Censorship And Music Essay, Research Paper
Censoring Music from Our Children
?I will kill you, you don?t want to f*** with me, b**** I will kill you? (Eminem). Is this the type of music we want our children listening to? Unfortunately, these lyrics by popular music star Eminem are exactly what children today are being subjected to. Musicians write music and gear their lyrics toward a certain group of people. However, if heard by the wrong crowd it may be offensive to certain age groups, cultures, or races. Therefore, censoring the music is a necessary action that we must take to prevent corruption of the youth and our culture. By censoring music we are preventing children from hearing the sex, violence, and racism that is clearly being vocalized by many of the popular musicians today.
?Sexual brutality has become the common currency of America?s youth culture? (Gore 236). Many songwriters today promote distasteful sex throughout their lyrics. Musicians such as Sisqo repeat, ?Let me see that thong,? and ?I?ll kiss the lips under your navel.? Believe it or not, he is very popular among young children, and the words to his songs can clearly be understood. I believe that children are not stupid, and are able to understand the content of this material. Consequently, they are being taught this senseless information. Sex is a very unfamiliar topic to most youngsters. Therefore it should be taught to them by their parents, and not given misconceptions through vulgar song lyrics. Also, ?several rock groups now simulate sexual torture and murder during
live performances? (Gore 236). In July, Eminem held a concert in which he brought an inflatable doll, which represented his wife, onto the set. After being told several times that use of the toy was not allowed he continued to defy the law by presenting it on stage. (Bozza). Young children should not be permitted to view and listen to this explicit material, because it is corrupting their minds.
It is obvious that sex is widely referred to in today?s music. However, so is violence. In Dayton, Ohio, ?An 11-year-old boy had shot and killed his 3-year-old sister and wounded his 5-year-old sister. He said he was imitating Tupac Shakur? (Parents? Advocates). Some of Tupac?s lyrics include, ?Blast people first. Ask questions Last.? Has anyone ever stopped to think that maybe these lyrics may subliminally put messages in children?s minds? Believe it or not, they enjoy listening to this type of music. Nick Bradeen, a fourteen year old, who is an avid fan of rap and industrial metal (Parents? Advocates), believes that, ?When you hear the songs, you can?t understand most of the words? (Parents? Advocates). I believe that when we hear a song that interests us, we listen to it repetitively until we know the words. By listening to these lyrics, children may try to reproduce the actions or emulate the words that are heard in the songs. Censoring this indecency is the only way to stop the minds of children from becoming perverted.
Not only are sex and violence areas that need to be monitored, but the racism in lyrics should also be checked. The word nigger is utilized in so many songs it is unbelievable. For instance, Tupac sings, ?Cops give a damn about a Negro. Pull the
trigger, kill a nigger he?s a hero.? DMX vocalizes, ?Nigger runnin? his mouth I?m gonna blow his mind out.? For centuries racism has been an issue that everyone has tried to conquer. If we are teaching it to children, they are going to grow up with premeditated
thoughts of racist acts before they know that their actions are wrong. Unfortunately, racism is not only taught by rap artists, but sung about in various plays as well. For example, ?South Pacific,? a musical for people of all ages, contains a song called ?You?ve Got To Be Carefully Taught? by Oscar Hammerstein. The lyrics to this song include,
You?ve got to be taught to be afraid,
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a different shade.
You?ve got to be carefully taught.
You?ve got to be taught before it?s too late
Before you?re six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate.
You?ve got to be carefully taught.
. By hearing these lyrics in a play, we are definitely promoting racism.
Finally, as if listening to this material isn?t corrupting enough, children are also able to view this music on television. MTV and VH1 are two channels that play music videos constantly. Here, youngsters are able to not only listen to the music, but further get a feel for what the singer is trying to emphasize by watching the video as well. Pop artist, Christina Aguilera, who claims to portray herself as a teen-idol, prances across the
screen half-naked, dancing sexually to words such as ?I?m a genie in a bottle baby, Gotta rub me the right way honey.? Maybe some children would not understand the meaning of this if they had just heard it, but seeing another man rub this ?teen idol? all over her
body definitely portrays a different message. Both children and teenagers aspire to be like their idols, and want to do everything they do and say. Is this how we want our own children to act? Also, a video by Eminem delineates ?a five-minute clip that contains
partially nude women, and depicts a liquor-store holdup that ends in a bloody shoot-out? (Bozza). Videos such as these are very accessible to our children. Is this what
we want them to learn? With the aid of censorship, we can eradicate this lewd material and replace it with more appropriate videos.
Unfortunately, parents do not know enough about the vulgarity in song lyrics to be able to control everything their child listens to. There are certain types of music that are only appropriate for certain audiences. By censoring music, we are able to keep the unsuitable music away from children. Placing warning labels on music that contains explicit lyrics is one way to safeguard against these profanities. By doing so, record companies will not be held responsible for the actions of the youth, whose minds are very impressionable at such a young age. ?We do not need to put a childproof cap on the world, but we need to remind the nation that children live in it, too, and deserve respect and sensitive treatment? (Gore 236). Parents should be made aware of the type of music and vocals being presented to their children through songs. By censoring the lyrics, we are merely aiding parents in making sure this appalling material does not contaminate their child?s mind.
1. Aguilera, Christina. Genie in a Bottle.
2. Bozza, Anthony. ?Eminem?s Wife Attempts Suicide, City Censors Hometown
Concert.? Rolling Stone 17 August 2000. Quinnipiac Web Resources. Proquest.
Quinnipiac University Library, Hamden, 1 November 2000.
3. DMX. Party Up
4. Eminem. Kill You
5. Gore, Mary Elizabeth (Tipper). ?Curbing the Sexploitation Industry.? Portals. Ed.
Mary Segall and William R. Brown. Fort Worth: Harcourt, 1999. 235-238
6. Hammerstein, Oscar. You?ve Got to be Carefully Taught
7. ?Parents? Advocates Blast Record Industry Over Gangster Rap and Controversial
Lyrics? CQ Researcher Volume 2 (1999): 1028-1029
8. Sisqo. Thong Song. Got To Get It.
9. Tupak Shakur. Hypnotize