Someone Tell Ann Coulter: On Race, Rap, and Republicans
By Jaylin Paschal
Someone tell Ann Coulter that Beyoncé isn't, as much as we'd like her to be, running for President. And if you can, explain to her that a singer-songwriter has never been and should never be held to the same standard as the potential leader of the free world. If you can, convince her that maybe, just maybe, her candidate's boasting about grabbing women "by the pussy" (assault) is not, in any way, similar to a woman singing about her own sex appeal (sexuality). (We know you're uncomfortable with black womens' bodies Ann, but don't be so obvious.) Then, tell her that the line "pussy curvalicious, served delicious" is Nicki Minaj's line, not Beyoncé's.
Although we had that brief, initial "Did this maniac really just compare a presidential candidate's boast about sexual! assault! to a rap! lyric!?" moment, we can't even pretend to be surprised by Coulter's attempt to deflect onto rap as her party descended into a moral graveyard. It's an age-old tactic used by racists everywhere for nearly anything, but especially in times of ethical crises. Blaming rap is blaming black people, and blaming black people is damn near second-nature to conservatives. Coulter's guy, Trump, does this all the time when he responds to questions regarding race relations with "inner cities" and "law and order."
If Coulter just wanted to make a point that "obscenity" (though obscenity is not and has never been synonymous with assault) is prevalent everywhere, and therefore Trump's should be taken lightly, she could've easily noted any lyric from the latest pop chart-topper. But it was important for both the artist and the consumer of this music to be black, preferably black and powerful (re: Beyoncé and Michelle Obama references), if the deflection was to be successful.
When you can use rap to associate crudeness to blackness as if the two are synonymous or even the result of one another, you can effectively derail the narrative from a conversation about your own moral low points. Notice, I'm not writing about Trump's rapist tendencies and perverted pastimes in this post.
Republicans, respectability politicians, and racists (if not all the same party) point to obscenity in rap when asked about obscenity in politics. It's a reflex similar to how discussions about police brutality always seem to land on the topic of black on black crime--there's no correlation, but its easier to point at black people than it is to address the issue. Remember when Tomi Lahren responded to Beyonce's Black Panther-inspired Super Bowl performance with "Your husband was a drug dealer. For fourteen years, he sold crack cocaine. Talk about protecting black neighborhoods? Start at home."
This criminalization of rap/black people is part of the reason why hip hop and right-wing politics have almost always been at odds. But it is crucial to understand that the tension between these groups existed before rap existed. Rap is the effect of this tension, not the cause.
Rap having common themes of sex, drugs, violence, etc. is, in several cases, the result of Republican policies, conservative viewpoints, or marginalizing conditions--the War on Drugs, mass incarceration, housing discrimination, and economic apartheid have all played a major part in inspiring "obscenity." T.I. probably explained this idea best on The Daily Show: “I think people need to take into consideration that Hip Hop traditionally has always been a reflection of the environment the artist had to endure before he made it to where he was. So if you want to change the content of the music, change the environment of the artist and he won’t have such negative things to say.”
With that being said, someone please tell Ann Coulter to be more creative in the ways in which she derails the conversation. Tell her that her racism is showing, and to tuck it away--flamboyant bias is more her candidate's style.