According to Mike Huckabee's recent memoir, God, Guns, Grits and Gravy, Jay Z is "pimp" who's been "exploiting" Beyoncé's body to set pop culture trends and corrupt the minds of innocent American children. His accusations are incredibly unfair and bordering on racist, as Jon Stewart proved on The Daily Show Monday night.
In his interview with the once-before and possibly once more presidential hopeful, Stewart accused Huckabee of treating Jay Z and Beyoncé with a terrible double standard. Take a look:
The takedown: The pair's conversation quickly turned its focus to Beyoncé and what Huckabee believes is a pattern of behavior that will ultimately hurt Americans:
But because a classic Jon Stewart takedown might have been a bit awkward in person, Stewart let a video clip do most of the talking. The footage came from a Fox broadcast showing Huckabee playing bass with conservative rock star Ted Nugent on the song "Cat Scratch Fever."
The music portion starts around the 5:22 mark below:
In case you've never heard it, the song — which Nugent often introduces as "Can't Scratch Her Beaver" — objectifies women's bodies to an arguably much greater degree than anything Beyoncé has ever released. But Huckabee tried to defend himself by arguing that Nugent's song is for adults, while Beyoncé's music is marketed to children.
But Stewart wouldn't have it. It's not marketing — it's racism.
"You excuse [Nugent's] type of crudeness because you agree with his stance on firearms," he told Huckabee, somewhat cheekily. "You don't approve of Beyoncé because she seems alien to you."
Stewart's argument is right on target. Simply put, when black artists are involved, Huckabee has no problem noticing misogyny, but he's blind to it when his peers are the perpetrators.
In his memoir, Huckabee frames the liberal media's glorification of Jay Z and Beyoncé as pushing a hyper-sexuality that's corrupting innocent American children. However, Huckabee glossed over the fact that plenty of his own good ol' boy musicians have done the exact same thing.
To make the comparison starkly clear, Stewart relates a quote from another beloved white singer, who's often excused for his violent and racy content — Johnny Cash. "Johnny Cash shot a man just to watch him die — that's some gangsta shit!" Stewart said. Clearly, this is bigger than one man and his cat scratch fever, whether Huckabee believes it or not.
Racism and sexism. Besides the obvious racial problems in what Huckabee is saying, there are also issues with what he seems to think is "hypersexual." The way many social conservatives have portrayed it, black women's bodies are somehow unacceptable in a way white women's bodies are not. When Nicki Minaj broke the Internet with her "Anaconda" booty shot, she drew criticism from concerned parents across America. They called out the cover for being inappropriate, even though a tremendous number of white women have flaunted their bodies in the same way for years.
And violence. Similar to Stewart's citation of Johnny Cash's lyrics, black rappers' words have also faced unfair and racist scrutiny in the nation's legal system. For years, courts have attempted to use rap lyrics to demonstrate a defendant's violent nature. In November 2014, rapper Tiny Doo landed in court facing a death sentence based on lyrics that claimed a gang affiliation, even though prosecutors have no evidence he took part in any crime.
"No other fictional form — musical, literary or cinematic — is used this way in the courts," rapper Killer Mike recently wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post, citing research that suggests the double standard "is rooted, at least in part, in stereotypes about the people of color primarily associated with rap music, as well as the misconception that hip-hop and the artists behind it are dangerous."
Lawyers have actually cited Johnny Cash's lyrics about shooting men to prove how ridiculous and racist the practice is. No one would ever think to take Cash to court for his lyrics claiming he killed a man in Reno. But a rapper who said he did so in Compton may face serious charges.
This double standard for black artists plays on deep-seated stereotypes that exist across American culture. People like Huckabee see black performers as hypersexual and immoral, while white performers slip by unscrutinized. Huckabee is just one small example of the problem. But considering these opinions are coming from a man who previously ran for president (and might again), the implications are truly unsettling.