Macklemore's Straight, White Position on Bias

The rapper is a member of neither the black nor the LGBT community. Is it OK for him to comment on both?

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Macklemore (Graham Denholm/Getty Images Entertainment)

This isn't the first time LGBT issues have been addressed in hip-hop. But it might just be the first time a straight white artist has championed gay rights so fiercely in the genre.

Rapper Macklemore's song "Same Love" tackles injustice with the best of intentions, but is he on the wrong road when he puts racism and homophobia in the same bucket -- especially when you consider the fact that he's experienced neither?

Maybe so, maybe not. Hel Gebreamlak, writing at Racialicious, explores the idea:

In "Same Love," Macklemore ... raps about hip hop as if it were his. The song lyrics even take it a step further by conflating Black Civil Rights and Gay Rights, which are both about identities he does not possess, and oppressions he does not experience:

A culture founded from oppression
Yet we don't have acceptance for 'em
Call each other f*ggots behind the keys of a message board
A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it
Gay is synonymous with the lesser
It's the same hate that's caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It's human rights for everybody, there is no difference

Though Macklemore may not be blaming Black people for homophobia, by focusing on homophobia in Black community spaces, as opposed to the pervasiveness of homophobia everywhere, white people get to remove themselves from the problem.

On top of this, the same argument that suggests that Black people should be more understanding of homophobia because of their own oppression is used both in the lyrics of "Same Love" and in many racist pro-marriage equality campaigns. This line of argument suggests that homophobia perpetrated by people of color is somehow worse because they should have known better as people who are also oppressed. Furthermore, when white people are homophobic, it is less condemnable because they don't know what it is like ...

Read more at Racialicious.

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