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RZA Tries to Clarify Comments About Respectability Politics and Police Brutality

1453295_743870535748045_683132297129302495_nLast week, rapper and composer RZA voiced his opinions on politics, race and police brutality in a Bloomberg interview.

However, there was a social media backlash for this particular statement:

“When you think about some of the brothers who are being brutalized by the police, you also got to have them take a look, and us take a look, in the mirror at the image we portray. If I’m a cop, and every time I see a young Black youth, whether I watch them on TV, movies, or just see them hanging out, and they’re not looking properly dressed, properly refined, you know, carrying himself, conducting himself proper hours of the day—things that a man does, you’re going to have a certain fear and stereotype of them.”

His words were hurtful to some because the way Black people dressed has never stopped police brutality. Suits and fedoras did not stop police dogs from attacking peaceful Black protesters during the Civil Rights Era. Fancy shirts and slacks did not stop lynchings in the 1920s and ’30s. Historically, respectability politics is a failure and a false sense of hope. Twitter users pointed that out:

RZA tries to elaborate on his points but his following tweets fell short:




It appears RZA has forgotten about the many great Civil Rights activists who were attacked while dressed in their Sunday best.

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