Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello reacted to a racist remark from a fan in a new Instagram post.
“It’s funny. While my skin tone is the same I’ve miraculously ‘changed colors’ as I got older. Growing up in Libertyville I was the only black kid. Everyone in town was crystal clear on that. Kids touched my curly hair, marveled over the color of my gums & palms, questioned whether I was intellectually their equal, periodically called me the ‘N-word’, some dads drew a hard line on dating, cops questioned me and once cuffed me for walking down the sidewalk, and the local KKK hung a noose in my family’s garage.
So, you see, I was BLACK. Then later on I played in a famous band. The bands music had many of the markers typically associated with “white” hard rock music, we appeared in magazines and on radio stations generally reserved for white artists, my speech & vocabulary in interviews are not stereotypically “urban”, and lo and behold there is a segment of my audience that freaks the fuck out whenever I reference being black. To them I must be white. I MUST. This cognitive dissonance is real, pervasive, and has haunted me throughout my career. Cognitive dissonance is the mental discomfort (psychological stress) experienced by a person who holds two or more contradictory beliefs.
This discomfort is triggered by a situation in which a person’s belief (I’m a fan of Tom! Tom is white!) clashes with new evidence (Tom says he’s black!) When confronted with facts that contradict beliefs, people will try to find a way to resolve the contradiction to reduce their discomfort (Tom you are not black! Stop talking about race as if you are!) A person who experiences internal inconsistency tends to become psychologically uncomfortable and is motivated to reduce the cognitive dissonance by avoiding contradictory information (Denying my skin color, African dad, and my Twitter & Insta pronouncements) likely to increase the magnitude of the cognitive dissonance. I don’t mean to single out this one jackass here, but it’s an illuminating example. One more example of the complex and messed up issue race remains in the US in 2019.”