I had a really hard time writing this, because it’s not my purpose to offend anyone.. but I’ll be lying if I wasn’t a bit pissed off. Also I’m kind of rusty at blogging and writing in general so my thoughts might not be as clear as I’d like. Anyway, I was reading this article which popped up on my facebook feed: http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/08/gay_rapper_to_macklemore_gay_people_dont_care_about_your_video_about_gay_people.html
In brief, it’s basically about some gay artist who (aside from claims of copyright infringement, which I won’t touch upon here because I disagree but anyway) is upset that Macklemore (and others like him) is “milking” the LGBTQ cause to make money. While I’m a fan of this website (colorlines) because it discusses topics of race and gender and all other sorts of social issues which are in dire need of deeper consideration by the masses methinks, I’m not sure I agree with this particular piece… but because I’m straight I feel like I’m not “allowed” to have an opinion on this.
…And that’s kind of EXACTLY my point. There’s a shit-ton of debate we could have surrounding these issues, and it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that Macklemore’s been accused of coming from a place of straight, white privilege (which is a whole other kettle of fish, by the way), hence rendering the point of his music/message completely irrelevant.
My questions are: So what if he is, and why is this causing such a shit storm? I even read this article in an attempt to comprehend why it did http://flavorwire.com/412156/queer-rapper-le1f-speaks-out-against-macklemore-why-same-love-doesnt-speak-for-the-lgbt-communityI and I’m left sort of bewildered. I honestly could care less about Macklemore’s music: that’s not the point. The point for me is: Since when is it bad for someone to show some sympathy, solidarity and genuine support for a cause? The author of the article above claims that it shows that ” “Same Love” is Acceptance for Dummies, essentially, a song for those who need to be told by one of their own that those who are different from them are human beings, too, and deserving of the same respect as anyone else. “. I don’t like the language used there either “one of their own”. What the hell is that? Tell me that isn’t that isn’t just as marginalizing as if I were to speak that way about gay people, or black people or, whomever else? And what’s so wrong about “acceptance for dummies”? Have you MET North America lately? It’s probably a damned good thing that we have some positive albeit “watered down” role models (as the author would argue) for people who’ve never left their living rooms (because like it or not, THAT’s a reality). Orientation, gender identity and all the rest are hard, complex issues for sure. They entail struggle and a lifetime of challenges and experience that some of us will never go through, and never be able to relate to, so isn’t it a good thing that we have SOMEONE out there who’s at least TRYING, in his perhaps limited understanding, to bridge some gaps, rather than creating more? I mean, would you prefer he used his fame and money to pull a Russia? Or perhaps he should rap about the silver spoon all we straight white people hit minorities over the head with or the giant golden toilet from atop of which we all shit on the poor. Are you kidding me?
The author also states: “And here’s a surprise for the heterosexual world: most of us didn’t learn from you anything about understanding and appreciating ourselves.” So let me get this … erm, straight: As a straight person I’m not allowed to show support or acceptance of any level of enthusiasm because I didn’t personally help you out of the closet? Well, in the most tolerant, accepting and loving way possible: fuck you too, buddy.
Another complaint the author has is that “This is how marginalized groups gain acceptance from the mainstream, apparently. It’s not all of the work that we do — it’s the work of the majority that brings awareness and understanding.” While I can understand how it might be frustrating that someone got more famous than you, (sorry) I really think that statement needs reconsidering.I mean, first of all, you’re negating all the work that people in the LGBTQ community ARE doing, (is the only measure of success fame and money?) and you are completely missing the point which is simply that people, whether mainstream or not, ARE talking about it. Even in the 90’s, this was unheard of. This is a GOOD thing. We are lucky to even be able to discuss and HAVE opinions on this, and SO WHAT if it comes up because we heard Macklemore on the radio? Maybe some kid out there WILL change his mind about gay people because of Macklemore, is that SO bad? And maybe that same kid will continue down this path of understanding, and open the door to more serious, activist music because of that gateway? Are you going to shoot this kid down?
I MEAN, WHAT DO YOU WANT???!!! It’s like, 20 years ago it was like “Man, nobody’s talking about gay rights, this sucks”. Now it’s “Oh shit, this famous guy is talking about gay rights, but he’s not doing it the right way, so FUCK HIM!” Can’t acceptance come from everyone or do we have to be picky about that too? Isn’t that a touch counterproductive ? I mean, this issue is going to be here for the long-haul…pick your goddamned battles, maybe? I’m not saying you have to be grateful or inspired to by Macklemore (and by the way, not all straight people are magically kissing his ass either), but this dude’s already on the right track isn’t he? Not to mention that personally, I consider a mainstream song that isn’t about “going to the club” or shaking your ass at a penis as a career goal to be a total success. Baby steps, people.
Plus, I think the “we versus them” mentality is dated. The language in that entire article, to me, is completely alienating to everyone. The mainstream, the minority, the we, the them… this kind of vocabulary isolates. It’s the work of everyone together, mainstream or not, who will bring about awareness and understanding.
On a more personal side note: It’s not like straight people chose to be part of this so-called majority either. Some of us have no idea what the fuck we’re doing here, and how we’re supposed to react either, because everything “we” do is apparently offensive, as hard we “we” try to be open-minded: and while I will never change that, I’m disappointed that it never seems never good enough. I didn’t choose to be an apparently boring, white, middle class, straight Canadian female. I tried to open my options, trust me… but I’m wired in a certain way, and as such I’m apparently condemned to the “straight white privilege club” where I’m not allowed to have an opinion on these things, because I’m too busy oppressing people. I mean, I guess I really am a hypocritical asshole for going to Pride, or supporting my lesbian sister, or having gay friends. I’ve not “struggled” enough in my life (of being geeky, overweight and English loner in a French province) to have any grasp on adversity or social issues, so….
(I bet Jonah Hill hates the gays too!)
My point is this: I don’t know Macklemore. He could be doing this for the money. But shit, so does everyone else in mainstream music. But if he’s going to do it anyway, I’m glad he’s promoting something socially useful for the three seconds he’ll be popular and leave some positive food for thought in his wake… or maybe you’d prefer twerking or more fucking bitches. And as a non-famous, ordinary straight person, if I choose to show support for something I care about, because my loved ones, my friends, my colleagues or fellow humans have faced hardship I’d really love not to be thrown under the bus for it, or have it assumed that I have no fucking idea what I’m talking about. That kind of generalization is just as bad as any generalization made about any other sort of “minority” out there.
Anyway. Those were my thoughts. I don’t hate anyone at all, and try to accept anyone who isn’t killing people or a psychopath, generally. So please don’t make me.