Okay, so over the weekend Green Day released the full track listing and lyrics to their songs off their upcoming album, “21st Century Breakdown.” Upon reading the lyrics to some of the songs, one will notice that Billie Joe uses the word “niggers” in the song, “American Eulogy: Mass Hysteria.” Here is the stanza in which it appears:
The punch line is a natural disaster
And it's sung by the unemployed
Because the martyr is a compulsive liar
When he said,
"It's just a bunch of niggers throwing gas into the hysteria"
Needless to say, the word has gotten a stir out of some Green Day fans. Many only focusing strictly on that word alone. At the time of writing this, it hasn’t made headlines in the popular music sites, and I honestly hope a big deal isn’t made out of this. While, I know it’s offensive and the word was constructed strictly to belittle a race/group of people, it isn’t written as a way to demean people. Rather, Billie Joe is using it to criticize the people who would say something like that. The song is in reference to hurricane Katrina and how the American government wrote off the severity of the disaster due to race and class.
Which leads me my next thought. Back in the “American Idiot” album Billie used the word, “Faggot” and “Fags” in two different songs. Again, in reference to conservatives or extremists who would want to subjugate homosexuals. However, my issue is that I saw only a few people actually say anything about that.
Suddenly it seems as if African Americans are more important than homosexuals? Why do the majority of people feel that saying things like, “that’s so gay” or “stop being a fag” is more acceptable than saying the word “nigger”? I don’t have the answers, I’m just stating the questions. Why is it more offensive to belittle blacks and not as offensive to belittle homosexuals? Is it because society is still very sexist and just better at hiding their racism?
Another example of this kind of "class and racism” ordeal is the case of the last two "Resident Evil" games.
“Resident Evil 5” made headlines an entire year before the game was released because the teaser trailer for the game had imagery of the games lead protagonist, Chris Redfield shooting African American villagers at point blank range. The game got heavy scrutiny and many blogged about it’s usage of African American stereotypes. For any gamer and any Resident Evil fan, you knew it was up for discussion whether in online message boards or in hang-outs.
So in order stomp on some of the controversies the developers at Capcom created Sheva Alomar, a thin, strong, sexy, African American woman to help you shoot down the Africans. As if this move was suppose to end the racist overtones of the game. (Good job with the sexist overtones though! Me and the boyz aren’t complainin’/sarcasm.)
My problem with this is that, virtually NOBODY mentioned anything about racism in the games prequel, “Resident Evil 4.” For starters, both games follow the exact same formula (so much so that after me and my brother played the demo, we figured we wouldn’t buy it because it was just a repackaged RE4). The only difference in RE5 is that instead of shooting African American individuals you’re shooting Hispanics and those of Spanish decent. I always found that to be a problem, but I thought nothing of it even though it was a jab at my heritage and race.
So I stress my questions some more; why is it more offensive to demean blacks and not as offensive to degrade Mexicans or Chicanos?
I guess my point is that: sexism and racism on any level is wrong. Whether it’s intentional or unintentional, racism and sexism (in all it’s disgusting faces) is destructive on all levels. To single out certain demeaning words while you let others go freely doesn’t do justice to anybody. The damage still inflicted. The fact that sexists and racists exist in the first place is exactly why these things should be destroyed on all it’s levels.
Yes, these words exist and they are harmful and those who do you use them need to use them with extreme caution in this day and age. However, you should ask yourself, had Billie Joe written "It's just a bunch of spics throwing gas into the hysteria", would have you have gotten offended? The songs meaning still applies, only another equally demeaning word is in it’s place.