Henry Rollins Penned A Scathing Editorial About The Different Experiences Of White And Black People In America

first_imgNever one to shy away from controversial issues, musician, actor, comedian, and LA Weekly columnist Henry Rollins (of Black Flag) published an editorial last week regarding the vastly different experiences of whites and blacks in America in the wake of the recent rash of gun violence incidents. As Rollins explains, “In light of the recent police shootings in Texas and the deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota, both killed by members of law enforcement — just the latest three of the many examples of obscene, needless deaths in America — one could conclude that all hell has broken loose and things are falling apart. I do not agree. Things are bad, but I would posit that they have been this way for as far back into American history as you want to go.” Rollins opines that the real difference in today’s racially-charged violence is simply that the technology has improved, so the unattractive reality that has been true for years is more visible to the masses. “Now that you can watch people die on Facebook, your evaluation of the facts and the sheer amount of information you want to deal with is up to you. But you can no longer say you don’t know what’s going on.”He propose that there are (at least) two versions of reality in America, experienced differently by whites and people of color. “If white America experienced a fraction of what black America deals with regarding law enforcement, incarceration, the court system, employment and countless other facts of life, they would immediately and collectively lose their minds. There are at least two different Americas. They have existed in an environment of almost unbroken mutual exclusivity. That’s over now.”Rollins goes on to detail some of his personal experiences that have contributed to this view, including an anecdote about his relationship with rapper Ice-T through their mutual involvement with the first Lollapalooza tour in 1991. “I was on the first Lollapalooza tour. It was one of the best summers of my life. I spent a lot of time hanging out with Ice-T. We talked almost every day. He is one of the most articulate and intelligent people I have ever met. I wish I had a teaspoon of what he’s got. I also spent time with his bandmates and crew. On days off, or when our buses would pull into the same place, we would eat together. All his guys wore gold. I have no idea what a necklace is worth, but it all looked expensive to me. When we went into places, white patrons and staff tripped on these guys. This is when I understood one of the reasons for the visible display of wealth. My whiteness assured them that I could pay for my meal. Ice-T and his guys had to demonstrate their ability to pay by literally wearing a show of wealth.”He ends by calling out the mainstream media and the government’s approach to this racial issue. “For the last week, I have heard politicians use a phrase that nauseates me whenever I hear anyone say it. The need to ‘come together.’ To that I say, ‘You first, motherfucker.’”Read the full column, as well as more of Rollins’ pointed editorials here.[via LA Weekly]last_img

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