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Tom Morello responds to accusation of ‘white privilege’: ‘I’m not white’

Graeme Massie
·2-min read
<p>Guitarist Tom Morello performs onstage during Global Citizen: The World On Stage at NYU Skirball Center on September 22, 2016 in New York City.</p> (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Guitarist Tom Morello performs onstage during Global Citizen: The World On Stage at NYU Skirball Center on September 22, 2016 in New York City.

(ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello responded to Twitter accusations of white privilege, by simply saying: “I’m not white”.

The Grammy Award-winning musician bluntly defended himself after he was criticised on the social media platform for his friendship with pro-Trump musician Ted Nugent.

Mr Morello was in fact born to an American mother, Mary, who is of Irish and Italian descent, while his father, Ngethe Njoroge, is a Kenyan diplomat who served as the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom in the 1970s.

The issue came up after Morello told Howard Stern earlier this week on his Sirius XM show about his friendship with the right-wing guitarist.

“Tom Morello’s white man privilege is showing,” tweeted @therealnubian2, which caught Mr Morello’s attention and earned his frank response.

Mr Morello, who is also a political activist, told Mr Stern that he became friends with Mr Nugent after being asked to contribute to a 60th birthday video for him.

“For his 60th birthday, someone reached out to me and said, ‘We’re making a video, and we’re asking guitar players [to say a few kind words],” he explained.

“At the time, the Ted Nugent which was sort of known in the world in general was this kind of more right-wing caricature – people were not thinking of him, first and foremost, as the guy who shredded on Stranglehold.

“But then I had to think, ‘What is the video that I’m going to make for Ted’s birthday?’

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“And I put some thought into it, and I said, ‘It’s gonna be about two things. One, it’s gonna be things that Tom Morello and Ted Nugent have in common,’ and I went down this long list of [things like] free-speech advocates, our love of rock and roll, our respect for black artists who created rock and roll.

“And then the second was things that Ted Nugent taught an adolescent Tom Morello about sex.”

And he added: “Anyway, so Ted called me up after that. And while we certainly have differences, I consider him a friend.”

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