Media

Morning Joe Says Rap Music Responsible for Racist Frat Chant—And Twitter Responds Brilliantly

Watch: Morning Joe suggests rap is to blame for SAE racism. #RapAlbumsThatCausedSlavery responds.

In a cringe-inducing news segment, five white people sat around a table on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to discuss the recently released video of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity’s racist chant.

The video, which was published on Sunday, shows members of the University of Oklahoma’s SAE fraternity chanting: “There will never be a n--ger SAE. There will never be a n--ger SAE. You can hang ‘em from a tree, it’ll never [inaudible] with me, there will never be a n--ger SAE.”

Yet, instead of talking about racism, fraternity culture, the protests it sparked or other vital topics the video raised, those on Wednesday’s episode of Morning Joe decided to talk about rap music. Co-host Mika Brzezinski spearheaded the conversation by commenting on rapper Waka Flocka Flame’s decision to cancelhis upcoming SAE concert due to his disgust with the SAE video. After making a mockery of herself trying to mock the rapper’s name several times, Brzezinski argued that, because of his music, black rapper Waka Flocka Flame has no business commenting on racism.

She said: “I look at his lyrics, and I’m thinking, why wouldn’t you ask this guy, why you would go on that campus?—and if you look at every single song … he’s written, it’s a bunch of garbage, full of n-words, full of f-bombs. It’s wrong. And he shouldn’t be disgusted with them, he should be disgusted with himself.” 

Apparently, the media still has no shame using, and in this instance putting a spin on, the “no angel” frame—a common media portrayal of black people as perpetrators and therefore guilty until proven innocent. The Morning Joe crew brazenly implies that Waka Flocka Flame isn’t ‘innocent’ enough to discuss racism—leave that to the rich, white talking heads.

They proceeded to make a twisted argument that “gangster rap,” as Joe Scarborough degradingly referred to rap music, is somehow influencing white kids to be racist. The reasoning seems to be that because rappers like Waka Flocka Flame use the n-word, it’s no surprise that white people repeat it. Completely tone-deaf, they don’t acknowledge that: 1) white people don’t need to be a part of the conversation over how the people they continue to oppress should use a word that refers to their oppression 2) the context in which the n-word was used—the fraternity is derogatorily using the n-word and even references lynching (though one guest did try to make that distinction).    

In response to the outrageous segment, people took to Twitter to start the hashtag #RapAlbumsThatCausedSlavery. Some even put a satirical twist on popular rap albums. Below are a sample of tweets: 

 

Alyssa Figueroa is an associate editor at AlterNet. 

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