Thursday, 3 March 2011
John Mayer on black women: My dick is like a white supremacist, I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fucking David Duke cock.
I am not a fan of his art, however there is one of his songs I love.Daughters.
Sadly, John Mayer is the latest of a longline of celebrities that seem to suffer from the foot in mouth syndrome. He seemed to have attained sex symbol status after dating A list stars like Jennfier Aniston and Jessica Simpson. In an interview with playboy magazine, he was asked if black women throw themselves at him. Mayer, 32, replies:
"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.
PLAYBOY: Let's put some names out there. Let's get specific.
MAYER: I always thought Holly Robinson Peete was gorgeous. Every white dude loved Hilary from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And Kerry Washington. She's superhot, and she's also white-girl crazy. Kerry Washington would break your heart like a white girl. Just all of a sudden she'd be like, "Yeah, I sucked his dick. Whatever." And you'd be like, "What? We weren't talking about that." '"
In an interesting turn of events, when Holly was told by a friend that John Mayer – a musician her whole family admired – had called her "gorgeous" in a Playboy interview, she blushed and even told E! in a widely reported interview that she felt flattered. Holly Robinson Peete, 45, even defended Mayer on her blog, writing that she hates "that anyone would have the impression I condone or excuse racist comments in any context," but saying she does "not believe John Mayer is a racist" for his statements.
But this soon turned sour when Robinson Peete read the full interview, complete with his statement about African American women and his use of the N-word. "I was disgusted and offended," says Robinson Peete, who herself had faced criticism from some who felt she had initially been an apologist for Mayer.
Robinson Peete reveals to PEOPLE that Mayer has reached out to her to apologize for involving her in his firestorm, but not for his actual words. The actress says it's "time for him to really just drop the frat boy act" and "take responsibility for these hurtful comments."
Apart from Holly, other celebrities has criticised John Mayer on his mumurity
Katheryn Russell-Brown, director of the Center for the Study of Race and Race Relations at the University of Florida and author of The Color of Crime, tells UsMagazine.com that Mayer seems to be saying "black women are not just not his type, they're not in his class. They're beneath him."
Adds Laurie L. Mulvey, co-director of the Race Relations Project at Penn State University: "Both white people and people of color will be offended by Mayer commenting so flippantly about an issue that has caused so much pain in this culture, especially to black women.
In a tongue-in-cheek post on Twitter Roger Ebert wrote, "To John Mayer regarding black women: What's not to like?" The white film critic, 67, has been married to an African American woman, Charlie "Chaz" Hammel-Smith, since 1992. (He also went on a few dates with Oprah Winfrey in the 1970s.)...
Mulvey tells Us that Mayer's comments "create an atmosphere that is unfriendly to building trust and his words once again reinforce the idea that people of color are objects and white people are racist. This has particular impact when such words come from a celebrity who is admired by people of so many different backgrounds."
Mulvey also says "choosing to invoke David Duke to explain these ethnocentric escapades flies in the face of Mayer's self-congratulatory claim that he has a 'Benetton heart.'"
Richard T. Ford, author of The Race Card: How Bluffing About Bias Makes Race Relations Worse, says that Mayer is "being deliberately provocative and since he assures us that black people love him -- thanks for letting us know -- it's supposed to be okay."
The problem: Mayer's "tongue-in-cheek racism satirizes racial stereotypes and but also sort of traffics in them," Ford tells Us. "Sarah Silverman does post racist very adroitly -- she's both hilarious and thought provoking. Mayer does it badly -- he's offensive and tiresome."
In an article in the Boston Globe, Adam Mansbach looks deeper into the incident and its implications.
As John Mayer’s racially-charged comments in Playboy magazine ricocheted around the Internet this week, I found myself exhausted by the sad reality that the national dialogue on race remains driven by the engine of celebrity gaffes and gotcha moments.
Our voracious, ADHD-afflicted news cycle castigates, forgives, and forgets at a rate that precludes sustained discussion, so expect Mayer to spend a week with his head on the chopping block and then jog away, rubbing his neck, to join Chris Matthews, Harry Reid, Michael Richards, Geraldine Ferraro, Don Imus, and John Rocker on the list of figures whose shocking transgressions have faded to dim memories.
An analysis of such incidents and their scant longterm fallout suggests that it is now more acceptable to publicly spout racism than to publicly accuse someone of spouting racism. Look for Mayer to continue to make a vague apology to a fanbase and a punditry eager to excuse racist action because they can find no racist feeling behind it. Look for Mayer to swear he’s never uttered the n-word before and never will again, and look for the context in which he said it and the clumsy if well-intentioned point he was trying to make about white privilege to be obscured.
Look for him to continue not address more problematic statements from the interview, in particular the one about his male organ being a “white supremacist’’ -- a flippant attempt to explain his dating preferences that takes up the language of dehumanization and reveals a blithe willingness to reinforce any number of stereotypes about sex, race, and desirability. Look for the mainstream media to ignore that comment too.
Look for the “hood pass’’ Mayer stumbled so badly in trying to discuss to be serially snatched away and restored in a blogopshere-wide game of capture-the-flag. Far more importantly and indicatively, look for the very notion of a “hood pass’’ to go largely unexplored.
The “hood pass’’ is symbolic of white acceptance, personal or artistic, by the black community. Although both the notion of a monolithic black community and the conflation of blackness with the “hood’’ are problematic, the “hood pass’’ has been widely accepted. Part of the reason may be that it appears to place agency in the hands of black people, as arbiters of who and what constitutes tolerable incursion. Given the profound legacy of white co-option and exploitation of black life and culture, this might seem like a step in the right direction.
The problem with the “hood pass,’’ though, is that it turns racial progressivism from an activity to a state of being. It places engagement with this country’s system of structural racism, and the privileges white people accrue from it, in the past tense -- as if everybody in possession of a “hood pass’’ has already fought and won what is actually an ongoing struggle with one’s self and one’s country.
This complacency underwrites the widespread belief of young white Americans that they can be as “down’’ as necessary by consuming black cultural artifacts pushed by media conglomerates whose profits depend on expert marketing of the ghetto to the exurbs, black to white, and visceral “realness’’ to a generation of voyeurs. Full of empathy and short on identity, with few relationships to actual black people and less understanding of the machinations of institutional racism, they conclude that they, too, have “hood passes.’’ Through the magic of circular logic, they then conclude that every stereotype they embrace is as legitimate as they are. Much as Mayer seems to have.
It was a conversation with an old friend, filmmaker Kesime Bernard, that reminded me what we stand to gain by talking about the latest display of ignorance by an avatar of a culture that rewards it. “Our generation has built a cottage industry around uncomfortably edgy racial humor,’’ she wrote, “but the reaction is as important as the delivery.We carve out boundaries in real time. These little celebrity scandals do ‘teach’ us little by little where we stand.’’
I want to believe she’s right -- that we can make this not about Mayer’s hood pass, but the hood pass, not one rock star’s cavalier bigotry, but the millions nodding to it. That Americans can learn from where we stand, and that we stand for something. Because if we don’t, as the old saying goes, we’ll fall for anything.
Richard T. Ford "Tragically, this is what passes for edginess for many celebrities today -- someone blurting out the most crude and insulting thing that comes to what we might charitably call his 'mind.' Mayer did say one smart in the interview: 'I think the world would be better off if I stopped doing interviews.'
The Otondo himself, Mayer, perhaps feeling the back lash, tried to make amends. The singer explained while performing his song, "Gravity," at a Nashville concert:
"In the quest to be clever, I completely forgot about the people that I love and that love me," Mayer reportedly told the audience at the Sommet Center.
He broke down on stage while explaining his interview (which also included crass statements about ex Jessica Simpson), and apologized on Twitter the same day.
He has not made any public statements or Twittered since.
Note: this incident happened LAST YEAR.