Xzibit plays the race card on Rove

I wouldn’t have even known US rapper Xzibit was touring Australia if he hadn’t caused a little stir by labelling the staff of one of the highest rated shows on Australian TV as racist.  He was slated to appear on a show called “Rove Live”, a “tonight” style show named after the host Rove McManus.

The main reason I wouldn’t have know he was touring is the guy has zero profile in Australia.  Only the most mainstream of US hiphop/rap acts get commercial coverage here.  I know the guy hosts “Pimp my Ride” on MTV but I have no idea how his music is regarded or how much he actually sells in the US.  He was pretty much guaranteed a hardcore of fans making his tour successful but the mainstream media was ignoring him as far as I could see (i.e. I saw no mention of him at all until his fracas with Rove).

Apparently the pre-arranged deal was that Xzibit would have a rap-off with king of bland, middle-of-the-road jazz guy Michael Buble.  Wacky incongruous juxtaposition humour at work here.  As an aside, I fucking hate Michael Buble.  With Xzibit I’m neutral but that fucked-up, blanded out Sinatra wannabe Buble can burn in hell.

When it came time to do the performance it looks like Xzibit’s ego came into play.  A rapper with an oversized ego – who would’ve guessed.  Why can’t rappers be humble like, I dunno, bloggers.  It seems Xzibit didn’t want to perform the double act (he said the “shit was wack” on his MySpace blog) and wanted a solo spot.  The Rove Live staff said this wasn’t going to happen as (a) the music spot for the show was already lined up and (b) he wasn’t interesting enough to the show’s demographic. 

It seems as far as the show was concerned, they were doing Xzibit a favour by giving him any time at all, not the other way around.  Xzibit says a staffer phrased this along the lines of “you know we came a long way just having you on the program”.  He took this as racist, as in “you’re lucky we let black people on this white person’s show,” and stormed out.  I think he was off the mark taking this as racism, the truth as far as Xzibit is concerned is far worse.

So far as Australia goes, Xzibit is pretty much a nobody.  That’s gotta hurt.

This practice of using the race card has, sadly, become a bit of a joke.  There is no doubt that different people face prejudice every day in their lives but reflexively calling “racist” whenever a white person disagrees with a black person (for instance) helps nobody.  Some people might conflate this with the situations faced by Michael “Kramer” Richards and Don Imus but they’re light years apart.

I personally think both Richards and Imus are in a bit of a grey area (are they actively racist or just stupid?) but the Xzibit/Rove issue is only remotely related.  Thinking about it from Xzibit’s point of view (and pretending for a moment that he isn’t an egotistical goon) I can see where being told “You’re lucky we’re even allowing you on” could feel like a racist slur.  He’s probably copped racism his whole life and faced being excluded repeatedly because of the colour of his skin.  But viewing every impediment placed in your path as an example of racism doesn’t help anyone.

It’s like the old “you people” joke.  I’ve seen it used in comedies dozens of times – a white person can’t use the phrase “you people” around black people or it seems like they’re making a racist reference to all black people rather than simply referring to the people in front of them whose race may or may not be an issue.  Actually, the t-shirt I wear in the accompanying video might get me in trouble in ways I hadn’t considered up until now.

When every impediment placed in a minority’s path is labelled racist (or sexist or religiously intolerant) that undermines real instances of racism etc.  People who aren’t racist get sick of having to walk on eggshells and people who are racist blithely say “oh, they’re just playing the race card again.” 

One thing worth pointing out that white folks often gloss over is that the playing field isn’t level.  The question is often put forward “Why are there exclusively black beauty pageants when you’d get crucified if your tried to run an exclusively white beauty pageant?”  This question presupposes that the “open” beauty pageants don’t implicitly (at least) value standards of beauty that work against non-white contestants.  The historical records of winners at least make this a dubious proposition.

Second, there can be a significant positive boost to a community’s self-esteem when they are able to celebrate the strengths of their own community by judging the best of their own rather than coming second to someone else.  I think voluntary ghetto-isation is a losing proposition long term but segregated competitions can be a confidence builder and a stepping stone to truly open competition.

All of which is spoiled when a self-important rapper’s ego can’t deal with the fact that he really isn’t very popular with a given demographic.  This puts me in mind of a reality TV show I’d like to see: “World’s Biggest Ego”.  It could feature ego-driven rappers, spoilt teen pop queens, aging rock pigs, elite sport stars and movie stars all competing to show they had the most distorted view of their own self-worth.  It would be like a truly gruesome car wreck – so horrific, you couldn’t look away.

And here’s something for the people who don’t like reading so much, my Angry News bulletin on the topic:

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Xzibit plays the race card on Rove

  1. whatever colour/race/creed/gender you are, if you can’t deal with being told “i’m just not that into you”, or “who? i’ve never heard of you”, you are a crybaby. end of story. grow up, deal with it, etc.

  2. Friggin’ good post, Angry. The eggshell walk is getting painful, I agree. But then, there’s always going to be a price to pay and a period of time where long-standing historical injustices need to be redressed. So patience/humility/grace might be the order of the day for some time yet.
    Who the hell is Xzibit?!!

  3. Mitchell

    Here’s an idea for a reality TV show with race in mind:
    You get a bunch of comedians together, each of a different ethnicity. You then make them compete to see who is the funniest.
    Here’s the kicker: they can’t tell a single race-related joke.
    I have a feeling that your Carlos Mencias and your Dave Chappelles would flop so hard that it’s not even funny. Well, maybe not Dave Chappelle. He’s funny regardless.
    I would just like to point out that race is a comedic crutch that yields nothing but generic race-comparison material from your average ethnic comedian.

  4. vetti: I think this is a classic case of someone not being able to deal with a blow to their ego/

    Simonne: “who the hell is Xzibit” was the whole problem ;)

    Mitchell: I think that’s an excellent idea, although you’d have to leave Chappelle out or he’d easily win. As you point out, he does race humour but he’s damn funny without it too.

  5. “When every impediment placed in a minority’s path is labelled racist (or sexist or religiously intolerant) that undermines real instances of racism etc”

    This is an excellent point. It kind of brings about the whole Boy Who Cried Wolf thing in that so many instances dealt with will end up being nothing. Then when something real happens, no one is going to care because of all the other false alarms. I’ve had this discussion many, many times in the past with others. Awesome article. Thanks for sharing. Oh, and I’m American and have no idea what Exzibt looks like nor have I heard any of his songs. Eh.

  6. Libid: Xzibit is nowhere near as important as he thinks

  7. Adam

    This is a pathetic comment but the show is called “Rove” and not “Rove Live”.

  8. Then I’m living in the past, because it was always called Rove Live before. I haven’t actually watched the new series.

  9. Mystic

    Maybe Xzibit felt like he was on a Minstrel show?

    One thing I have noticed about Anglo-Australians is anytime they ask you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable and you express that they want to tear you down.

    Right here Xzibit is being called “egotistical” and “self-important”. Why don’t Anglo- Australians learn to stop being so damn condescending to everything that they are not?

    (-Spoken from an “Ethnic” who was born in Punchbowl and chose to leave Australians and there BS behind her?.

  10. And can I just say, nobody in the country misses your fucked-up attitude.

  11. Angry killer

    “You guyz” basically raped the world and any coloured person in it, and you still have the nerve to nitt-pick whenever a person of colour actually has any sign’s of refusal. That always makes me laugh LMFAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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