Being anti-gun is not a ‘slave mentality’
The gun control debate I had with a rapper
I walked into the shooting range with my godfather and mother trailing behind me. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man blowing at his hand and wagging it repeatedly. The gun was clearly too hot after he shot it. My mother winced and looked around nervously. I whispered to my godfather, and we both agreed it was a better idea if my mother stayed outside of the shooting area. She happily obliged and beelined for the waiting room and then our rental car. This was not her thing. I wasn’t even sure it was mine. Up until that point, I’d been around enough Fourth of July BBQs and picnics to see guns, but I’d never asked to shoot one myself.
However, I was already in Atlanta to hang out at some historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). I’m not altogether sure who suggested the shooting range, but my godfather is a veteran who we were hanging out with all week. He seemed like the best person to go to in order to know how to unload, load and shoot correctly. And off we went. I observed how to do it and took my shots. (Depending on how you look at it, I’m a terrible shot. My bullets went into the neck but never the chest, so the same mission was achieved but my aim is too high.)
By the time I was done, I thought, “Meh, I’d rather go back to hanging out on college campuses and strolling around at Dr. King exhibits. This ain’t really my thing.” I don’t regret going to the shooting range. But I was as passionate about learning how to shoot as I was learning how to cook rice. Once I learned, my attitude was “So what?”
Stop calling it ‘a slave mentality’ when people don’t want guns
I sat on the phone with a well-known rapper, realizing this interview was turning into more of a debate — about everything from use of the n-word to gun rights. He had a right to his opinions. I just started to find him annoying. Everything he said felt like he wanted me to write it down as Bible truth. Still, as a (former) entertainment journalist, I often roll with the punches to get to what I really want to talk about in the interview.
But there was a moment in our conversation that made me ponder on hanging up. We were on the topic of politics and social justice when I mentioned something about my love-hate relationship with the Second Amendment. Right before I went on to the next topic, he mumbled, “That’s such a slave mentality.” I paused for a beat and wondered, “Is it worth having this argument too? Does this do me any good?”