Every once in a while, I think to myself: “You know what? Maybe I use the word “caucasity” too often in my writing.” But every time I have that thought, a fresh white person surfaces and reminds me that it is not me who uses the word too much, it is white people who perpetrate acts of caucasian-flavored audacity too often, necessitating excessive usage of the term.
Meet Dr. Regina Bradley, a professor at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, and author of the book, Chronicling Stankonia: the Rise of the Hip Hop South. This book explores how southern hip hop, and specifically my favorite rap group Outkast, influences the post-civil rights era culture in the South.
Y’ALL, THERE IS AN ACADEMIC BOOK ABOUT THE INFLUENCE OF OUTKAST!!!
Fun fact: Outkast’s debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik was the first album I ever spent my own money on. (Yes, it was the cassette, and please stop asking me how old I am.)
So what great offense of the caucasified persuasion could have befallen such a noble project?
In this book, is an essay titled “Da Art of Speculatin’” which is a play on Outkast’s “Da Art of Storytellin’” from their album Aquemini.
According to the Daily Dot, Pablo Defendini, of publisher Fireside Fiction, in his infinite white wisdom, hired white voice actor Kevin Rineer to narrate Bradley’s essay for Fireside Quarterly.
Rineer, in his infinite white audacity, decided to read the essay in what he thought was a generic southern Black woman accent after reading the title in what sounds like a mayonnaise-infused fake Jamaican accent. (Nigga, when I tell you this shit is fucked.)
Bradley posted a clip of this blasphemous display of unmitigated whiteness to Twitter on Tuesday.
Needless to say, Rineer and Fireside Fiction got dragged all up and down these internet streets prompting apologies from both Rineer and Defendini.
Rineer’s apology came via YouTube video. The video is currently unavailable, apparently, because Rineer closed his account, but Daily Dot transcribed some of it:
“You might recognize me as a gigantic fuck-up,” Rineer says in the video. “I know that it was completely inappropriate for me to record, especially with that accent … It was horrible, disgusting, and a complete miss.”
Pablo Defendini, the publisher of the Fireside Fiction Company, tweeted an apology on Tuesday morning acknowledging the decision to hire a white voice actor to narrate the essay was “racist” and “violent.”
“That was ridiculously careless, and frankly, racist—it’s blackface, it’s violent, and it’s insulting. I apologize,” Defendini wrote. He also said he took full responsibility for the incident and reached out to the author and editor of the book to apologize and “make sure that they can be part of the process of making this right if they want to be.”
“Just to be explicitly clear: I’m the only one who manages the audio production process—this was entirely my doing, and no one else who works on Fireside had a chance to hear the audio, much less rectify,” Defendini tweeted in a mea culpa that still doesn’t quite explain how the fuck he listened to a blaccent that managed to be worse than Gary Owen’s and still let this happen. “This is all absolutely my fault, no one else’s. I’ll have more to say soon.”
Bradley basically responded to Defendini’s apology by saying, “fuck your weak-ass ‘I’m sorry’ and your white-ass feelings,” because—by the way, I may have forgotten to mention—she said she “wasn’t asked to record it.”
“I saw the apology. I don’t care. I am angry,” Bradley tweeted Tuesday. “Seething from centuries of silenced Black women angry. The voice I speak with and write with is not my own. To have that taken away is unacceptable. Unforgivable. And to ask me to consider it is equally trifling and unforgivable.”
So the moral of the story for Black writers everywhere is simple: No. No, you’re not using the word “caucasity” too often.