RACISM WITHIN MUSIC LYRIC

When we are talking about music, we could discuss so many things. Music nowadays is considered as something universal from which perspectives we look at. We could discuss music from lyrics, genres, tones, and so forth. Somehow, music could be used as one of the media to represent the messages of something. Like commercial breaks that mostly represent the information about the goods to the consumers, music also does. However the case here is different, music represents the feeling of its creators in the form of lyrics to the people as the consumer or listener. Meanwhile, there is one condition in which one of the famous punk bands in US, NOFX, tries to represent to the people. This condition although in the history of US was erased a long time ago but in the Australia is still happening. NOFX applied the notion of racism in one of their song namely, Kill All the White Man.

As we already know, racism is considered as something destructive. It creates differentiation of human perspective among each others. According to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the term “racial discrimination” is defined as any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life (Corinus 29). The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines racism as a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority or inferiority of a particular racial group, and that it is also the prejudice based on such a belief (593). This is later would make a condition in which the strongest ones takes control the weakest ones. Mostly, the emergence of racism is influenced with some things such as gender, races, color of skins, culture, and so forth. Actually, the emergence of racism also the result of individual plays roles within social neighborhood due to the effects of popular culture. Some individuals might think that their places on social strata are higher than others. Racism has its roots in the belief that some people are superior because they belong to a particular race, ethnic or national group. The concept of race is a social construct, not a scientific one (www.racismnoway.com). The beliefs of racism actually is the misconception about people based on perceived racial lines and are often founded on the fear of difference, including differences in customs, values, religion, physical appearance and ways of living and viewing the world. This includes negative attitudes towards the use of different languages, ‘foreign’ accents or the use of non-standard variations of a dominant community language (Skutnabb 45). The racism is not only happens in human life but also in the music industry. The basic problem is not that the music industry is racist. Rather, the music industry is, like all the other media today, profit-oriented. If something is not going to make lots and lots of money, it would not be bought by a large company (www.everyhing2.com). This is mostly happens for the newcomers in the music industry. They have to attract the major label if they want to get success.

Meanwhile, Australia is a continent which its citizens are coming from all of the parts of the world. We could see how diversity of culture in Australia. Somehow, this condition emerges new problems. One of the problems is racism. Racism in Australia began after its founding by Captain James Cook. At first, Australia was used as a dump island for the prisoners because the prisons in England were full. Later, people were trying to go to Australia to begin a new life. As we have known, the local citizen of Australia is Aborigine. After the colonizing of white people in Australia, there are many conflicts appears. Mostly all of the conflicts are about racism to Aboriginal people. White people considered Aborigine as lazy, stink, and impolite people. This racism later happens until nowadays in every ways such as education, human rights, law, and so forth.

On the other side, the emergence of racism influences punk band NOFX to create a song that is talking about racism. They successfully wrote a song about racism which titled is Kill All the White Man. NOFX is an American punk rock band from San Francisco, California, formed in 1983 in Los Angeles. The band was formed by vocalist and bassist Fat Mike and guitarist Eric Melvin. Drummer Erik Sandin joined them shortly afterward. In 1991 El Hefe joined to play lead guitar and trumpet, rounding out the current line-up. The band rose to popularity in 1994 with their album Punk in Drublic which brought them in top chart.

NOFX has released 12 studio full lengths, 15 EPs, and many 7″ singles. The group has independently sold over 6 million records worldwide, making them one of the most successful independent acts of all time. The band also produced their show on Fuse TV entitled NOFX: Backstage Passport.

Racism at present is still considered as the important issue. This has directly relation with human rights. The fight against racism could come from many ways. One of the ways is coming from music by making lyric that tells about racism like NOFX did.

As we already know, racism is one of the big issues that human is still fighting against. The ways of fighting against racism could be coming from many ways. We could use posters, articles, and websites to give clearly views to the society the important things why we have to fight against racism. It (racism) destroys community cohesion and creates divisions in society (Barrie Pittock 47). This condition is still happening in Australia recently that there is unbalance position of white people with the local citizens, aborigine people. White people put themselves above aborigine people and indirectly create racial discrimination towards aborigine by separating them from the society. Aborigine people get limited access to the public services such as education, health, law. This condition actually is not only happening in Australia but also in United States in which we know that the President Abraham Lincoln had erased it hundred thousand years. NOFX as famous ska punk band tries to open people perspectives about racism through one of their songs, Kill All the White Man. Here below the lyrics of Kill All of the White Man,

The white man call himself civilized,

Cause he know how to take over,

The white man comes to pillage my village,

Now he tells me I have to bend over.

 

Oh yeah, kill all the white man.

 

No I don’t like the white man up in me,

He rape my people as he rape my country,

Everything I love and cherish, he tries to take away,

We will be rid of him, soon come the days.

Oh yeah, kill all the white man,

If we look at the first paragraph, we can see a clearly view how white man make a racial discrimination towards other races or culture. Racist attitudes may be manifested in a number of ways including common expressions of racial prejudice towards and stereotyped assumptions about other cultures (Niall McGuirk 15). If we compared to Australia racial discrimination, we can see directly the racial prejudice. As we already know, racial discrimination in Australia began after the settlement of white people. White people think that local citizens here is Aborigine like uncivilized, lazy, stink, and uneducated while white people made themselves as educated and civilized. This is portrayed within the song in the sentence, the white man call himself civilized. Aborigine got limited access to public services. Also, in the past, white people took aborigine children to be taught as white people and it was known as stolen generation. White people also bounded the aborigine ownership of their land. White people with their law try to take away the aborigine land to be built for their colonizing.

The sentences, Oh yeah, kill all the white man, actually represents the feeling of people who have been separated by others. As we know that in racial discrimination, there is a minor community because of the domination of major community. Sometimes, the minor community tries to pull domination of major community that mostly made them feels different. They will do anything to make them equal with others no matter how difficult it would be. Sometimes, minor community has to face the inconvenience prejudice from society that they are considered as uncommon people. If we make correlation to Aborigine condition, sometimes, aborigine people tries to defend their existence and human rights through the white people policies. They also face judgment from society that they are lazy, uneducated, stink, and so forth.

In the second paragraph, there is a clearly portrayed of abhorrence of people who have been separated from society because of racial discrimination. As we already know that in racial discrimination, some people are superior because they belong to a particular race, ethnic or national group. With this term, in Australia, the white people used their superiority to take others an existence and human right in this case is aborigine. The abhorrence of aborigine if we compared with the song is clearly seen in the sentence, He rape my people as he rape my country, Everything I love and cherish, he tries to take away, We will be rid of him, soon come the days. Racism affects everyone. It damages communities by limiting the contributions of its members and disrupts peaceful co-existence and co-operation between groups. It damages individuals by destroying self-confidence and preventing them from achieving their potential. In the case of Australia, the white people settlement have changed the way of life of Aborigine people of which at the past they lived under peacefully but soon they would live under difficulty.

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