The reaction to the recent Joe Rogan controversy has been a great opportunity for the left to focus on its two favorite activities — wielding political power and obsessing over identity.
White liberals calling for Rogan’s show to be pulled from Spotify are mainly motivated by a censorious desire to stop him from sharing opinions that contradict leftist COVID orthodoxy. They don’t really care about racial offense. If they did, people like Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Howard Stern, Cenk Uygur, and even Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who have all used the N-word, dressed in blackface, or transgressed their race rules, would all be unemployed.
The reaction from black liberals is motivated by something that goes much deeper, to the core of modern black identity. It is a perverse remnant of the white supremacy that gripped our nation for centuries.
The dictionary defines the word “supremacy” as “the state or condition of being superior to all others in authority, power, or status.”
No one in America today believes in the superiority of white people more than black Democrats who think the thoughts, feelings, words, and actions of white people matter infinitely more than those of black people.
Put simply, black liberals have an idol problem. Their worldview is powered by a perverse twisting of scripture. They think that “black people shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouths of white people.”
This issue goes much deeper than a few Joe Rogan episodes.
Jemele Hill, former ESPN personality and host of “Jemele Hill Is Unbothered,” said the following in response to the controversy surrounding her fellow Spotify podcaster.
“There is no context in which it is acceptable for somebody white to say the word, none, zero. Don’t sing it. Don’t rap it. Don’t quote it from historical text. Don’t quote an author’s use of it. You don’t get to say it. Period.”
Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist at the New York Times, had a series of tweets about the word, including this telling perspective.
“A Black person calling another Black person the N-word is inconsequential and irrelevant to this discussion because Black people did not use this word to reify the systematic subjugation of other Black people through laws, policies, housing, schools, employment, incarceration.”
The notion that the N-word is only used between black people as a term of endearment is an obvious lie to anyone who has listened to hip-hop for the past 30 years.
A Tribe Called Quest explained the history and evolution of the term in their song "Sucka N***a” nearly 30 years ago. The word has become even more ingrained in rap music since then.
Fast-forward a generation to the 2014 hit “Hot N***a” from Brooklyn rapper Bobby Shmurda, and you can get a sense of how the word is used today. Shmurda used the N-word over a dozen times in a song that only lasted three minutes. He punctuated his repeated references to shooting “n***as” with images of him and his friends exercising their trigger fingers while staring into the camera.
The rapper, whose real name is Ackquille Jean Pollard, was arrested in December 2014 along with several members of his GS9 crew and charged with conspiracy to murder, weapons possession, and reckless endangerment. He pleaded guilty in 2016 and was sentenced to seven years in prison. He was released in 2021 after serving five.
This isn’t the only time that art has imitated life in hip-hop. Over 50% of deceased rappers were murdered, including cultural icons like Notorious B.I.G and Tupac Shakur and less influential artists like King Von and Young Dolph.
According to a report from the CDC in 2019, approximately half of all deceased black males in 2017 between 15 and 24 were victims of homicide. Black people are 13% of the population but consistently account for more than 50% of homicide victims, a fact that drives a homicide victimization rate for black people that is seven times higher than that of whites.
All of these facts should provoke the black intellectual class to closely police anyone who publicly devalues or degrades black people, especially for personal profit.
Instead, the black community is forced to reckon with a committed force of pundits and social commentators who convince us that a white guy singing along with Jay-Z and Kanye West to “N*ggas in Paris” has committed a grievous sin, while a black guy holding his gun sideways while shooting at another black man has no power.
These people believe “representation matters” and that children are inspired to emulate people who look like them – until it comes to the little black boys and girls who have had their minds bathed in lyrics about “dead n*ggas” and “dumb b*tches” for generations.
Joe Rogan’s fate now rests in the hands of Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. The tech billionaire has faced pressure to curtail Rogan’s influence since the popular podcaster engaged in conversations with people who expressed views about COVID-19 – from its origin to the efficacy of the vaccination – that directly contradicted the Biden administration. According to them, Rogan committed the ultimate sin in today’s culture by spreading “misinformation,” but the left will gladly use video of him saying the “N-word” as the pretext to push him off the airwaves.
Even Hue Jackson, former coach of the Cleveland Browns, joined the chorus of people demanding Rogan be removed from Spotify. He also tied Rogan’s past comments to the current racial discrimination lawsuit that was filed against the NFL by Brian Flores last week.
There was a time when the N-word was the last thing a black man would have heard before having his life taken. That isn’t why people tune in to hear from Joe Rogan. It’s what they’ll hear if they check the catalogues of next week’s Super Bowl acts, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Their song “Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat” is a natural fit for the big game since they proudly declared that they “never hesitate to put a n*gga on his back.”