On Friday, Macklemore performed "Thrift Shop" at EMP dressed up as what I immediately recognize as a Jewish caricature. What. the. fuck:
Macklemore showed up in disguise at EMP's opening-night party for Spectacle exhibit. Photos: http://t.co/EmuFo1IKw9 pic.twitter.com/IoEcJVi7g0
— The Seattle Times (@seattletimes) May 17, 2014
Perhaps Macklemore (real name Ben Haggerty) didn't realize it at the time, but for someone who's devoted so many verses to discussion of white and straight privilege, one would expect him to know better. Actor Seth Rogen, who is Jewish, said today:
.@macklemore, first you trick people into thinking you're a rapper, now you trick them into thinking you're Jewish? pic.twitter.com/3rtaE4GHje
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) May 18, 2014
What's stunning is that apparently no one at the concert, including journalists from the Seattle Times and Seattle Weekly, either noticed or was bothered enough to remark on this. I learned of it via Rogen's tweet, but it's already been picked up by national outlets, including Buzzfeed.
"Could it be that no one in a city famed for its political correctness wanted to bother with backlash?" asks The Daily Dot. "If so, this weirdo is far more powerful than we feared."
Macklemore's agents did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
UPDATE 12:00 A.M.: Macklemore responds.
A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume. Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody.
— Macklemore (@macklemore) May 19, 2014
Ah. The old, "I didn't mean anything bad by it, so it's ok!" response.
Racism 101, people: Being told you did something racist, especially by members of a group that suffers from said racism, is not an invitation to take it personally and defend your intentions one way or the other. It's about taking a step back and evaluating whether your behavior is racist—if it results in discrimination or reinforces racial hierarchies or plays on ethnic tropes, for example. Rogen just retweeted this:
What makes Macklemore's anti-Semitic costume even crazier is that his biggest song is about saving money.
— Jensen Karp (@JensenClan88) May 18, 2014
Try again, Mack.