I subscribe to a particular philosophy. That philosophy is that you can believe whatever you'd like, as long as you live your life in a fair and ethical manner. We will never be perfect. We will make mistakes. We will do things that are less than stellar (talk about people, feel jealous, angry, etc.), but the best we can do is try to improve ourselves and be happy with who we are.
Macklemore's song Same Love makes many valid points about society, some related to homosexuality and some not. Macklemore took a huge career-related risk releasing this song. He could have potentially alienated a portion of his fan base, risking sales, profits, etc. But he took a chance on sharing his views, and fortunately, he was rewarded for it.
It came to my attention today that rapper Bizzle so strongly disagreed with Macklemore's message that he wrote a response piece. Let me emphasize again that everyone is entitled to their opinion - and Bizzle is no exception - but if you're going to make a response, it's best to provide a compelling argument, and that is something Bizzle does not do.
Let's begin with this section of Bizzle's song:
There's a whole lot of things I could say really
But, see your hypocrisy is something I could paint vividly
Saying, it's the way you was born, and I'm sure that
You lust just like I do just in a different form
But I'm married so if I give into mine, I'm a cheater
If you give into yours, you just fight to make it legal
You rather fight God, then fight sin
The Bible is alright, until it calls what you like sin
And I feel so disrespected that you were so desperate
To compare your sexual habits to my skin (What?!?)
Calling it the new black
Tell me where they do that
Problem number one: Bizzle likens homosexuality to cheating. He cites legality. I see a few different issues with this argument:
- Cheating is more of an ethical argument than a legal one. Cheating hurts people. If two people are in a committed relationship, regardless of their gender, it does not cause the same pain as violating the trust in a relationship by cheating.
- Stating that the bible is alright until it calls what you like sin, well, that has plenty of problems. I'm not terribly familiar with holy texts, but I do know we'd live quite differently if we followed in a literal sense. And, to be fair, we are entitled to agree with some portions of holy texts while we disagree with others.
- Upon reading the lyrics regarding comparing sexuality to skin color, I read the lyrics of Macklemore's song to find the passage below. This passage does not call homosexuality the new black. (Insert bad joke here asking, "Isn't orange the new black?") Anyway, the passage seeks to show multiple instances of hate, not one that equates skin tone to a sexual preference. And Macklemore is saying they're all wrong. He's not saying his fight is stronger, or better - he's supporting the fact that historically, people have been forced to fight for their rights, which they deserve.
It's the same hate that's caused wars from religion
Gender and skin color
The complexion of your pigment
The same fight that lead people to walk-outs and sit-ins
Bizzle's next argument points to the fact that gay people can play straight, but he can never play white. Honestly, I can't argue that. It's true. But my point for this is, nobody should be forced to pretend they're somebody that they are not. So while people may be able to mask their sexuality, they should not be forced to do so.
Back to Bizzle's song:
Using black people as pawns for yo' agenda
And these sell out rappers will do whatever you tell em'
Skirts on stages, campaigning for that black vote
Afraid to be blackballed, so they play that role
I am not sure how this is relevant to Macklemore's original. So I figured I'd include it just because it confused me.
We all wicked and desire sin
But imagine a world where no one kept there desires in
If something was called right cuz' simply we desired it
When yo' right goes against my right, who's right would win
This point is valid. We do have conflicting desires, and sometimes one right wins out over another. But if someone's right isn't hurting people, aside from potentially offending them, why should people lose out on the opportunity to be happy? In the case of this song, this hits on the religious issue. Aren't we supposed to have a separation of church and state? The arguments Bizzle makes in his song are primarily based on religious grounds; marriage is a legal contract, not a religious one, unless you make it a religious matter.
Ever see use a word like retard
To describe someone who was born a little differently than we are
I guess down syndrome really isn't a thing ya'll
What do we call yo' syndrome?
Oh, that term is offensive now when it hits home
So, what gives you the right to call the way he was born a defect?
I call yours a defect, you feel it's disrespect
In a way, Bizzle accidentally supports Macklemore's point on this one. He's talking about how negative slurs can be harmful, which supports Macklemore's point about how the term 'gay' is used negatively. That being said, Bizzle's point is that we call certain characteristics defects and others not defects. Okay, yes, that's true. But I wouldn't call homosexuality a defect. It does not impact someone's ability to live in society and support themselves - or at least it shouldn't because we should not be discriminating against people for such matters. But we shouldn't be discriminating against good people for any matter at all. Like I said above, if you live your life in a moral and ethical manner, nothing else should matter. Society isn't perfect so that's not something we've reached at this time, but that doesn't make it right that certain characteristics define someone's ability to succeed.
There are two other parts of the song I want to address. One equates homosexuality to pedophilia. There's a big difference here: in an ethical homosexual relationship, there are two consenting adults. In the other situation, one person is too young to consent. This is a big difference - the issue of two people making a valid, adult decision about a relationship, versus the other scenario being non-consensual.
And here's the last piece:
What I won't allow you to do
Is paint this beautiful picture
Like we don't have people from the LGBT community out here
Running up in churches disrupting services
Kissing on the pulpit
Out here attacking old ladies
Throwing crosses down and stomping em'
Violently assaulting people
So don't take my most aggressive lines that you know
Or to that group and try to apply it to the friendliest
Lovingest gay person because that's not the case
And to that struggling Christian right now
Struggling with homosexuality
Fight the good fight soldier
No matter what anybody says
We all have different desires
Bizzle is right on one front - we all do have different desires. And sure, there are definitely gay people that have done bad things. But this is not exclusive to this community. There are people of all backgrounds and cultures that have done both good and bad things. We cannot cite the bad things that some people have done as descriptors for an entire culture.
Bizzle does note that - that we can't lump all gay people into the same category - but his reasoning is flawed. He's saying that the 'good' gay people are those that go to God and try to fight their desires. Well, I would say the 'good' gay people (and good people in general) are those who do good things for the world, for themselves, for their friends and for their families. The good people are those who use their abilities for positive changes. To make a better world. And every single person, I believe, has the ability to do that in some capacity. Some people, like Macklemore, have the ability to do that on a large scale by sending a positive message. Others may have a smaller sphere of influence, but even positive words of encouragement from one person to another can make a world of difference.
Although I am not gay, I believe that I can speak on this topic. Why? Because as a society, we discriminate on many levels: ethnicity, religion, gender, etc. Just because I'm not gay doesn't mean I haven't experienced judgment for characteristics that I was born with. I think we all have. And if we dig deep and recall the feelings of hurt and inadequacy we felt for being judged, we should understand - it's not our background or our sexuality that defines us - it's who we are as people. It's what we bring into the world. I make no claims to be perfect (I write a blog that primarily makes snarky remarks about those who appear on reality TV), but I have respect for those who do great things either on a small scale or for the world, and I hope that those who deserve respect, regardless of their lifestyles or backgrounds, receive it.
If you'd like to find the source lyrics for Macklemore and Bizzle's songs, here are the links:
Macklemore's Same Love
Bizzle's Same Love Response
And if you want to buy Macklemore's song, you can find it by clicking the image below.