I should start by saying I wouldn't characterize myself as a fan of Macklemore—not that I don't like his music, but I don't own any albums and wouldn't find myself at his concerts. Almost exactly for that reason, I was excited to see him perform. However, the moment he walked out onto the stage wearing that costume, my heart sank. I had to do a double take. REALLY?!
I was horrified, and even more so because I felt somewhat alone in the audience. I asked my friends if they thought we were witnessing anti-Semitic behavior on Macklemore's part. They seemed to agree, but continued to participate in the show. I found myself feeling incredibly upset and offended.
Thankfully, I never had to confront the kind of emotions I felt that night before, and I couldn't help putting myself into the shoes of so many other ethnicities whose identifies are inappropriately appropriated for entertainment, purposely or not. I immediately came home and started a conversation on Facebook inquiring about what others thought about his choice in costume. And while a few people felt I was overreacting, the vast majority of them seemed to agree that this was just a poor choice, one which may have lacked awareness and probably was executed without intention.
Macklemore always struck me as a pretty sensitive guy. Someone who would understand that he put me—and frankly everyone in the audience—in an uncomfortable position and would come out apologizing profusely for what was obviously a mistake. SO I was rather alarmed and further upset to see him attempt to just deflect the incident by merely saying he didn't see it as a racist costume. I hoped that he would have first offered an apology to anyone in the audience, like myself, who was horrified, going on to explain that he could see how the costume was a poor choice. That yes, he didn't really consider the racial overtones because of course, as a white man in our culture, he doesn't have to. That his privilege got in the way of his awareness and that he was deeply sorry to the Jewish people and to his audience for what was clearly an oversight. HAD that been his response, I would have thought, "What a cool dude," and I would have came out in support of such a statement and encouraged my friends to applaud his response and acknowledge that we could have all made such mistakes, but boy, what a great way to handle it. Instead we're left with "A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume. Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody." Well, Macklemore—that, sir, is not my idea of an apology.