Op-Ed: Race, media and pop culture

| March 29, 2016

 

U.S. opinions on Beyonce's half-time show.

U.S. opinions on Beyonce’s half-time show. Graphic via Tribune News Service

The idea of reading one more article about racial slurs or using up 10 precious minutes of your time to read this so called “writer” who believes his or her opinion matters or will even make a dent on social issues is on the bottom of your to-do list. I understand, news is getting repetitive and articles are becoming predictable; however, this issue has given us all an excuse to actually discuss a topic that is so prevalent in our everyday conversations: race.

The color of our skin has once again ignited this controversial, yet relevant issue. You now have mandatory discussions in class, you watch provocative half-time performances and you’re no longer interested in the performance but more about the meaning behind it, and you all of a sudden start using the hashtag #Blacklivesmatter because your favorite celebrities passed the message and you don’t want be left out. If that’s the case, don’t worry; I am right with you. But some of the bigger questions that come to mind is, why now? Why should we? Why is this happening all at once? We worked so hard to overcome race barriers of race and discrimination for a society that is now arguing between which lives matter more, which to me is a little absurd. Within this whole issue, I don’t understand how we praise one group of people, while degrading another calling this improvement.

Let’s go back to Beyoncé’s Super Bowl half-time performance, which you have obviously seen or heard about (if you don’t live under a rock). Likely it has you either saying 1) “Damn she is slaying up there” or 2) “What did I just watch?” I myself am a huge Queen B fan especially those dance moves; however, I do understand why some may have felt uncomfortable. The performance took me at complete shock. I was confused and uncomfortable, not for myself, but for people who don’t normally listen to Beyoncé music. My mind is so immune to lyrics and songs like “Formation” that I just end up singing along to it. Usually the more vulgar the better, but I can think of millions of people who would beg to differ – those millions of people who tune into the Super Bowl simply for the half-time performance. They want to be entertained, not preached at.

It was obvious that there was an agenda behind the performance, and Beyoncé had the right platform to endorse such powerful messages, which she successfully did. Now because Beyoncé had allegedly performed such powerful messages in her half-time performance we start to think that movements of such should be encouraged and followed. The purpose of these messages is to overcome race barriers such as recent racial discrimination especially towards the black community.

However, with that in mind, is bringing up historical facts and reliving the past the right move for change towards the future? Racial discrimination has been a part of our history, and as society we have struggled to overcome such horrible legacies in our country. The idea of bringing racism back in the picture and sometimes actually using it to fuel the race issue is just all very contradicting. There is absolutely no possible way to move forward, if we continue to bring up the past.

Some may argue that I don’t understand the issue of racism because I’m not black, but racial discrimination affects everyone regardless of their color. Being a Muslim-American citizen, I struggle with constant uncomfortable comments and stereotyping on a daily basis. Some may approach this issue by throwing #Muslimlivesmatters hashtags and protest award shows, since we don’t get nominated either. But some, like myself, set an example for others by not falling into the negativity and degrading of one another. Instead of playing the victim card I keep in mind that I will not be able to please everyone, and those who I don’t are the same people I wouldn’t want in my life anyways. Instead of fighting fire with fire it’s better to approach these issues with an open mind and willing to compromise, not battle for attention.

Writing this I have no intentions to make decisions for other people. My goal is not to make anyone feel sympathy for a certain community or blame an issue on someone specifically. The purpose of this is to have people think about this so called “controversial” topic in a different perspective and realize that if racism is really the issue fighting against it is not the solution. Hopefully this leaves you thinking about how to make a difference even if that means writing an article and calling yourself a so-called “writer.”

 

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Category:Music and Arts, Opinion, Society and Identity

I am student at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I am a current Marketing major. Apart from writing for NinerTimes, I enjoy spending my time swimming, playing volleyball, go on adventurous trips, and most importantly spending time with friends and family. I spend a lot of my time helping the community by joining non-profit organizations and volunteering. My biggest goal is to have a huge positive influence and be considered a historical idol someday.

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I am student at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I am a current Marketing major. Apart from writing for NinerTimes, I enjoy spending my time swimming, playing volleyball, go on adventurous trips, and most importantly spending time with friends and family. I spend a lot of my time helping the community by joining non-profit organizations and volunteering. My biggest goal is to have a huge positive influence and be considered a historical idol someday.