Does race matter in metal? (July 2001)
Is Race Important In Metal?
By Michael De Los Muertos
Race is absolutely irrelevant to metal. Period. If the metal scene is
not 100% color-blind, it certainly should be. It's hard enough to find a
context in which anyone's race IS relevant to anything, but metal
certainly isn't one.
Is metal "white people's music?" I'm not sure I even know
what the question means. If the implication of the question is that
metal IS only listened to by white people, I denounce that idea as
absurd because anybody can see it's plainly untrue. I know black
metalheads, Asian metalheads, and a Native American metalhead. Hell,
there are Manowar fan organizations in West Africa! If the implication
of the question is that metal SHOULD BE only listened to by white
people, I denounce that idea as absurd, and I denounce anyone who
promulgates such an idea as a racist and a bigot. To state that any
particular race of people have a particular claim or priority in the
metal scene is ludicrous, as ludicrous as any racist idea anywhere,
whether it has to do with music or not.
To me racism is a very cut-and-dried issue. It is wrong. Racism is
completely unjustifiable in any form, period. It shames me that, after
thousands of years of history rife with irrefutable proof that ideas of
racial superiority are utterly without basis, such ideas still persist
into the 21st century, and in our supposedly advanced and progressive
age people still hold such sick, twisted and ignorant beliefs. People
who believe that one race is better than another are, by definition,
twisted individuals who believe in such ideas either out of rank
ignorance, or because they are bad people. There is no such thing as a
kinder, gentler, tolerant racist. It is impossible to be a racist
without being a vile scumbag. As with any segment of society, metal has
its share of those people. Until the scourge of racism is erased from
our civilization, we're fated to see the occasional presence of such a
person in the metal scene, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't get mad as
hell about it when it happens.
There is racism in our scene. Nearly ten years after his crimes,
there are still misguided metalheads who applaud the ideals and
philosophy of Varg Vikernes of the one-man band Burzum, despite
Vikernes's open worship of Nazism and Adolf Hitler and his recent
denunciation of black metal in general. Some bands from the Northern
European scene, and/or fans of such bands, have forwarded ideas that
such bands (particularly black metal bands) somehow support or advance
neo-pagan or "Aryan" supremacy, and should be seen as rallying
points for people to "take back" white homelands
"threatened" by inferior peoples. In North America, racism in
metal seems a little less prominent, if one discounts the ugly scene of
Nazi hardcore, punk and ambient outfits which aren't really metal
anyway, but it undoubtedly still exists. Thankfully these kinds of ideas
tend to occupy a lunatic fringe of the metal scene, as I don't feel that
the majority of metal fans or metal bands embrace, or even tolerate,
racist tendencies. To the extent a guiding philosophy can be ascribed to
metal as a whole - and such a thing can't be done without making
generalizations, to be sure - it would seem that individualism and
self-determination are basic ideas to most metalheads. Racism by
definition conflicts with these ideas, so I doubt there's too much
chance of the metal scene as a whole becoming predominantly or
substantially infected by the poison of racism.
For that reason I don't see why race matters at all when discussing
metal. I couldn't care less how many, or how few, black/Asian/Hispanic
metal singers, guitarists or drummers there are, or whether metal owes
more of its heritage to "black" jazz or "white"
European classical music, or anything along those lines. It's just not a
part of the equation, and it should never become one. End of rant.
Does Race Matter in Metal?
Is heavy metal only for whites? Hell no!! It's for anyone who likes
it regardless of race. I have often wondered why more heavy metal bands
are not from a race other then "white." Of course there are
several bands who have non-whites in the band - Death Angel, Suicidal Tendencies,
Steel Prophet to name just a few. It is however clear that most of the metal
I listen to is written/played by white people. That doesn't exclude
anyone else from listening to or playing it!!! I am usually
surprised when I see a black person playing in a metal band that isn't
rap / hip hop based. By surprised I do not mean I think he/she
shouldn't be there. I mean surprised as in a reaction like
"COOL." Same thing goes when you find out about those who are
metal heads because METAL IS FOR EVERYONE.
I know it's a stereotype to associate blacks with rap, but the majority
of rap artists are black and when you see a white dude doing the rap
thing I always wonder why he's acting like a black gangster. So perhaps
there are black rap dudes who look at one of their buddies strangely who
listens to metal because they like music mainly played by whites. It's
very petty to view music like this but it is the way it is. So
there are differences that I see between what people of different races
seem to like, but metal can cross those boundaries and make us all
Racism is so silly anyway. We're all people, we all are pretty much
the same. What will racists do when the aliens come to town and they are
green, purple, blue and those that are not even corporally shaped? What
will they do then? Learn to hate the purple aliens with one leg and
seven eyes but the green aliens with four legs are cool? See how
retarded that sounds? Well that's just how retarded racism is to me. If
you want to hate something, hate it for a reason not for a skin color! No
wonder the aliens haven't revealed themselves to us. I wouldn't if I
were one and looked at our society where people hate and kill one
another based on their skin color and religion. This world is fucked
up...and now, back to my metal bubble.
Does race matter in metal?
This months topic is one that has never crossed my mind before. I
have never thought of metal as a genre of music which is organized on
racial lines. Sure its a European and North American phenomena but there
are Japanese metal bands such as Loudness, bands with black members such
as God Forbid etc. Metal doesn't play to a specific race. The message is
not directed towards specific ethnic origins. Its made for everyone and
anyone who is interested in listening to music that is made for the love
of the genre and not for the money. Does Race play a part in metal? Sure
it does!! The only race that should listen to metal is the human race.
"Does race matter in metal?"
To be perfectly honest, the thought has never entered my mind. If the music kicks
ass, turn it up! Only if the lyrics are racially motivated, then it becomes a problem.
Does Race Matter In Metal?
Does race matter in metal? Is it only for whites? That may be the
perception to a few close-minded morons but it is certainly not the
case! Metal, despite the great personal importance that many of us
(including myself) put on it, is just a form of music. Well, O.K., it is
the greatest form of music, but I digress. Music is meant for enjoyment
by as many people as possible and not a simple minority of
"whites" or whatever. This is especially true for metal!
Unless everyone suddenly turned hypocritical or I just missed the
Aryanization of metal, it's always been referred to as a
"brotherhood". Last time I checked brotherhood was an
Unless you are a hermit, you've probably had many conversations with
other metalheads. In my experience metal fans are, by and large, a very
open-minded group where racism is generally not tolerated. Every group
will have its share of misinformed idiots who like to stir of trouble
but I'm proud to know that metalheads are one of the most tolerant
groups around. A perfect example of this can be seen right here at our
home. Our message board is filled with a variety of cool people while
bigots are quickly put in their place.
Racism is one of the worst plagues in the world. The scary thing is,
most racists fail to realize that they believe in a philosophy, whether
it is called Aryanism, White Supremacy or whatever, that is totally
false. Any quality scientific study on the subject will lead you to the
same conclusion: there is no such thing as race. Race does not exist,
and it never did. The fact of the matter is we all came from the same
origins so like it or not we're all in this thing called life together.
'Scuse me a minute while I climb down from the soapbox...there,
All joking aside though, racism has no place in metal, or anywhere
else for that matter. Metal was created to be enjoyed by as many
intelligent people as possible and it welcomes everyone, so long as you
check your bigotry at the door. Does race matter in metal? No.
NO...race does not matter in Metal. What does matter is great ass-kickin'
songs that carry over to an even better live show. I think if a
metalhead walked into a club full of blacks and saw a black metal band
cranking out incredible material, they wouldn't care and would wind up
enjoying the show. Metal fans are interested in bonding with other metal
fans because there aren't very many of us out there (compared to other
more popular genres). Music is universal. It's emotion, feel, and what's
in your heart...not on your skin.
Does race matter in metal?
No, absolutely not! Regardless of what race you are, Metal is a form
of music that can reach anybody at an emotional level. As people we are
all the similar (as in we experience the same types of feelings) when it
comes to the spectrum of human emotions. Metal encompasses a wide
variety of those emotions. Therefore race does not matter.
Does race matter in Metal? Why should it matter in anything? The
colour of a person’s skin is irrelevant to their ability to create. If
a band is good, I don’t care what their ethnic background is. As long
as the music doesn’t suck, I’ll listen to them. The only people who
would let such a petty factor keep them from enjoying good music are
those intellectually-challenged, beer-swilling f*ckwads who like to
drive around in their pickup trucks wearing their mother’s pillowcases
on their heads and burning crosses in the woods. I think the intelligent
people of the world should start a hate group against stupid people and
start hunting them down. How could we get into trouble with the law for
it? By killing these people off we’d be doing the government a favour
because then there’d be fewer welfare cheques to hand out.
"Dang, Pappy! Sum folk jus’ drug Cletus down tha road b’hin
a BMDubbya!!! ‘E wuz squealin’ like a stuck hog!"
Do we really need these idiots in our society??? I think not...
Here's a guest opinion from a fellow brother in metal, Nicholas Cervenka
(Fiddler On The Green)
First off, I'm not *black* per se, I'm mulatto (black/white) but this
still applies, I think.
Once, a while ago, I was at McDonalds in a Metallica shirt and my CD
player on. This guy comes up to me and asks me what I'm listening
to. I tell him I'm listening to Iron Maiden. He's like aren't
they a metal band? I'm like, yeah. He says but your black,
why don't you listen black people music, like rap? I'm like what??
He's like I thought black people only liked rap. If your black why
do you like metal and not rap? I didn't know what to say at this
so I just say I don't know, I guess I like white people music. He
left after that. But I'll never forget that. It got me to
thinking. What the fuck difference does my color have to do with
my liking metal?
I can see where he was coming from, though. The whole
"black=rap" stereotype is almost too common for it to be a
stereotype. There aren't too many black metalheads. (I'm the
only one I know) I thought the same thing when I saw a Mexican in a
Pantera shirt last week. Rap is as big with Mexicans (here at
least) as it is with the black people.
To me, the reason a black person can be into metal could be the
"nature vs. nurture" theory. A persons personality is
developed either by birth or by how they're brought up. In this
case maybe they simply didn't live in an environment where rap was
popular. This is the case with me. I've been around white
people all my life. I live with my white mother, and see her white
family. I don't even know the black side of my family AT ALL.
I've never met them before in my life. I guess I'm a "bracker"
(black cracker :)) as opposed to a whigger. I'm a black guy into
white shit. To me, that explains my interest in metal. If I
had been a more....black environment, I would have been into rap, no
doubt about it. Thus could be the reasons why there are black
metalheads. It can just be the environment in which they were
raised. (Incidentally the same case could apply with the whiggers)
In the end what does it matter. Red or Yellow, black or white,
if they like metal, its alright!! :)