Not unlike many Trump voters, the country music lovers who left racist comments on the awards show’s Facebook stream aren’t moving off of logic. Their ignorance is a survival tactic.
That’s why it seems like much of White America instinctively rejects images and messages that don’t reinforce White Supremacy. Whether it’s a Black president, legitimate protests against oppression, or unapologetic displays of Black excellence like Beyoncé’s mostly-lauded performance with the Dixie Chicks, anything that doesn’t reflect the interests of the White majority is ignored or resisted by those who fear their privileges are being threatened.
The funny thing is, nobody wants to steal country music from White people. As George Johnson’s Ebony post on country’s racist roots below explains, Black artists gave White people county music a long time ago and never asked for it back.
But just like Jackie Robinson, Oprah, Tiger Woods and the Williams sisters had to handle White America’s festering insecurities with grace, Bey and her hive took the racism in stride. She surely envisioned the feedback the song would have long before “Lemonade” was released in April.
Bey’s husband Jay Z faced the same subtle racism from British rock fans a decade ago before performing at Glastonbury, a traditionally Rock & Roll oriented festival. And family friends Barack and Michelle have only gotten cooler under the intense scrutiny conservative media and citizens have put on their family.
There are purists in every culture who make it their duty to block outsiders from their sacred experiences for fear that by sharing them they will lose their power. But their are only hindering their own mission.
Conservatives who want Trump to take America back to the 50’s just fail to realize that their behavior only isolates them and makes their problems worse. The same people who were upset about Bey’s CMA performance were just as disappointed to hear about her Clinton endorsement today.
We can’t expect this sort of ignorance to go anywhere soon, though. No matter who gets elected president, a segment of White Americans will remain attached to the American Dream that was built on the backs of Native Americans, slaves and immigrants.
Eurocentric media and social structures reinforce the false idea that White is both the superior and majority race when Whites are actually a minority compared to melaninated people worldwide. But it won’t be until the racist Americans who fear the presence of color will wash out their Whiteness get past their delusion, America will actually have a chance at being great for the first time.