The emergence of video featuring University of Oklahoma fraternity members singing a racist song aboard a school bus has shocked many people this week, but viewers of Wednesday’s Morning Joe were treated to an even bigger shock when the crew decided who was really to blame: black people. More specifically, Joe, Mika, and the gang blamed rappers like Waka Flocka Flame, who had the nerve to be all offended by the chant “There will never be a nigger at SAE, you can hang ’em from a tree but they’ll never sign with me, there will never be a nigger at SAE.”
Actually, Waka Flocka wasn’t so much offended as he was “disgusted,” as he told CNN’s Brianna Keilar, because he had performed for the frat and been welcomed like a brother:
“I feel like I was part of the frat. I felt like I was a frat boy in the woods. I really felt like I was down with the fraternity. I was SAE. You couldn’t tell me no different. For me to see that video, I was like, that’s what y’all doing behind closed doors? That disgusted me. I really can’t blame the kids. I feel like that’s passed down.”
Yeah, Waka Flocka, it was passed down. By you, if Morning Joe‘s performance art interpretation of a jar of mayonnaise is any indication. Fighting their way through the perpetual white confusion over who gets to say the n-word, Mika Brzezinski kicked things off by denigrating Wacka Flocka’s work by calling them “songs, I guess you would call them,” and the entire panel engaged in an extended riff on the extremely disrespectful and condescending pastime of mocking the name Waka Flocka performs under. You know, just like they do with John Wayne never.
But then, they took things a bit further than simply drawing a willfully dishonest false equivalency, and actuallly suggested a direct causal relationship between the racist chant and the rap music that rappers like Waka Flocka perform:
William Kristol: “Popular culture becomes a cesspool, and people are surprised that some drunk 19-year-old kids repeat what they’ve been hearing…”
Joe Scarborough: “It’s a white audience, and they hear this over and over again. so do they hear this at home? Well, chances are good, no, they heard a lot of this from guys like this who are now acting shocked.”
So, they’re not just saying that rappers saying the n-word is just as bad as white “rednecks” saying it (as they did earlier in the show with the Urban League’s Marc Morial as a guest), they are saying that the SAE frat kids directly learned this from listening to hard-core rap:
As an avid fan of hip-hop, going way back, I immediately recognized the dope, ill, and quite frankly def cut of hip-hop mayhem that inspired this song. It’s by tough-as-nails Publik Doe-main, and it goes something like this (Warning: NSFW):
These artists sing gleefully about the “Wheels on the Bus,” and then they expect kids not to sing racist songs when they get onto a bus? When their culture is steeped in this sort of musical heritage, they expect ice cream tuck songs to somehow not be racist?
Wikipedia lists the copyright holder for the song that SAE stole, If You’re Happy and You Know It, as famed Sesame Street musical director and children’s song composer Joe Raposo, but unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any action the Raposo family can take against SAE. Raposo’s son, author Nico Raposo, says his father “holds the copyright to an arrangement of ‘IYHAYKI,’ but so do many other people. As far as I know, the song is in the public domain.”
Still, there’s nothing to prevent us from resisting the corrosive cultural influence of traditional children’s songs that have turned our nation’s white college frat members into racists. Old McDonald had a farm? E-I-E-I-NO!