Macklemore’s ‘Same Love’ not helpful to LGBT community
I couldn’t escape it while cruising down Johnston the other day. It was on four (four!) stations at once. I scoffed and aggressively punched the radio off.
Why are we still pretending that Macklemore’s “Same Love” is a good song?
One Huffington Post review says it “hits the nail on the head,” but which nail is that, exactly? The Seattle-based rapper does indeed make compelling points in his song — such as putting religion on blast for its hypocrisy on the matter — but what does he say that is revolutionary? Which nail does this song hit on the head that countless advocates haven’t been pounding away at with their hammers for eternity now?
A straight white male states the obvious — like in the last verse when he groundbreakingly announces that people of all sexual orientations have the “same love” (no way?!) — and society blushes like a crushing little school girl.
“Aw, that is so sweet!” “He is so brave to say that! “How cool that he thinks so progressively!” “He’s not a homophobe? How adorable!”
This straight white male appears so admirable admitting that his-third-grade-self was “trippin’” when he thought he was into dudes because he has a gay uncle, an ability to draw and a tidy room. But rest assured! His mom reminded him that he’s straight! And he now shakes his head at himself for having had “a preconceived notion of what it all meant” and having believed “a bunch of stereotypes.”
Wait, what stereotypes?
Straight people don’t have gay relatives? Straight people aren’t creative? Straight people can’t clean up after themselves? These attributes are reserved only for those who like the same sex? Are these applicable only to guys? I’m so confused.
But no matter. Macklemore isn’t gay, and he realized this with an epiphany like, “Oh, duh. I couldn’t have been gay! I was good at little league!”
And now I’m even more confused. Here I was thinking athletic ability had nothing to do with sexual orientation. Don’t I feel dumb.
I’m certainly not disputing the existence of gay stereotypes, especially the ones television too frequently portrays as theatrical and bombastic (how else would we know the next-door neighbor in our favorite movie is gay if he didn’t exemplify every characteristic Hollywood has equated to homosexuality?) Macklemore is evidently repulsed by these “preconceived notions,” and he’s just trying to combat them.
But he doesn’t. If anything, he’s just another straight white male whose recognition and acknowledgment of these so-say stereotypes only strengthen their existence and spread their prevalence.
“Human rights for everybody. There is no difference!” he exclaims at one point during the tune, and I can just hear this doting society’s collective “Awww!” People revere Macklemore for not being prejudice because they think it would be totally understandable if he were. Why did our culture think, “Oh, Macklemore supports same-sex marriage? In his industry? How courageous!” instead of,“Oh, Macklemore is a decent human being? So, what? Why wouldn’t he be? Shouldn’t he be?”
He exposes just how far removed from reality he is midway through the second verse when he softly advises his listeners — most of whom, I dare to speculate, are also white and straight — to “live on” and “be yourself.”
How easy for a straight white male to say.
But I won’t be a hypocrite. I’m a white girl with a history of boyfriends who has never faced any discrimination or hatred. And although I, like Macklemore, am an advocate for LGBT rights, I won’t pretend to fathom the struggles my friends in that community have. I do support them, and I have particularly through political actions. But I can’t rightly pat them on the back and say, “Hey, I get it,” because I’m a white girl with a history of boyfriends who has never faced any discrimination or hatred and I don’t get it.
Honestly, though, I have no doubt Macklemore is genuine, and I’m certain he has only the best of intentions with his song that at one point reached the 11th spot on the Billboard Top 100. He wrote this hit in 2012 to influence voters in Washington state to vote in favor of same-sex marriage, and they did. Because of the song? I guess it’s possible.
But I can’t get behind the idea of people cashing in on their support of equality. And I can’t understand a society so unfamiliar with acceptance and tolerance that it places anyone who embodies them upon a throne. I can’t help but think the point “Same Love” tries to make has never actually been the point.
Macklemore does hit a nail on the head, but not the one he was aiming for.