HowardZinn.org recently let fans of Zinn’s seminal “A People’s History of the United States of America” know that a new video on YouTube has political musico Mos Def reading a passage from the book. Maybe it doesn’t sound all that exciting, but it’s nice to see pop culture and progressive politics collude, even if it is in the most subtle of ways.
Not so subtle, however, is the political music video by Mos Def, Immortal Technique and Eminem called “Tell the Truth.” The short video points the finger at Bush as the cause of 9/11, and calls for an end to the “professional liars” that are the “fake christians” and “fake politicians” in America. The video is graphically dynamic, with words and images constantly building off each other and making perpendicular turns reminiscent and no-doubt inspired by the fabulous, brilliant, trendsetting and über-political web video “What Barry Says.”
But what’s most interesting about this video, and others like it by Mos Def and crew, is the insane amount of racism it has inspired on YouTube. Just reading through the first page or two of knee-jerk and hate-filled reactions and you will find that when a black rapper (singing with a white rapper as well) dares to opine “…I wouldn’t be fighting for Bush or White America’s Dream…” that really they are declaring open season for racist backlash.
That (white) people are “sick of white-bashing” may seem like the kind of nonsense commentary not even worth writing about, but I think it is a constant reminder of the underbelly of America, which has been a state pursuing it’s manifest destiny/white dream for a long enough time now to know it isn’t an all-inclusive dream. And that’s why we need counternarratives like Zinn’s book to include, um, those other people in that country that aren’t the majority and the mainstream and aren’t continually launching wars against other states and against disenfranchised ethnic minorities. If that’s racist, well, I guess I’m out of the closet.
Watch the video–it’s top notch–then read some of the comments on that “democratic” circuitry of excellence and idiocy, YouTube, and decide for yourself.