Opinion: Is Metal Racist? – Defending Heavy Metal in the Age of Identity Politics
Written by The Black Metal Bitch
If you’re a white, cis-gendered male living in America there’s a pretty good chance you’ve been called a racist, a bigot or my personal favorite, a xenophobe. It would seem over the course of the past decade or so, especially with the advent of social media, the ever-growing concern for political correctness has become the number one priority for social justice warriors, particularly the over-privileged college students and far left activists. It’s everywhere these days. Day time talk shows like “The View” or “Dr. Phil” are filling the empty minds of their audiences with nonsense, garbage and non-issues that somehow qualify as current events or news; if you pay attention you can even find the politically correct, mixed race families selling you breakfast cereal or dish soap during commercial breaks. It’s on MTV, guilt tripping your children with specials like “Dear White People,” it’s during the half time show of the Super Bowl with A-list celebrities and pop singers pushing a toxic agenda that demonizes one racial group. The internet, which seems to have spawned this disgusting subculture, is impossible to navigate without stumbling into some blathering idiot crying about the latest super hero movie not meeting the correct ratio of black (excuse me, “people of color”) to white actors or god forbid there’s no homosexual sex scene in the latest episode of the Walking Dead! What’s even more troubling, at least in this humble writer’s opinion, is it would seem the world of underground metal has found its way into the sights of the political lynch mob.
Metal and rock’n’roll music is no stranger to controversy; Elvis Presley shaking his hips in the’ 50’s or Jim Morrison singing the lyrics to “Light My Fire” on television in the ‘60’s, and don’t even get me started on the decadence of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. By the late 80’s and early 90’s society’s fear turned into full-blown uproar thanks to legions of angry parents and prominent people like Tipper Gore who rallied against bands like Cannibal Corpse, Slayer, Ozzy Osbourne and even Twisted Sister, citing violent lyrics and imagery were responsible for adolescents involved in criminal activities or brainwashing them to harm others or even commit suicide. The end result of all of that were those pesky “Parental Advisory” stickers. Ok, so that was a small victory for Tipper Gore and her uptight coalition, but we’ll never forget that stunning court appearance by Dee Snyder.
As if parental advisory stickers weren’t bad enough, the year 1999 was marred by the horrible tragedy that befell Columbine High School one fateful April morning. When it came out the shooters were supposedly fans of Marilyn Manson, the usual suspects came together for a desperate effort to demonize metal performers. Fortunately, Manson and the many other bands accused of inspiring the shooting survived the media campaign against them, but even that wasn’t the worst to become of metal in recent years.
Today we have the rabid social justice warriors threatening shows with violent protest, most commonly assault by pepper spray followed by a mob beating, as well as bomb threats. So why are these people doing this? Well, it’s because they think they have the right to attack anyone they as perceive as a Nazi, fascist, or white supremacist. Sadly, most of the bands and fans they’re targeting aren’t any of those things. Rather, most of the bands just use the imagery for shock value. Just look at Slayer. I mean, if you can show me evidence of Slayer, a band with a Chilean lead singer, promoting Nazism and white power then I have an island for sale.
Look, I can’t even being to count the amount of bands that I listen to that utilize some aspect of militarist themes or Nazi era imagery. The list would go on for days. Why do these groups choose these images or growl songs about things like war, death and hatred? Well, for any number of reasons I suppose, but overall all it’s the shock value, which is nothing new. David Bowie used shock value to sell albums, and if I’m not mistaken the man, at one point, paraded around in a Nazi uniform and I’m pretty sure Bowie was no National Socialist. The same goes for Lemmy , Marilyn Manson and about a million other bands. It’s very similar to using Satanic visuals in the way it just smacks you in the face like a ten pound sledgehammer. It’s scary and forbidden and it’s something your parents will absolutely hate. That’s the beauty of metal, it’s rebellious and empowering. Shock value isn’t the only factor in all of this, a lot of bands choose to write songs about the atrocities of war; there are tales of battle or the horrors of wartime monsters like Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor who performed some pretty inhumane experiments on his prisoners, so there is also a historical element as well as a horror element and compared to rap music or pop music, where the main message is to shake your ass and have sex with strangers. With metal there’s at least some substance and the fact that a particular group sing songs of war or death and uses Nazi symbolism doesn’t mean the band is preaching Nazism, it’s an act!
Now look, I’m not going to deny the fact that there are actual Nazis in the metal world, but here in America where a lot of this social justice terrorism is popping up, people have the right to say whatever they want regardless of whether or not it offends. As a parent we have a responsibility to our children to monitor and screen the things they listen to. Banning things or using blackshirt tactics that the “anti-fascists” today are using isn’t the answer to anything. The fact is that we live in a free country (or at least it’s supposed to be) and no matter how many bands you boycott or protest, there will always be ideas and opinions that you’re not going to agree with, that’s life. Nothing you or anyone else does will ever change that, so cut the crap. Metal as a whole isn’t the bastion of racism, sexism, homophobia, or politics like you might think. Sure, that trash exists in the darkest corners of the genre, so if you want to mess with a band for the sake of politics then get your facts straight. But at the end of the day people, especially those with the inalienable right to free speech, should be allowed to decide what they want to listen to. If you don’t like a band for something they do or say then the solution is quite simple – don’t buy their albums or you don’t go to see them in concert. If you’re a parent that’s worried about your child getting into National Socialist Black Metal, well I guess you should make sure they aren’t listening to it, but try and remember that you have no right to ban something because you don’t like it. It’s childish, it’s pathetic and it’s un-American. That’s all there is to it.