With the country still reeling from the racially-motivated shootings in Charleston, South Carolina last week, Americans are beginning to have the kind of frank conversations about race and racism that we usually try to avoid. Rapper Lupe Fiasco has joined that conversation, posting a lengthy essay on Instagram that was presented as an open letter to white supremacists, and the idea of white supremacy itself.
While Fiasco does drift off onto a few tangents, his main point is to emphasize that there is nothing that makes one race inherently superior to another, and that the historical success whites have enjoyed was largely an accident of history: “Having a disease that native folks aren’t immune to… doesn’t make you strategically smart or tactically superior. There is nothing about you psychologically, philosophically, cognitively, academically, socially, architecturally, culturally or even financially that signifies a higher position above any other group,” he writes. Fiasco’s ultimate argument to deflate supremacy is simply that “You are regular.” He argues that every culture is different, and we’re at our best as a species when we let those differences complement each other.
The full text of Fiasco’s open letter is reprinted below.
Dear White Supremacy,
First of all you are not really that supreme. While throughout history White Supremacy it must be admitted you have achieved some very dominant positions. These positions have been gained mostly through force or some biological agent such as disease that did a lot of the dirty work for you in advance. I mean anybody can use force on an unarmed populous and anybody can have smallpox. Not judging, just wanted to point out that having a disease that native folks aren’t immune to because they’ve never seen it doesn’t make you strategically smart or tactically superior, just kind of sick. And these dominant positions don’t really stand up to the test of time that long either. There is nothing about you biologically or physically that denotes an innate mode of supremacy. For that matter there is also nothing about you psychologically, philosophically, cognitively, academically, socially, architecturally, culturally or even financially that signifies a higher position above any other group. And to be diplomatic there is nothing about you that denotes innate inferiority as well. So what you really are is something in the middle. You are regular. White Regularity is congruent to all other forms of regularity i.e. Black, Brown, Etc etc. But in regularity there is room for differences and this is where White Regularity shines! Each group gets the same essential universals. Dance, food, music, etc. and it must be admitted that the White Regularity take on these universal institutions has been unbelievably impressive and a great addition to the total world culture. I mean spaghetti and meatballs, Romeo & Juliet, Coldplay, The Tuxedo, lighter that air travel are all world class additions to the collective bucket but they are no less or more impressive than every other regular groups take on the universals either. And if we really wanted to get analytical every invention is built on inspiration from a previously existing invention so the claim of “The Supreme 1st” to do something is highly debatable and except for a few exceptions, impossible! All things human aren’t born from a supreme overlord solely working in isolation.
Things are created in collaboration and in tandem with other cultures, knowledge structures and movements and more important, People. I mean if those Muslims didn’t catalog all that Greek philosophy for research we might not even know who Plato was. Now whether this collaboration is forced, which is seen so much but not exclusively throughout human history, does not take away the fact that it is done with the help of somebody else. We are supreme as a spectrum of colors in collaboration. One color does not dominate the other nor can it. Sure Steve Jobs was white. But the guy who built the computer was probably Chinese. And the girl who wrote the programs for the computer is probably from Mumbai. And the raw materials that were used to make it where probably first pulled out of the ground by somebody in South Africa. And if you take this highly collaborated upon piece of high technology to an indigenous tribe in the jungles of Brazil they’d probably use it as a boat paddle. And we can go on and on down or up the rabbit hole all day long and you’ll always find a regular somebody relying on the abilities of a just as regular somebody else that another regular somebody doesn’t even care about. White Supremacy is a lie white regularists tell to themselves in hopes that they can get a one way ticket to the top and hope we other colors overhear it. Here’s the bad news, ain’t no top. Here’s the good news though, ain’t no bottom neither! It’s just the regular ole middle where nobody is safe from being influenced by somebody else’s extreme regularness. Is your swastika flag printed in Mexico? Did you know the swastika is originally from Asia and the subcontinent? Did you know black people had slaves in Africa too? Did you know in the world your considered a minority too? I mean you call us niggers and beaners but you gotta ship all your formerly Native American land, backwood sourced ginseng to China to get money to support your meth habit. Meth that’s made with chemicals produced in India. I mean Hitler hated everything about the Jews expect every possession they had. It’s funny how the things you hate so much you have to rely on the most for your survival.
And if you wanted to get really ironic and meta about it, White Supremacy has to validate it’s own identity based solely on its relationship to other races! I mean now that’s what I would call joined at the hip. Without us there is no white supremacy because there would be nothing to be supreme over! That sounds so stupid but sometimes the truth is stupid. Stupid like a fox. And no not stupid like a Fox News I mean the real fox. The animal.
In closing white regularity (the race formerly know as white supremacy) I myself on behalf of my own black regularity salute you. Good luck with the northwest front I hear it’s beautiful in the spring and probably a strategic death trap if and when Yellowstone finally decides to blow up!
Wasalu “Lupe” Jaco