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How Fox News Uses 'Big, Scary Hip-Hop' to Race-Bait its Viewers

This week's outrage over Common and Jill Scott was ridiculous, but there was a more pervasive, nefarious issue at hand.

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An even starker example of this is the Right’s targeting of soul singer Jill Scott, who’s even less controversial than Common. (Conservative pundits must have given themselves carpal tunnel Googling the White House Poetry Event guest list.) Shortly after Fox’s rap freakout, Mediaite reported that Drudge had found a column Scott wrote for Essence in 2010. In it, she wrote, "When my friend told me his wife was indeed Caucasian, I felt my spirit...wince," which Drudge then Tweeted.

This quote was supposed to be an example of Scott's racism toward whites, but even out of context, you could guess what she meant––the saddening idea that a black man might buy into an historically ingrained racist perception in America that white women are more attractive and more desirable than black women. And, reading the article in context, that is precisely what she meant:

We reflect on this awful past and recall that if a black man even looked at a white woman, he would have been lynched, beaten, jailed or shot to death. In the midst of this, black women and black men struggled together, mourned together, starved together, braved the hoses and vicious police dogs and died untimely deaths on southern back roads together. These harsh truths lead to what we really feel when we see a seemingly together brother with a Caucasian woman and their children. That feeling is betrayed. While we exert efforts to raise our sons and daughters to appreciate themselves and respect others, most of us end up doing this important work alone, with no fathers or like representatives, limited financial support (often court-enforced) and, on top of everything else, an empty bed. It's frustrating and it hurts!

Our minds do understand that people of all races find genuine love in many places. We dig that the world is full of amazing options. But underneath, there is a bite, no matter the ointment, that has yet to stop burning. Some may find these thoughts to be hurtful. That is not my intent. I'm just sayin'.

Again, this is not about Jill Scott – it’s about Fox trying to scare its audience into believing that President Obama is racist against whites. But just to clear her name: Jill Scott is one of the most respected and talented R&B artists working right now. She writes songs about self-esteem and love and empowering yourself, and she’s never once exploited her sexuality for gain.

But Fox and the Right want to create a false Sister Souljah moment. Let me refresh your memory: in 1992, Sistah Souljah, a rapper and activist, was interviewed for the Washington Post about the Los Angeles riots after the Rodney King verdict. She was quoted as saying, “If black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?” President Clinton criticized her for what sounded like, yes, an outrageous comment. But her point was not that people should kill white people, but that poor black people living in impoverished, gang-riddled areas of Los Angeles who were used to killing other black people wouldn’t think twice about sparing anyone’s life. The full context:

"I mean, if black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people? You understand what I'm saying? In other words, white people, this government and that mayor were well aware of the fact that black people were dying every day in Los Angeles under gang violence. So if you're a gang member and you would normally be killing somebody, why not kill a white person? Do you think that somebody thinks that white people are better, or above dying, when they would kill their own kind?"