Macklemore's Latest Apology for Jewish Stereotype Costume Puts the Blame on Us
Is Macklemore sorry about his tour costume? Sort of. The singer/rapper came under fire this week for dressing up as what many thought to be a stereotype of a Jewish man at Seattle's Experience Music Project Museum during a surprise live set. His costume, complete with an oversized nose and dark beard, caused an uproar... but Macklemore just didn't see what the problem was. He insisted he was wearing a "fake witches' nose" and that he had planned for a "random costume," not a "stereotype of anybody." Now, Macklemore is changing his tune — well, sort of — with a new apology that he posted on his website. Macklemore is insisting that he isn't the person that the media has recently described him as:
On Friday night we had a surprise show at the EMP Museum in Seattle. Earlier in the day I thought it would be fun to dress up in a disguise and go incognito to the event... I ended up with a big witch nose. I went with a black beard, because that’s the furthest color from my natural hair. Disguise was the intention. I personally thought I looked very ambiguous in terms of any “type” of person... I wasn’t attempting to mimic any culture, nor resemble one. A “Jewish stereotype” never crossed my mind... Thus, it was surprising and disappointing that the images of a disguise were sensationalized leading to the immediate assertion that my costume was anti-Semetic. I acknowledge how the costume could, within a context of stereotyping, be ascribed to a Jewish caricature. I am here to say that it was absolutely not my intention, and unfortunately at the time I did not foresee the costume to be viewed in such regard.
Once again Macklemore is playing the whole "I didn't know any better!" card, which, while plausible, seems unlikely. It doesn't appear that Macklemore wanted to offend anyone with his costume, however, he clearly did not examine his behavior prior to this incident. Are we really supposed to believe that no one — really, not one single person — didn't inform him that his "random costume" resembled a stereotype of a Jewish man?
If no one did, that's just another issue in itself. As Anneliese Cooper here at Bustle put it, "[T]hat blitheness is almost more infuriating, because it’s yet another reminder of just how easy life can be for those whose accumulated check-boxes of societal advantage — white, wealthy, straight, male, etc. — make it possible to stroll through life without questioning or examining their behavior." Macklemore appears more worried about the fact that people will think he's anti-Semitic than in examining his own behavior.
The "Thrift Shop" singer made a choice to dress up in costume and didn't think about the implications of his decisions, but to write it off as a complete misunderstanding just feels wrong. His statement comes off as a way to absolve himself, when what he should be doing is developing an understanding as to why his costume was so offensive to others in the first place.