Macklemore is a musician who recently released a song about his struggle being a white man of privilege who is becoming aware of social and racial injustice and his place in it all. It’s called “White Privilege II.” It’s eight minutes long.
His struggle reminds me a bit of Matt McGorry, an actor who is incredibly vocal around issues like feminism, Amber Rose’s Slutwalk, and Black Lives Matter. He often tweets things like this:
Both work hard to demonstrate that they are woke by 2016 standards, and yet their apparently earnest, genuine, and high-profile efforts have proved a bit polarizing. There are those who applaud their contributions to the conversation: BuzzFeed wrote a whole listicle celebrating McGorry’s wokeness, while prominent Black Lives Matter activist Deray McKesson called “White Privilege II” “important” in a tweet.
But I feel that I know you, MackleGorry, and I empathize with you because I know you. In fact, MackleGorry, I might have dated you. Actually, were you any of the following people?
Maybe my super-woke white ex-boyfriend from freshman year of college, who said, “When did you first realize racism existed? For me it was …”
Or my other super-woke white ex-boyfriend from sophomore year of college, who said, “Allison, I signed up for African studies. You should take it with me.”
Or my super-woke white ex-boyfriend from first year of graduate school, who said, “I have read James Baldwin.”
Maybe my super-woke white ex-boyfriend from 2012 who joked-but-not-joked, “I think I actually have more black friends than you do.”
Oh wait! Are you my super-woke white summer-camp ex-boyfriend whose last name was also Davis, who told me, “You know, I know my family owned slaves, and I want to apologize.”
Oh I know, you’re my super-woke white ex-bang-buddy from summer of 2009, who let me know he was down with the swirl by saying “I fucking love 2Pac” a lot.
But you also sort of remind me of the super-woke white guy whose Tinder banter included, “I mean, I marched for Black Lives Matter last night …”
… who was eerily similar to my super-woke white ex-boyfriend from senior year of high school, who explained why I couldn’t come to his graduation barbecue by saying,”I had a two-hour dialogue with my grandmother. I’m sorry she’s racist but I promise, I’m not …”
… but also reminded me of my super-woke white blind date from 2015 who informed me, “It is actually pronounced Ta. Neh.Hee.See. Coates. I was recently at a dinner with him and my black-studies professor.”
Though I got déjà-vu and thought of this super-woke white guy I met on OKCupid and dated for one month in 2013, who brought back an old classic and was like, “Allison, did I mention I majored in African studies in college?”
But seriously, I must have a type, because you’re all dead ringers for the super-woke white dude I chose not to sleep with, who is still wondering why I didn’t sleep with him, even though he said, “Police officers see me walking around Harlem in a hoodie and they give me looks. I get it …”
Whichever one you are, I appreciate your efforts. I know it’s hard.