Sexual Orientation - Path to Acceptance: Same Love by Macklemore
This post is the first of our new line of “Mainstream Monday” posts aimed at discussing the issues presented in popular music. Hope you like it and as always, feel free to comment on Twitter, Facebook, or send your thoughts to us at email@example.com.
“If I was gay I would think hip-hop hates me,
Have you read the YouTube comments lately?
‘Man that’s gay’ gets dropped on the daily,
We’ve become so numb to what we’re saying”
Where’s the Meaning?
In his song, “Same Love”, Macklemore explores the topic of homosexuality and humanizes the struggle for understanding and acceptance that the LGBTQ+ community faces. Through masterfully crafted lyrics and a thoughtful video, Macklemore touches on the notion that cultural groups (e.g. hip-hop) create their own and perpetuate existing systemic biases (‘I would think hip-hop hates me’) that are internalized by members of the group, who are, to a significant degree, blind to the effects that such biases may have on individuals.
Macklemore presents a myriad of probing examples of labeling's ramifications on personal and societal image. Employing a mixture of personal anecdote and larger commentary, Macklemore discusses the internalization of preconceived notions - decries the pejorative use of the term “gay”, discussing how stereotypes (including sexual orientation as a choice) and the toll that labeling sexual orientation as a deviance takes on personal mental health and society.
Words used blindly ‘behind the keys of a message board’ perpetuate particular issues that coalesce, in the context of same-sex marriage, at the nexus of mental health, identity, culture, and cyber-bullying. Macklemore is keen to point out the impact that words can have on people in a digital context (‘have you read the YouTube comments lately?’). Candidly, Macklemore is taking aim at the blind ignorance of digital exchange and expressing the fact that we need to be wake up and understand the effects our words have as ‘we’ve become so numb to what we’re saying.’
- What are the biases ingrained in groups that you associate with and what are the effects, either intended or unintended, on people around you?
- Some mainstream arguments contend that homosexuality will ‘erode the moral fabric’ of society, but what is the basis for this argument, and how can this claim be justified in the face of divorce rates hovering over 50%, unemployment, rampant drug abuse, or other cultural factors that could be eroding the ‘moral fabric’ of society?
- What are the rights inherent to humanity? How do systems (e.g. social media networks, state laws, cultural groups) undermine these rights, particularly in the context of same-sex marriage?
Further readings related to systemic bias:
GLAAD has been leading the way on leading the conversation on LGBTQ+ rights for over 30 years. “GLAAD works through entertainment, news, and digital media to share stories from the LGBTQ+ community that accelerate acceptance.” Find more on their work here, access their publications including media reference guides here, and donate here.
Bonus: They have also compiled a very helpful “Media Reference Guide” to help us all ensure that we are using appropriate language - check it out here.
Human Rights Campaign
HRC is the largest civil rights organization focused on LGBTQ+ Americans. In pursuit of this goal, they conduct research, communications, marketing and public relations campaigns in pursuit of their vision of “a world where LGBTQ+ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.” Learn more about local issues in your area here and if you want to take action, you can support their actions by following this link.