Unfortunately, it’s time for another Joe Rogan-focused headline.
During a recent podcast interview with oft-criticized conservative figure Jordan Peterson, as spotted by the nonprofit watchdog organization Media Matters, the UFC-commentating comedian made remarks about racial identity and skin tone that have since been called out as racist.
The comments, notably, were preceded with Rogan’s mention of author and academic Michael Eric Dyson, who described Peterson as a “mean, mad white man” back in 2018.
“Depending on who you ask, either you’re a voice of reason and rationality and personal responsibility, or a voice of intolerance and bigotry and anger and hateful. … What did Michael Eric Dyson call you? A mean angry white man?” Rogan said on the four-hour episode. “Hilarious. You’re not mean at all. That’s what’s dumb about that statement.”
Peterson then said it was “a lie” to call him white, stating that he’s instead “kind of tan” and that Dyson “is actually not Black.” From there, Peterson said he and Rogan were both not white and reiterated that Dyson is “brown, not Black” before Rogan delivered the string of remarks that have received the bulk of the ensuing news coverage.
“Well, isn’t that weird? The Black and white thing is so strange because the shades are so…there’s such a spectrum of shades of people,” said Rogan, whose previous platforming of vaccine misinformation recently inspired a Spotify-focused act of protest from artist Neil Young. “Unless you’re talking to someone who is, like, 100 percent African from the darkest place where they’re not wearing any clothes all day and they’ve developed all that melanin to protect themselves from the sun. Even the term Black is weird and when you use it for people that are literally my color, it becomes very strange.”
The Rogan and Peterson discussion in question debuted on Tuesday, and by Wednesday Dyson had responded to the two’s widely slammed (see below) comments in a statement to the Daily Beast.
“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,” Dyson, who also said he’d “love” to talk with Rogan on the podcast, remarked. “Blackness is not about shade, but about the shade provided by traditions of Black thought, culture, and resistance.”
Earlier this month, hundreds of doctors and educators and other concerned health-focused officials penned an open letter to Spotify regarding the presence of pandemic-related misinformation on Rogan’s show.