PLURALISTIC RECORDS STATEMENT ON BLACK LIVES:
Pluralistic Records headquarters are less than a mile from the site of George Floyd’s murder on May 25, 2020. A good deal of the neighborhood around us was burnt to the ground in the aftermath. I knew George. As the owner of Pluralistic, I can say that it was the “forceful” action (as opposed to “non-violence”) that finally got the attention of the incessant murder of Black folks by police it deserved. As an activist and educator (critical pedagogy at the U of MN), recent violence by police has brought me closer to a deeper revolutionary calling: that non-violence protects the state; that our choice of a future we want will not come without resurrection; that in this future, we must not become our own monsters and grasp that a rebirth of human decency will not be utopian. The goal may be, as Corey Robin once said, “to convert hysterical misery into ordinary unhappiness.” I want to complain about the humidity, rather than watch more murders of Black people at the hands of police, on the internet.
What holds our tongue? What makes us turn our back on this future? We are certainly living in “hysterical misery.” How long do we bear witness to the struggles of others before we act? Our daily-lives and history have given us plenty of examples – plenty of moments to witness. In the United States, our determination to be served, consume, waste, and safeguard our “individualism,” has led to an existential crisis on a massive scale.
Our denial of the narratives of those who are oppressed is the same as denying the car accident that happened in front of our eyes. We speed by, while the vehicle is on fire, saying, “not really my problem” or "it didn't happen."
I do not believe that the majority of white people in America are consciously committed to white supremacy. I believe most white Americans are appalled at the police murders of Black people. However, most white people go along with what disturbs them – they are otherwise terrified of the consequences of challenging injustice. Many white people consider the murder of George Floyd abhorrent. Sadly, once “order” is restored, so will their lives.
I am reminded that “whiteness” is a “club” (Noel Ingatiev). Black people will be treated with hatred by police ad infinitum. White people, as long as they act with “courtesy” (to police), that “courtesy” will predictably be reciprocated. However, if you are “white” and do not conform to the “club” and have a “fuck the police” bumper sticker on your car and are pulled over, you’ve broken the rules of the “club” and will likely face an uncourteous response. How many white folks are willing to agitate and disrupt the “rules of the club?” Will we perturb? Will we tamper with the rules? Will we intrude, resist, and unsettle the club? We will help to ABOLISH the club?
In the opinion of Pluralistic Records, BLACK LIVES MATTER THEN, TODAY, AND TOMORROW!
We encourage Black artists to submit demos to our label. In this time, we commit to giving those artists 100% of all earnings. It’s not a lot when our industry is suffering; therefore, I (Nate) will continue to speak up, speak out, act, and hold myself accountable for injustice in the world. I will also be giving most of my profits (from my music) to the Black Lives Matter Movement and other organizations needing support to make liberation possible.
PLURALISM: a form of society in which the members of minority groups maintain their independent cultural traditions.
RECORD: a thing constituting a piece of evidence about the past, especially an account of an act or occurrence kept in writing or some other permanent form.
In solidarity, Nate Laurence