m not a politician or an activist but I do find it my duty as a cultural worker to express my experiences, feelings, worldview, etc.
Vasquez’s comments on the Trayvor Martin case are not necessarily unique, but by situating his thoughts in the debate specifically around blackface, and more generally around race and art, Vasquez highlights the importance of dissecting cultural context. Nothing exists in a vacuum and to ignore negative connotation or history in the process of creation and consumption is unethical and lazy.
If anything, this is just more proof that Das Racist is the coolest.