Ask Ty...July 1 [The Am I A Racist Question]

Q: Dear Ty,

I am the whitest white person ever.

I like gangster rap. When I am driving through a predominantly black neighborhood should I turn my gangster rap music down?
Also, if I say "No way, Jose" am I racist?

-Whitest Whiteboy

Ty: Good question and an even better observation, WW. Well, questions. Plural. You asked two questions of me. I guess you just thought you'd fit two within the space of one because maybe you believed I wouldn't notice because I'm from LA. Maybe you think I cannot count because I'm black. Or, maybe, you thought I wouldn't say anything because I'm Asian. Maybe you're a white male and figured you'd do just as you damn well pleased. See how the racism game works? See what I did there? I found a wedge and I just keep shimming it in until I had something completely different from what I began with because I'm a Jew, right?

Are you racist for saying "No way, Jose?" I don't know. Are you? Who am I to decide who is a racist or not? Personally, I think it's as perfectly acceptable to say "No way, Jose," as it is to say "Step aside, Clyde," or "Shit, Tyrone, get it together." What is racist? Who cares anymore, really? All racism is anymore is a fistful of shitty mud to sling when a desperate person has no real debate or insight.

Just don't say, "No way, Jose" to a Mexican or you'll get stabbed or robbed or smeared with re-fried beans or whatever "Mexicans" are purported to do by dumb, lazy, thoughtless, and hurtful people. Don't say "Mexican" or "retard" or "nigger" or "cunt" or "kike" or "bitch" or "bossy" or "pussy" or "faggot" or any of the other words we don't say anymore because instead of going the sticks-and-stones-will-break-my-bones-but-names-will-never-hurt-me route, we let our thin ass skin get burned and bruised by words and we end up with lawsuits and fights and homicides and dismissals. We now have R-words and N-words and F-words that mean THE VERY SAME THINGS but are somehow suitable replacements for the horribly unspeakable. Oh-fucking-man have we become an extraordinarily weak subset of the species.

Words [Sigh].

Anyway, WW, to answer your question. Why would you turn your gangster rap/hip-hop down when you're in what you call predominately black neighborhoods? Are you afraid you'd somehow offend poor, black, and historically offended people? Slavery was offensive. The shabby educational opportunities for poor, black, and historically offended people is offensive. Wouldn't it make more sense to lower horrible country music or Scandinavian black metal in those neighborhoods? I would say, maybe turn the jams up, but in 2014 you wouldn't want to get yelled at by a white do-gooder liberal about "cultural appropriation." See?

People simply have to have enough contextual awareness, sensitivity, and moral fortitude to not say or do things that intentionally hurt other people or cause them to hurt you. We will all make silly or ignorant mistakes and say the wrong thing. Grandpa Andy saying something about the "Negroes" doesn't make Grandpa Andy a racist automatically. I wouldn't play any of my music loud enough to bother anyone mostly because I'm generally private and embarrassed about my choices. Earphones and headphones are humankind's greatest invention. No more boomboxes on the subway, just peace and quiet. Or something like that.

I guess what I'm saying is, within reason and not being rude to others, just: say what you say and play what you play because it's all okay.™ The Golden Rule™ applies to everything since forever and always.

Just a guess.