Maybe it’s because Bria is half black. Or maybe it’s because I lived in black-majority cities on the East Coast for five years, an experience that had a profound effect on me. Or maybe it’s because I chose the wrong profession and should have been a civil rights attorney instead of a software designer. Or maybe it’s because I simply cannot fathom how someone this oblivious to nuance got into Princeton. But whatever the reason, I can’t stop thinking about white privilege. Macklemore can’t either.
It’s realizing that as a white male in America, I have privilege. As a white male who happens to be an artist with a fan base, I have a platform to spread awareness about that privilege. However, songs about race and privilege are very difficult to A) write and B) dissect as a listener. They’re heavy. That line is acknowledging the guilt that I have for not bringing those issues to the surface, and the privilege that keeps me comfortable, whether I acknowledge it or not. – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Find Clarity, Interview Magazine.
And these lyrics from A Wake, a song from The Heist album:
A Wake lyrics on Rap Genius.
I grew up during Reaganomics
When Ice T was out there on his killing cops shit
Or Rodney King was getting beat on
And they let off every single officer
And Los Angeles went and lost it
Now every month there is a new Rodney on Youtube
It’s just something our generation is used to
And neighbourhoods where you never see a news crew
Unless they’re gentrifying, white people don’t even cruise through
And my subconcious telling me stop it
This is an issue that you shouldn’t get involved in
Don’t even tweet, R.I.P Trayvon Martin
Don’t wanna be that white dude, million man marchin’
Fighting for our freedom that my people stole
Don’t wanna make all my white fans uncomfortable
But you don’t even have a fuckin’ song for radio
Why you out here talkin race, tryin’ to save the fuckin’ globe
Don’t get involved with the causes in mind
White privilege, white guilt, at the same damn time
So we just party like it’s nineteen ninty nine
Celebrate the ignorance while these kids keep dying.