Joe Rogan causes outcry with segment on who should be considered ‘Black’ during Jordan Peterson interview

·4 min read

Tuesday’s edition of The Joe Rogan Experience on Spotify included an exchange between the eponymous host and his guest about who should or should not be referred to as Black.

Rogan was joined by YouTube personality and clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson and their conversation drifted onto the topic of race.

The host asked his guest what Professor Michael Eric Dyson had called Mr Peterson during a 2018 debate on race between the two.

“What did Michael Eric Dyson call you? A mean, angry white man?” Rogan asked Mr Peterson, who confirmed that is what he had been called — though Mediaite states the exact quote was: “You’re a mean, mad white man.”

“Hilarious. You’re not mean at all. That’s what’s dumb about that statement. You’re not mean at all,” Rogan responded.

“I am white — actually that’s a lie too. I am kind of tan. And he was actually not Black, he was sort of brown,” Mr Peterson replied.

The two men then debated their respective whiteness,

“If you’re tan then what the f*** am I. Because I’m darker than you. That’s ridiculous,” Rogan exclaimed.

“Neither of us are white,” Mr Peterson replied, reiterating that Professor Dyson was “brown, not Black”.

“Well, isn’t that weird. The Black and white thing is so strange because the shades are such a spectrum of shades of people,” said Rogan.

He then added: “Unless you are talking to someone who is, like, 100 per cent African from the darkest place, where they are not wearing any clothes all day and they have developed all of that melanin to protect themselves from the sun, even the term Black is weird. When you use it for people who are literally my colour, it becomes very strange.”

Twitter was quick to react to the conversation between two, as one user put it sarcastically, “intellectual giants”.

“Great. Two white guys trying to police what Black people call ourselves,” wrote another.

“Joe Rogan jumps the shark, now he’s just talking out of his a**,” wrote NBC Universal executive Mike Sington. “He’s going to tell you whether you can call yourself Black or not. According to him, you have to be ‘100 per cent African from the darkest place, where they are not wearing any clothes all day’.”

Another post reads: “Every week Joe Rogan uses the ‘I’m just asking questions’ and ‘hearing opposing views’ facade to push misinformation and bigotry.”

“This conversation was precisely on the level of two teenagers trying to be philosophical while smoking pot. For the first time,” said another tweet. “Would be funny, if there weren’t thousands of adults worldwide who believe these two are brilliant thinkers.”

Another described the segment as: “Watching racists find out racial categories are arbitrary in real time and STILL get it backwards.”

“I’d rather have Neil Young,” said one person noting the singer’s demand that Spotify can have either his music or Rogan’s podcast over the Covid-19 misinformation that often features.

Professor Dyson told The Daily Beast on Wednesday: “Clearly they haven’t kept up with discussion about how race isn’t just about skin tone or color, but about a host of meanings determined in the social world.”

He continued: “Blackness is not about shade, but about the shade provided by traditions of Black thought, culture and resistance. But in a way, Blackness is about throwing certain kinds of shade, and I’d love to go on Rogan’s podcast to share my thoughts and chop it up.”

Professor Dyson added: “I’m afraid he may be too afraid to engage me directly. Better to talk behind my ear than to my face. But let’s see. We would have a blast of a time!”

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