So everyone in America is going apeshit over a pretty unknown hip hop artist called Rawcus and the track he just dropped called ‘White People Crazy’. It’s back by a video of Rawcus’ ominous silhouette flailing in front of actual video evidence that proves his thesis - white people are absolutely crazy (mostly when falling over/off things). Clearly the track isn’t intended to be a social-Darwinist expression of racial typologies and comparative ethnic intelligence. Rather it does a fairly amusing job of demonstrating just how surprising and inflammatory it is to hear the word ‘white’ in front of the word ‘people’ (compared to how comfortable we are with hearing ‘black people...’ - regardless of the misrepresentations).
In my heart of hearts I’m not sure if Rawcus wanted to make a statement any more than he wanted to get 3 million youtube hits - the track also builds to a refrain that asks the listener to pay their dollar and buy the track on iTunes. The downside of the song’s blunt and parodical character is that it will most likely ignite a ‘reverse racism’ debate, with countless numbers of online commenters beginning rants with “Yet if you made this song about ‘black people’ you’d be called racist!” In other words - shit is going to get all Godfrey Bloom.
Social politics aside, there are some pretty weird elements at play. At the time of writing Rawcus’ official page only had 40 likes on Facebook, giving him a smaller social media presence than Nicholas Lyndhurst. Beyond that the video, whilst featuring some pretty crazy white people, looks like an old iPod advert set to aggressive trap. When mentioning Hitler, instead of one of the 30 million images of the Fuhrer available on google, a picture of a baby dressed as Hitler is flung up. Then, to conclude, towards the end there is a picture of Stewie Griffin that looks like its been cropped on MS Paint. The low budget vibe could almost be charming, if Rawcus didn’t constantly ask for money whilst holding a jar saying ‘TIPS’.
So what should we take away from ‘White People are Crazy’ - well firstly it is funny. The videos alone are well selected, a particular highlight being the speedboat incident. Secondly the video will hopefully highlight how little people understand about what racism is or what the issue actually means. Too many people have built it into their heads as part of ‘political correctness’, boiling it down to things “I can and can’t say”, rather than understanding it as an attitude. The track, in all its garish glory, does point out how ungainly and awkward the phrase ‘white people are...’ is, and how unaccustomed we are to hearing it. I’m not for a second arguing we should get used to it, but it is as banal and ineffective a stereotype as any made about ‘black people’. By building Tyler the Creator, half of Barack Obama and Homer Simpson into his ‘white people’ group he has reinforced the arbitrariness of the category and, whether on purpose or not, pointed out some of the biggest misconceptions in how we understand racism. If that fails, then he has opened up a new dimension for presenting ‘best vine’ compilations.
Words: Angus Harrison