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John Mayer Speaks on Black Women

42 Comments

In the March edition of Playboy Magazine, John Mayer made the following comments about dating Black women:

john  mayer

PLAYBOY: Do black women throw themselves at you?

MAYER: I don’t think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock. I’m going to start dating separately from my dick.

Personally, I’m not offended that John Mayer isn’t attracted to Black women. Like all people, he’s entitled to his preferences, even if they’re different than mine. I’m also not going to hastily throw the “racist” label at Mayer, who most likely thought that his “Black pass” (i.e. cultural insider status) allowed him to make edgy comments that cannot (and should not) be made by ordinary white artists. In his attempt at humor, Mayer nonetheless reinforces racist thinking and reduces White supremacy to a (bad) punch line. One of the affordances of white privilege is being able to say things that cause hurt to people of color, and then appeal to your “heart” (or hip-hop collaborations) as proof you’re not racist. Again, I’m not calling Mayer a racist –I don’t know him– but his comments were certainly racially irresponsible. Next time, John, just say “Everybody has their preferences. Black women haven’t been mine.” Then, no harm, no foul.

As far as Black people go, I worry that our outrage is also connected to our constant need for White approval. Why should we really care whether or not John Mayer, or any other White boy, wants to sleep with Black women? If anything, we should focus on the lack of self-love –another outgrowth of White supremacy– that often informs Black men’s decision to avoid Black women. (Imagine if more brothers had Marcus Garvey hearts and Malcom X penises!) Also, Black people should be more careful about the White artists to whom we ascribe “honorary Black” status. It always seems to come back to bite us on the ass. Remember Justin Timberlake?

42 comments

  1. Lovely209 - February 10, 2010 1:47 pm

    Personally, I am not offended by his remarks (although I do think they were made in poor taste) but the dude didn’t even answer the freakin question. The question was do black women throw themselves at you? Not are you attracted to them? Quite frankly, I think he dodged the real question because beautiful black women aren’t interested in him any way.

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  4. dryerbuzz - February 10, 2010 3:15 pm

    Who is playboy to ask such a question? Sounds like and age old question simply rephrase. Are we polling the next generation of white males to see if they are dissing black women?

  5. brownstocking - February 10, 2010 3:17 pm

    THIS. I keep asking, who assigns “hood passes” and WTH do they do it? It’s stupid and insulting to people who actually are from the hood/live in the hood, etc, and, on a broader view, people of color in general. And these artists who ride for him will “have” to defend him and end up looking even worse.

    As a Black woman, though, I do take exception to even the question and what it means. No, I’m not losing sleep over his preferences, but why bring us into it all? We face more than enough objectification, othering and disrespect without being brought under the microscope for a twit’s offhand and insulting comment. Fail all around.

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  7. Rondrea Mathis - February 10, 2010 4:24 pm

    My question is this: Why did he feel the need to comment on his preference of women when asked a question about whether black women throw themselves at him. The question was not whether he accepted their advances, but rather whether they made said advances. He is not a racist, he is an idiot.

  8. Sinister32 - February 10, 2010 4:27 pm

    His comments were taken COMPLETELY out of context, he went on to say how he thinks Holly Robinson Pete and Kerry Washington are sexy. They only took this line and the n-word line out of the interview. I think him using the word “nigger” so easily is kinda wild, but he didn’t mean any of this in a racist way at all.

    Its not about his sexual preference, he said in the NEXT SENTENCE that he’s going to start dating SEPARATELY from his dick, meaning dating Black women.

    Nobody cared to read the WHOLE interview or really see what he was saying. Everybody just jumped on him saying he’s a racist, which is stupid as fuck. Then you got people who ARE racist trying to defend him.

  9. Genius Deferred - February 10, 2010 4:33 pm

    I have no “outrage” for John Mayer’s comments. They are what they are. I’m justn not a fan who’ll be purchasing his music in the future (not that he cares). What offended me about his comments was what he said about Kerry Washington in the interview. “Kerry Washington…She’s superhot, and she’s also white-girl crazy…[she]…would break your heart like a white girl. Just all of a sudden she’d be like, “Yeah, I sucked his dick. Whatever.” WTF? What kind of comment is that? Is he doing drugs? Or just stupid? Or both? Either way, nothing to get overly upset about, he’s not the only “racist” out there, and surely isn’t the most threatening!

  10. Tanya T - February 10, 2010 4:43 pm

    Hey ain’t all that. The language is more offensive than the racial commentary. Just sad, but let a brother say something like that and see where it get’s him.

  11. Byron - February 10, 2010 4:48 pm

    Wow, “I worry that our outrage is also connected to our constant need for White approval. Why should we really care whether or not John Mayer, or any other White boy, wants to sleep with Black women” So Black Folk should concern themselves with what other “Folks of Color” think, but this one lone color – “White” should be excluded from concern? And while the rest of Us have to “worry” about upholding principles of equality and fighting for justice for Black Folk and Gay Folk and other oppressed Peoples, you can sit back settle for a hateful anti-White ‘payback’ mentality. WTF Mark?

  12. kerry - February 10, 2010 4:52 pm

    I’m frankly more offended @ the question “does black women throw themsives at you?” wth was the interviewer thinking, wth brought that on. I’m more offended by that than John”s honest response, wy should he lie if he”s not attracted to black women, hell, some black men are NOT attracted to black women, people are allowed to have preference!

  13. Tony Keith - February 10, 2010 4:54 pm

    Funny how preferences are related to choices, and how eloquently he chose to refer to his penis as a tool for White supremacy. His penis prefers White women while his mind prefers White privilege. Not only does that comment ooze of White masculinity, it is text book for individual covert racism (after all, he didn’t “mean” anything by it). Especially considering how much a Black penis is a threat to White supremacy….hmpf.

    ‘m also really disturbed by his comment that he’d pay more money to fuck Jessica Simpson. Another rich White man abusing power to oppress women – making the assumption that Jessica would submit her self/sell her self to him is ridiculous! I guess we shouldn’t be shocked??…Oh John Mayer…tisk tisk.

    Oh well, there was a earthquake in the Chicago area….*on to more news

  14. Patrick Hall - February 10, 2010 5:24 pm

    Yeah Dr. Hill I gotta agree with Lovely209, Mayer didn’t even answer the question. And I also agree his comments were made in poor taste.

  15. R.oB. - February 10, 2010 5:37 pm

    I’m not offended either. What’s interesting is his racialization of dating. People staying inside their race = racism. And what’s with the separation of cooch and mate?

  16. Anon - February 10, 2010 6:08 pm

    I agree with much of what you have to say, MLH esp the part about so many people being concerned with what one guy thinks about us Black people. I also think that we are too quick to label someone as an official racist. A lot of Black men’s attitudes are 10 times worse. JM at least admitted he should be more open. But really who cares? He treats women like crap.

    The way he put Jessica Simpson out there in the interview was deeply disrespectful. It’s a wonder anyone would date this guy this century. Thanks to the Playboy interview, I’m sure JM will have more time for “self love.”

  17. liam - February 10, 2010 6:19 pm

    I think his answer is racist and i think he is probably unaware of it. I also think you are a victim of the same cultural episodes which apparently you use to defend a deliberately detached self esteem by using the phrase “White boy” So…. so much for being human.

  18. left coast rebel - February 10, 2010 7:29 pm

    Frankly, aside from any ‘race’ connotation here, the thing that I take away from this is that Mayer is a deviant, degenerate just like most in entertainment/Hollywood. It is amazing to me that smart people such as yourself go around the lude, regressive behaviour that he is condoning and go right for a ‘race’ discussion. I credit you, however in that you did not throw out the race card initially.

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  20. Ruffneck - February 10, 2010 8:11 pm

    John Mayer is a guy who jokes very often in these types of articles. He has been quoted as not taking himself serious and does not understand why everyone is so interested in things like “do black women throw themselves at him”. This article can be read into no deeper then that, unless we want to discuss how racist the question was.

    When activist black america actually defines what racism is, maybe we can begin to target it and cure the issue, or at least bury those who choose to follow those racist ideals into obscurity (on both sides of the coin).

    Also, what is black artistry and treating someone as “honorary black” status mean? I would ask a question of Marc: We went to the same grade school, I went to a high school that was populated with more black students than you did, my college education was considered a bit more “black” in community college compared to yours. I sold drugs to pay for my food and I lived off my grandmother’s welfare checks when I was younger. My mother was an alcoholic who abused us, and I could never go into a store without the store owners looking at me like I was going to steal something. I was also passed up several times for jobs after I got my life together because of my past. We can add in my current work with public service groups in urban cities like Camden, Trenton and Atlantic City, as well as my previous work in communities in Philly. I relate through real life experience with the “black” community more than the average “black” person in this country does. At the end of the day, black is just a shade of skin color that I am not.

    In the end, white people must treat black people differently, because black america expects us to. White america can not poke fun at black america without a substantial group considering them racist or having racist tones This alone is the reason why a division still exists in our society. We need to stop feeding this mentality to the kids, and one day we may see an end to real racism and begin to see a generation who see themselves as just another kid in class full of people who are all different when compared in reality.

    Maybe we can begin to look at class warfare, where real “hate” still exists and grows.

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  22. J. Joseph - February 10, 2010 10:37 pm

    Your on point Hill…we do not need validation and if we can’t understand that some comments still causes scarring among people of color especially Black women then we will continue to allow entertainers, politicians, and whoever gets the mic to speak their unsolicited opinions about our race.

    Moreover, John Mayer is a musically talented dumb-ass of whom all previously downloaded songs will be deleted from my iPod! No “hood pass” here!

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  24. Byron - February 10, 2010 11:09 pm

    Tell THAT Ruffneck!!!

  25. AngieB - February 11, 2010 1:23 am

    I am offended for what he said about Black Women. Why didn’t he make the same comment about Asian women or Native american women??? Because he knew the ramifications and decided against it. If he would have said that “I prefer white women or I only date white women.” then o.k., now we are talking about preference, but he not only said no, he added insult to injury. When we allow people to degrade women of a certain race, it’s only a matter of time before the children and men are next. Then what? Would you be so understanding?? God Bless.

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  27. Moni - February 11, 2010 1:05 pm

    I’m upset that we live in a society where celebrities (and non-celebrities) can say offensive, disrespectful, sexist and racist things about black women and have it brushed aside as “personal preference”. As if personal preference has nothing to do with the racial hierarchies that put black women at the bottom. I don’t know how many times I have heard men make these types of comments, or worse, and then say…hey, its just a preference. Its a cop-out. I would hope people, instead of so quickly dismissing the views of black women and others who are upset over hearing these types of things ad nauseum, would take the time to engage and try to understand our perspectives.

    If a man has a preference that does not include black women or dark skinned black women, fine. But if said man chooses to inform me of his preference, then I reserve the right to respond with my views on his preference. If said man chooses to use a public forum to articulate his preference for not dating black women, black women and our ALLIES have the right to respond publicly. Now, who are our allies? I am waiting for the men, black and non-black, and non-black women, who are anti-racist and pro social justice, to speak out….

  28. shalayla - February 11, 2010 2:58 pm

    As a HUGE John Mayer fan, I am sorely disappointed in him. I would read his blogs, never lacking crude humor, and wonder when the day would come where he would really piss me off. Well, this was it. I also do not believe him to be a racist, but I agree that he felt priveledged enough to make ridiculous comments in an attempt to be clever and it totally backfired. Poor thing… He’ll learn.

  29. Pingback: How Come Marc Lamont Hill can call John Mayer a “White boy” and Not Be Called a Racist for It? | NewsReal Blog

  30. Ruffneck - February 11, 2010 7:19 pm

    I am pro-social justice. That means that I support equal rights and expectations for all members of our society.

    The idea that we can twist the meaning of the words social and justice to fit inside a box that has nothing to do with equal society or any form of equal justice is just outrageous.

    You ask any man, black, white, Asian, Irish, Italian etc. and they will all tell you what type of woman turns them on. Some say they like bigger women, some say smaller, some say they only get turned on by chicks with tattoos, others only by specific fetishes. Some men say that they do not sleep outside of those boundaries for nothing more than simple sexual arousal, so why does a black woman demand some level of arousal that a plus sized woman does not have the same level of “social justice” to demand?

    I think this is all about the “how dare he” act like he can talk about the black race in his white conversation.

    Is that what we have become in America? Is this the line in the sand that we dare not cross? Speaking about one another like we are both human beings living in the same society?

    I ask, who is the racist.

  31. American - February 11, 2010 9:38 pm

    It seems there is a lot of blame to pass around on this soundbite.

    First, it was highly inappropriate for Playboy to ask John Mayer the question. In a society where we should work towards being color-blind that question should never have been asked because no response from Mayer would have been correct.

    Second, Mayer needs to realize that as a public figure he is held to a different standard than the rest of Americans and the world. As a public figure, anything you say or do can and will be used against you. His PR guy should have warned him that a question like that may come up and tact is the best answer.

    Third, and most importantly, Americans will never become racially accepting if they choose to take offense to every sentence spoken. The fact of the matter is people will continue to have personal preferences. They could be racially motivated, religiously motivated or any other motivation. People need to rise above hatred, ignorance and arrogance and say, “I will not allow the opinions of others dictate who I am or who I will be. While privilege is everywhere, for whites, blacks, men, women, the point is to use the privilege of law, life or upbringing to help you become the best you can be in this country. Only then will we truly move forward as a nation and as individuals.

  32. mugani - February 11, 2010 10:08 pm

    As soon as we stop caring about what celebrities think, we can start being good role models for our children. When asked “Is John Mayer racist?” the correct response is “John Mayer’s opinion is of no value to us, for he does not exist in the real world.” At least that’s my opinion.

  33. Tom Penn - February 12, 2010 2:04 am

    Dr. Hill wrote:

    “Black people should be more careful about the White artists to whom we ascribe “honorary Black” status. It always seems to come back to bite us on the ass. Remember Justin Timberlake?”

    I must have missed this one: What did JT do?

  34. Roland M. - February 12, 2010 8:43 am

    @Tom,
    The SuperBowl fiasco dealing with Janet Jackson. Before that, he and his music on the solo level was widely accepted with the Black Community, especially with it written and produced by Black talent. Well you know while on stage and her breasts being exposed, he stepped out of the spotlight and let her take the brunt of the grief.

  35. blablabla - February 12, 2010 4:51 pm

    18. J. Joseph wrote:
    Your on point Hill…we do not need validation and if we can’t understand that some comments still causes scarring among people of color especially Black women then we will continue to allow entertainers, politicians, and whoever gets the mic to speak their unsolicited opinions about our race.
    Moreover, John Mayer is a musically talented dumb-ass of whom all previously downloaded songs will be deleted from my iPod! No “hood pass” here!

    Oh so blacks can way whatever they like and everyone else should shut up?! The “white boy” thing is case in point.

    When you have a big chip on your shoulder it’s more likely that it will get knocked off.

    Besides, to those who complain that Mayer’s comments were “UNSOLICITED”.. uh.. what was the question asked by the interviewer?

    Good grief, there is very little logic and lots of emotion here.

    .

  36. Cree Seven - February 13, 2010 5:17 pm

    The most savage Racist/white supremacists have been sexing black females for centuries. I am far less concerned with John Mayer’s statements than the deceitful actions of those white men. BTW, Mr. Mayer, is that a “yes” or a”no?” DO BLACK WOMEN THROW THEMSELVES AT YOU? — “No” you say? Hmmm—-Now, what was the reason you offered for this? Uhuh, I see.

  37. Keisha - February 14, 2010 7:20 am

    “1. Lovely209 wrote:
    Personally, I am not offended by his remarks (although I do think they were made in poor taste) but the dude didn’t even answer the freakin question. The question was do black women throw themselves at you? Not are you attracted to them? Quite frankly, I think he dodged the real question because beautiful black women aren’t interested in him any way.”

    Totally agree with you there. As an attractive, black girl I never knew who this John Mayer was until now.

  38. J - February 16, 2010 1:24 pm

    @mugani–eloquent & on point.

    Not all black women seek validation from the White community, yet many times their opinion has been given so much credibility that it influences other cultures’ opinions of us as well. Prime example, a friend convinced me to see the new movie Valentines’ Day.
    [WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!]

    Of this massive ensemble of characters who break up, make up, and celebrate love, in various forms–familial, interracial, heterosexual, & homosexual–in a city with a large & diverse population, guess who is the only character who goes the entire film w/o a love interest…of any kind…not even sincere friendship…or a bond w/ her mom…the black woman.

  39. Ebony - February 22, 2010 12:08 pm

    While I don’t think John Mayer is a racist, I think he is an idiot. I believe the things he said were hurtful to some black women. I, for one was not so hurt by it but was disppointed. It only hurts if your looking for white people or people of other races to believe that black women are beautiful. For me its only hurtful when a black men in general saids, he doesn’t date black women, for obvious reasons. To set the record straight, It’s not a preference when black men say they don’t like or date black women, its self hatred. It would be like White men saying they don’t like or date white women, its ridiculous.

    Honestly, I don’t expect John Mayer to find black women attractive. Its really stupid how he saids he likes this black woman and that black woman, and then names them. Really he owes those black women an apology. Futheremore, its sickening how the media has not completely jumped on this, but when Kanye jumped on stage and interrupted Taylor Swift, he was immediately black listed, he couldn’t tour, every radio or or talk show host were making all kinds of unforgiving comments. John Mayer makes comments that were ignorant and he gets no repercussions. His career will go on without a blip.

  40. Davalicious - March 3, 2010 6:27 pm

    My boyfriend is white, and his penis doesn’t get off the couch for WHITE women. Sooo…to each his own. HOWEVER, I agree with the first comment. He DIDN’T answer the question at hand, because black women probably DON’T THROW THEMSELVES @ HIM AT ALL. I believe he has a complex anyway. Didn’t he just get DUMPED by Jennifer (Heartbreaker) Anderson, right after he LOST ALL THAT WEIGHT? The nerve…

  41. knowledge_base - March 10, 2010 6:09 am

    Stupid yes, Racist no. Do I care, not at all.

  42. rockerbox - July 25, 2010 7:23 pm

    WOW Im just getting up to speed on this cause someone mentioned it to me recently. I used to have some respect for this guy. Now he just looks like a clown. I dont understand how you can go from all the success he has had to thinking about white supremacy… makes no sense. Its the furthest thing from my mind, just the fact he said it – to me is very offensive. And I think the ladies here got it right.. no one (black, white, yellow, brown) in their right mind should be with this guy… hes an idiot. He obviously thinks a lot about his cock too.. what a guy…

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