Michael Rapaport has long had a problematic relationship with the Black community. Many have often expressed that the white actor routinely portrays himself as an ally only to display seemingly racist or otherwise non-ally behavior.
During the most recent episode of the “Higher Learning” podcast, co-hosts Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay held a heated discussion about the actor’s “divisive but popular” social media presence. In a clip that has since been circulating the internet, Lathan tried to explain to Rapaport why posting images of Black people being beaten by law enforcement or fighting to his social media accounts contributes to a growing negative narrative surrounding the Black community.
Using himself as an example, Lathan attempted to explain why he doesn’t post negative images of Black people on his platform as a Black man. “On my social media, I don’t post any of these videos. I post no videos of violence. No videos of violence against Black people, no police beatings. I didn’t post the George Floyd. I post none of that,” Lathan began. “The reason I don’t post any of that stuff; there’s two things. Number one, Black Americans are continuously triggered by these images… They’re also continuously triggered by these images … You’re not going to pop up on my sh-t and see somebody getting beat up. They’re continuously triggered by these images. What they’re also triggered by is a national almost worldwide narrative that we are inherently hyper-violent and prone to criminality. What I’m telling you is that by you taking the time on your social media page to continuously hype and continuously promote negative images of black people… you’re harming the community.”
The “Higher Learner” star has various types of videos on his page, including the now-infamous South Beach clip in which crowds of people, predominately Black and mask-less, were seen dancing about in the middle of the street. One guy, in particular, was being chased down for allegedly running out on a restaurant bill.
At times Rapaport looked disengaged and even pulled out his ChapStick at a point. Other times he seemed visibly confused, asking, “Well, what’s negative?” to which the former TMZ reporter clarified, it’s not just clips of Black people being murdered. “I’ve seen you post fight videos of Black people,” Lathan responded. Rapaport confirmed that he does indeed post fight clips featuring Black people but tried to justify it, saying, “most of them I ripped from other Black people’s Instagram accounts,” dismissing the point Lathan attempted to make.
However, things got really intense when Lathan challenged the actor to post clips of white people fighting. Rapaport made the task seem almost too difficult, asking the host for assistance. “You can f–king find videos of white people fighting anywhere you want,” Lathan yelled out.
For the remainder of the clip, Rapaport tried to justify his actions as he went back and forth with the hosts. Lathan warned the actor that “there is zero difference between what you’re doing on your social media and the white supremacy nonsense that comes from FOX News.”
Many social media users commended the podcasters for having patience despite Rapaport’s reluctance to fully grasp the information given to him. One Twitter user wrote, “@VanLathan had a lot of patience. Michael R wants to ask any question, but smugly defends his sense of superiority on the question of racism-cause he likes hip hop. Yells, interrupts Van, yet persistently insists he’s not being allowed to ‘finish.’ Absolutely tone deaf.”
Another person commented, “Michael just talks to much. There was multiple times he could have listened to y’all on the perception of things but he is too busy thinking of how to defend himself rather than see how he is offending others.”
Rapaport ultimately shared a fight clip featuring white men doing karate with the caption, “I’ll do better.” Many critics called the post “lame and lazy.”