'Morning Joe' panel: Rap music played role in OU fraternity's racist chant

Dylan Stableford
'Morning Joe' panel: Rap music played role in OU fraternity's racist chant

MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” weighed in on the fallout over a video showing members of Oklahoma University’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon participating in a racist chant, suggesting that the students were picking up cues from the rap music they listen to.

“The kids that are buying hip-hop or gangsta rap, it’s a white audience, and they hear this over and over again,” Joe Scarborough said on Wednesday’s show.

Scarborough and his guests weighed in on rapper Waka Flocka Flame’s decision not to perform at the school after the video surfaced. On Monday, the hip-hop star, who performed at the now-shuttered fraternity last year, told CNN he was “disgusted” by what he had heard.

“If you look at every single song — I guess you call these — that he’s written, it’s a bunch of garbage,” Scarborough’s co-host, Mika Brzezinski, said. “It’s full of N words, it’s full of F words. It’s wrong. And he shouldn’t be disgusted with [the students], he should be disgusted with himself.”

“It’s ‘N this,’ it’s ‘N that,’ it’s ‘Kill this,’ it’s ‘Kill that,’” Scarborough added.

Conservative columnist Bill Kristol broadened the discussion to include pop culture and those who profit from it.

“Popular culture becomes a cesspool, a lot of corporations profit off of it, and then people are surprised that some drunk 19-year-old kids repeat what they’ve been hearing,” Kristol said.

But MSNBC’s Willie Geist said there’s a difference between rappers using the N word and white fraternity students.

“There is a distinction between a bunch of white kids chanting about hanging someone from a tree using that term and Waka Flocka Flame using it,” Geist said.

Of course, it’s not just kids.

Beauton Gilbow, the fraternity’s 78-year-old “house mother,” known as “Mom B,” was seen in a different video, posted online Monday, using a racial slur while singing the words to another rap song (Trinidad James’s “All Gold Everything”) in 2013.

Twitter users were quick to mock the "Morning Joe" panel, with the hashtag #RapAlbumsThatCausedSlavery trending in the United States.

Later Wednesday, Brzezinski appeared on MSNBC's "The Cycle" to clarify her remarks.

"There is no moral equivalency between rap music and what happened on that bus," Brzezinski said. "The students in the video are responsible for what happened. It's beyond appalling -- its disgusting, actually. In no way is anyone else to blame."

Oklahoma University president David Boren said an investigation is under way to determine if any of the students seen in the video could be expelled for violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

On Tuesday, two students “who played a leadership role” in the singing were expelled, the university said.

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