Music has been associated with many perceptions that people have of one another within society. People who fit into the Rap and/or Hip-hop category of music tend to be seen as more mainstream music fans, with the usual perception that they are African American. However people that fit into the Country category of music tend to be perceived as more rowdy and most definitely white. For some reason, society has associated music with a certain race and behavior so that it’d be considered out of the ordinary if one did not necessarily seem to fit into these stereotypical labels. Myself being one of these “out of the ordinary” people, finds it ridiculous when I hear how incredible it is that I am a metal fan or that I have no interest in listening to Rap music as much as some say I should. Society should be willing to change its views and recognize that although this specific example of stereotyping is rather miniscule, it is still stereotyping.
Having been raised in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, I had been a part of a predominately black part of the United States. Rocky Mount is 62% black (Advameg, Inc., 2010) with the rest of the population spreading evenly amongst other races. My mother had been a Hip-hop / Blues music fan whilst my dad was more of a Rap fan. Having many friends that were also of the same race further exposed me to more Rap music and other music of it’s type. However, I didn’t take a liking to that specific type of music for whatever reason and listened to Megadeth for the first time while down there. The music was more original at the time and also more energetic. The need to express emotions and the ability to show anger and also happiness in so many ways; whether it be through a well timed solo that allowed you to head bang to the track even harder or a segment of the song that broke down into a final scream from the lead singer to let you know what he feels about what he’s singing is what drew me into the whole Metal experience. At the age of 13, I eventually ended up moving back to my hometown, Chicago, Illinois.
Attending a private school was much more different than the previous schools that I attended in North Carolina because it was more diverse. The students were a bit more forgiving when they found out the type of music that I listen to. After finishing my middle school years, I attended school at Niles North High School, an even more diverse school. I would occasionally get the millions of questions surrounding my fondness to this music genre but it was more forgiving than previous years. The point that I’m trying to make is that diversity helps because it provides the people within the diverse society different backgrounds to base their beliefs off of rather than being secluded and ignorant.
Of course, with all styles of music, there was a creator. People acknowledge these legends because they “created” specific styles of music. But, what people also tend to do is look at the race that “created” the music rather than just the type of person he/she was and the name he/she has. For some reason, people always turn to race when something is accomplished by an individual. If an African American man were to win the Nascar series, it’d be a huge news celebration just as exciting as a Caucasian running back in the NFL leading in rushing yards for the season. As opposed to looking at the great feats that were achieved, we look at an even greater statistic: the race of the person who achieved it.
Often times phrases are used to describe such people that are of a certain race and don’t live by what would be considered “normal” for their race, but “normal” for another’s. Offensive terms such as “Oreo” which is used to describe a black person that acts white or “SlimShady” which is a white person (typically male) that tends to act black. Of course, it should be obvious that there actually is no way to “act” a certain race, but society believes that races act a certain way so that it is possible to categorize people and attempt to create an understanding of each race based off of a pre-set mindset.
As a living, breathing society, we should look past race and accept things for what they are. There should be no specific category that each race is allotted to be accepted. An African American man blasting Metal in his car shouldn’t be crazy just because he’s an African American man, but because the music is too loud.