Speaking of rationalizing self-interest, I've been wondering exactly what the black men who appeared in a wildly offensive right-wing political ad as stereotypical hoodlums thought about what they did. Stephen Spencer Davis interviewed them:
I spoke to Kue Dog and Uncle Head separately by phone yesterday, and each defended the commercial. When asked if he thought the ad was racist, Kue Dog said, “It’s not racist.” He did concede, though, “It might be sexist.”
But each rapper qualified that assessment. Uncle Head told me that language—and abusive words like “bitch”—is inherently neutral. “It depends on how you use it,” he said. “I don’t consider the word ‘bitch’ as sexist. They say it on TV now.” (When I spoke to Ehlingerearlier this week, he told me something similar, arguing that the ad “doesn’t show anything more or less than what you’d see on primetime television.”) How the presence of something on TV affects whether or not it’s offensive remains a mystery. But Uncle Head says he’s fine with people using the word “bitch” all they want—with one exception: “As long as nobody calls my daughter a bitch, I’m cool.”
Throughout our conversations, both men stressed that they were simply hired to do a job. Uncle Head used the word “business” repeatedly when we spoke: his involvement in the ad was business, Splack Pack’s relationship with Ehlinger was a business relationship, the woman portraying the stripper was just doing business with them.
I'm sure these men are more than capable of grasping the obvious ways in which this ad harms other African-Americans. But, as they say, it is impossible to make a man understand something when his livelihood depends upon not understanding it.