Opinion: Discrimination incrimination

Neville Hardman is a sophomore magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.  Contact her at [email protected].

Neville Hardman

After performing for the marriage of 33 couples at the Grammys this year, Macklemore is striking a match of revelation under the feet of the ill-informed. He launched an anti-discrimination campaign with Ryan Lewis on Jan. 30th in efforts to end bullying and hatred.

We’re living in a generation that is largely accepting of others, but we’re also a generation that is the quickest to judge and stick labels on the people around us. Take a lap around campus and try not to hear jargon like “hipster” or “scene kid.” It seems that terms used to condescend people have been involuntarily ingrained into our vocabulary like secondhand smoke.

Discrimination isn’t only limited to the big topics that are controversial enough to grab the public’s attention, nor is it always political.  It can be anything, even being disdainful toward someone for what they listen to. It’s become common to bash what other people like to stream through their speakers compared with our own playlists and interests.

I’m bothered that it’s difficult to enjoy underground music without being cornered into a stereotype, and then being shamed for being “part” of that group. Or when you’re given looks of contempt for liking two music genres that don’t mesh evenly because you have already been placed in an existing scene. We don’t have to dress or act a certain way to appreciate a good band, but people have been conditioned to believe the kind of music you listen to decides into which social group you fall. Some try to make connections in tight-knit groups and see what draws them together, trying to blame a certain dogma because of what labeling they’ve witnessed before.

We expect to see discrimination on the Internet, in literature and on the streets, but what no one tells you is that it ends up creeping into everyday conversation in the most tiny, unusual and undetected ways. Telling someone his or her music taste is awful is bullying. Giving someone hate for liking bands from the top 40 shouldn’t escape the lips. We think it’s normal to have to defend ourselves for playing a trendy song, but it’s not. We shouldn’t have to justify our playlist or what we feel like downloading to anyone.

It’s astounding how many support equal rights and preach tolerance, but those same people are the snappiest at finding ways to shame their peers. Putting someone down for what they like is bullying. Spotting a group and labeling them anything other than friends is senseless. It boils down to ignorance, and this ignorance has created a belief that forming harsh judgments is acceptable in our society. This campaign is a milestone for the new year, especially because it has captivated celebrities who have experienced issues with bullying to enlist in the cause. Although discrimination does not appear to be as much of a struggle as it was in the past, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis wouldn’t be rallying a campaign to stop it if it was not an issue.