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I’m Not Racist

I’m Not Racist

Joyner Lucas’ Eye-Opening Song and Music Video is Still Relevant Nearly Four Years Later 

By Israel Gutierrez 

Joyner Lucas is a 32-year-old rapper, singer, and songwriter from Massachusetts. [1] 

In 2017, Lucas released a song accompanied with a music video called “I’m Not Racist.” [2] Amidst a time when racial tensions were running high, the song release offered a raw conversation on the racism and division plaguing society. 

The music video captures two people sitting across from each other at a table: a white man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, and a Black man in street clothes and dreads. 

The white man giving his side of the story. Photo by Joyner Lucas from YouTube.

It starts off with the white man talking to the Black man about his perspective on the Black community. He explains his negative feelings toward the Black community and what makes him so upset. 

The white man speaks about many of the common misconceptions and stereotypes about Black people: negative ideologies like being lazy, living off welfare, selling drugs, being absent fathers, and many others. After saying all his racist ideologies and negative perceptions, he offers up one more, “I’m not racist.” 

Then he talks about how he wants to know the Black man’s side of the story, so he gives the floor to him. 

The Black man then opens up about his negative feelings towards the white community. 

He talks about the struggle to succeed, let alone make ends meet, in a world built to hold Black people down with systemic racism, fear of police, judgements based on skin color, cultural appropriation, and the effects of slavery that are still around today, despite never being a slave himself. 

The Black man giving his side of the story. Photo by Joyner Lucas from YouTube.

The music video ends with both men hugging after pouring their hearts out to each other and coming to understand each other’s pain. At the very least, having a difficult conversation allowed some sort of healing to take place. 

Lucas is a master of compelling storytelling. His skills are very apparent in this song. From bitter hostility to understanding, the journey through the song is full of raw emotion, tension, and things that need to be said. 

The misconceptions and negative stereotypes about all sides continuously cause a divide between races. An endless cycle of hatred begins when meaningful conversation and coming together fail to occur. 

Although throughout the song there is a ton of racist ranting, it ends on a more positive note. Lucas raps, “You can’t erase the scars with a bandage, I’m hoping we can come to an understanding,” as the two men are seen embracing each other. [3] 

See Also

This song was released in 2017, a year that saw its fair share of racial tension. The infamous tiki torch white nationalist riot in Charlottesville was a major incident taking place that year. [4] In a year where racism was again brought into the spotlight, Lucas’ “I’m Not Racist” was released at the perfect time. 

This song offers up a very important message that still rings true today, a message of coming together to form an understanding. Having uncomfortable conversations is necessary to beginning on the path toward healing the scars, or the still-open wounds, that racism has inflicted on society.  

2020 is yet another year racism spent in the spotlight. From the very sad incident in the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police officers, to protests and riots from all sides, division and hatred grew ever stronger. [5] 

It seems that for every step we take towards dispelling racism, we somehow end up taking two steps backwards. However, I truly hope it will be different this time as we try our best to catch up.  

Citations 

  1. Who is Joyner Lucas? Everything you need to know. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://bit.ly/3rFPcbr. 
  1. Lucas, J. 2017, November 28. Joyner Lucas – I’m Not Racist [Video]. YouTube. https://bit.ly/2NkJL36. 
  1. Ibid. 
  1. Murphy, P. (2017, August 14). White nationalists USE tiki torches to light UP Charlottesville March. Retrieved from http://cnn.it/2Z7YoZX. 
  1. Hill, E., Tiefenthäler, A., Triebert, C., Jordan, D., Willis, H., & Stein, R. (2020, June 01). How George Floyd was killed in police custody. Retrieved from http://nyti.ms/3d0QABn. 
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