In an exclusive conversation with HipHopDX, Immortal Technique explains why “saying that if you talk about racism then you’re gonna cause racism is absurd.”
Immortal Technique is set to embark on a nationwide tour co-headlined by Talib Kweli. The 32-city circuit, The People’s Champions, is set to feature performances by Niko Is, CF, Hasan Salaam and be hosted by Poison Pen.
While discussing the tour with HipHopDX, Immortal Technique also shares his reaction to Jay Z’s recent assertion that “Hip Hop has done more for race relations than most cultural icons.”
“I didn’t agree with the context of the comment,” Immortal Technique says. “But there is an argument there that can be made and say, ‘Wait a minute, what did the civil rights generation’s attitude to Hip Hop and towards people that were coming up with newer and innovative ideas to express pain and struggle—the continuation of the Blues, so to speak?’ What was their reaction, to get overly judgmental, to be overly Christian, to tell us that people are sinners, to point fingers at a 19 year-old Ice Cube and an 18 year-old Ice-T and say, ‘Hey, you know what, you guys are a disgrace to the race. We’re gonna steamroll your CDs.’ Is that the conversation you have with a child?”
In 1993, civil rights leader, Rev. Calvin Butts threatened to steamroll boxes of rap CDs that he deemed “vulgar and offensive to women.” Another civil rights activist and politician, C. Delores Tucker, spent several years of her life condemning gangsta rap music. Tucker became the nation’s first black female Secretary Of State when then-Governor Milton Shapp selected her for the position in Pennsylvania in 1972.
Technique questions the effectiveness of the approach taken by Butts and Tucker and compares it to the approach of Nation Of Islam leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan. He also disagrees with the notion that talking about racism creates racism.
Immortal Technique Discusses Myths Regarding Racism
“What’s more constructive?” he says. “Hugging a person and saying, ‘Hey brother, let’s talk about why people call women bitches or talk about where this N-word comes from.’ Not that I agree with everything that Minister Farrakhan did, but he came to the hood and had that conversation with people. Ay, you know what, the first person to ever call the Black woman a bitch was the White slave master and that’s because you didn’t have children according the law at that time. She had a ‘litter of pups,’ which is how it was written. When slaves died, it wasn’t a death. It wasn’t a murder. It was written down as a destruction of property.
“These are important because when you talk about race, that doesn’t create racism,” he continues. “That’s right wing myth. When you don’t talk about race and you teach people that that is nonexistent as opposed to existing as a social construct where it doesn’t exist in the fact that we’re one human race. But if you don’t teach people that there is wrong in the world that way, it’s like someone thinking, ‘Well, if you don’t teach kids about fire they won’t get burned.’ That’s the most ignorant shit I’ve ever heard in my life—which is what these people are out here doing. Saying that if you talk about racism then you’re gonna cause racism is absurd.”
Following national protests against police brutality that took place in 2014 in the wake of the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, among others, Immortal Technique is happy to see that America appears to be embracing a “greater conversation” that includes people from “every color, every religion.”
“The New York City Justice League march was incredible,” he says. “We had people from all faiths. We had people from church, from mosques, from a synagogue nearby. Every race represented at that thing. We saw people that were marching for equality and want individual rights to be respected. Especially those that are traditionally overlooked because people can take away rights from those people. [If we allow that], then most certainly [they] can take away rights from you.”
Immortal Technique and Talib Kweli’s The People’s Champions tour is slated to begin March 7, 2015 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. View the flyer below:
For more on Immortal Technique, watch the DX Daily below: