Scott Timberg over at Salon is a white guy, which makes this piece over at Salon so odd. He is claiming Rick Perry’s use of a country rap song (that is about Rick Perry and was used to kick off his election) is some sort of cultural appropriation that the Republican Party likes to use as some sort of, and now I’m quoting Timberg because I don’t want the Outrage Culture to come find me, “‘We Like You People’ Strategy.”
Timberg makes two assumptions here: One, Rick Perry is trying to appeal to black voters with the use of a rap song, and, two, that Rick Perry is making the act of using this song as some sort of keystone to his overall campaign. I suppose that both of these assumptions could have some merit if, you know, Rick Perry thought that any sizable portion of the black community would turn out for him if he did something like this and had no other claims he could make, such as a highly-successful record of policies that enabled job creation while the rest of the country was in recession. I’d like to take a moment to note that, if anything, the use of country rap were more an appeal to younger Republicans as an attempt to sway them from the younger faces on the GOP side, but that’s just a guess on my part.
This Salon writer, whose writing is oh so unbearably white (meaning he clearly doesn’t like being white), is writing this entire piece, however, as if country rap were a thing that hadn’t exists since the 1990s. Apparently, this ungodly alliance of music was Frankensteined together for this moment, so that the GOP could take its Southern music staple, country, and tack it on to a black culture staple, rap/hip-hop, and think that they could bridge the racial divide with it. Country rap, however, has existed for years, and will continue to exist because, hey, both are actually appealing forms of musical expression and so of course they can work together in the way they have for roughly twenty years.
I’ll give Timberg credit, however, as it takes a wonderfully creative mind to hear a song at a campaign event and immediately think “Those culturally-appropriating clowns!” This is why you don’t send a culture/creative arts writer in to talk about politics, because anyone who has spent more than two minutes studying campaigns knows you don’t try to appeal to a demographic that historically 1) doesn’t turn out and 2) when they do, it’s almost never for you. If you do attempt that, you wait until after the primary. You don’t kick off a campaign with it.