I pick Annie up from school every day. When walking out of the building today, I heard the Black Eyed Peas blaring from one of the 2nd grade classrooms. And I cringed.
I was actually so irritated that I briefly considered stopping in the room to tell the teacher why I was bothered. But considering that we have a fabulous school that allows us to request teachers, and considering that this particular teacher came highly recommended to me, and considering that I haven’t formally met her yet, and considering that she is #2 on my request list, I refrained. Something tells me that I wouldn’t make the best impression with that.
Hey lady! The BEPs are scumbags and I’m shocked and appalled that you would have them anywhere near impressionable young children. You should turn that off immediately and oh by the way I think my child might be in your class next year nice to meet you.
Not so much.
But then later I thought hey, maybe I really should have told her. Because chances are, she doesn’t know why I loathe them so. And chances are, you don’t either.
The song that really put the BEPs on the map is a little ditty called ‘Let’s Get it Started.’ Familiar? I’m sure, since it was EveryWhere for quite a while. Commercials for the NBA, Apple, various television programs, in multiple video games, and – oh yeah – on the airwaves. About 5 years ago, ‘Let’s Get it Started’ had us surrounded. Nominated for Record of the Year and Rap Song of the Year, and Grammy award winner of Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 2005. By all accounts, a huge commercial success.
But what most of you don’t know was that the song wasn’t actually released in 2005. Not the first time, anyway. The first time it came out was in 2003, on the album Elephunk. And it had a different name.
“Let’s Get Retarded”
The lyrics weren’t marketable, for obvious reasons. So they changed them, and poof! Commercial success. But no one seems to know or care about what came before that.
Except me. I still care. And I think you should, too.
The R-word is beyond insensitive. It is beyond distasteful. It’s cruel. It’s demeaning.
It degrades and devalues a large group of the population, simply for their existence.
As my friend Darcie said, there are other words that were once used to belittle, based solely on the color of one’s skin. And we are quick to notice and shun those who would use such offensive language. So why is this word any different?
Don’t tell me I’m overly sensitive. Don’t tell me it’s meant to describe a way of dancing. Don’t tell me it doesn’t matter.
I’m a Pittsburgh girl, and a die-hard Steelers fan. You may have heard that we have a bit of a crap-storm swirling right now, in the form of Ben Roethlisberger. He’s accused of assaulting several women (among other indecent behavior) and his jerseys are now worthless. Why? Because no one wants to appear supportive of such scum.
I was once a die-hard Michael Jordan fan, with an extensive collection of memorabilia. All virtually worthless now, thanks to his less-than-impressive personal life.
Tiger Woods. Need I say more?
Don’t tell me we don’t care about nasty behavior, because clearly, we do. We care when it affects women or children or wives or blacks. We just don’t seem to care when it affects the disabled.
But I care.
My daughter is in a collaborative classroom because I requested it. She spends her day with children struggling simply to speak, and she learns side by side with children that are still working on basic reading. She does this because I care. Because these children matter to me. Because I believe that these children are her equals, and I want her to know that, too. I am committed to collaborative education, and Lord willing we will continue to be a part of it.
And because of that, I am personally offended by the Black Eyed Peas. Their song isn’t funny. It isn’t cute. And it isn’t excusable.
If they apologize, I may reconsider. (Though hey, how are we faring on accepting Michael Richards’ apology? hmmm, not so good, huh?) But then again, I’m not holding my breath. It’s been due for 7 years, and there’s so sign of it yet.
So yeah, I guess I do wish I’d stopped in that classroom. Maybe the teacher doesn’t know. Certainly I hope that is the case. But she should know, and so should you.
We make statements with our money. Our dollar is often the most powerful way we can make our voices heard. And I, for one, will not allow my dollar to say that I support lyrics like these.
Please, don’t you support them either.
(If you don’t click the link, let me fill you in – they also replace ‘retarded’ with ‘dumb’, ‘cuckoo’, ‘[ignorant]‘, and ‘stupid’. And they urge you to ‘bob your head like epilepsy’. But of course ‘in this context there’s no disrespect.’ Sure.)
I’m a woman who has boycotted Rally’s for 14 years because of their oral-sex simulating Big Buford commercials, so yeah, I can totally skip your skanky music.
Black Eyed Peas, you suck.