A RAPPER from Mullumbimby who has become a star in the United States has unwittingly sparked outrage there over her use of terms seen as racist.
This has raised questions here over how sensitive young Australians are to other cultures.
Former model, 21-year-old Iggy Azalea, whose real name is Amethyst Kelly, was signed by Interscope Records after fans flocked to her rap videos on YouTube but has been accused of rapping racist lyrics for the second time in a few weeks.
In February she released a song called DRUGS in which she referred to herself as a “runaway slave master” that some Americans found offensive, including rising rap star Azealia Banks who accused her of “trivialising” black culture.
Iggy rapped into more hot water this week with the lyrics: “Yes I am the chief and y’all just the indians”.
Southern Cross University Associate Professor in Cultural Studies Dr Baden Offord said we often use racist language unknowingly.
“It’s good to air these issues because racism is often something that we tend to shy away from, [b]ut it exists in our language and in all of our institutions,” Prof Offord said.
“We live in a society where we frequently say: ‘I’m not a racist, but…’ and we need to acknowledge that we do make mistakes, offend people and hurt them and of course not always intentionally[“].
He said creative artists and performers question, challenge and play with meaning but they “do have responsibilities to society and they aren’t ever outside scrutiny”.
Iggy apologised for the “runaway slave master” lyrics earlier this month.
In other news…
News Ltd website breached race law, Ben Butler, The Age, March 29, 2012:
NEWS Limited breached racial discrimination laws by publishing on its Perthnow website “utterly offensive” reader comments that attacked four Aboriginal boys killed after crashing a stolen car, a court has found.
It is the second time in six months that the embattled media giant has been found in breach of the Racial Discrimination Act over material it has published about Aborigines.
In comments cleared by a News Limited moderator and published on Perthnow readers said the “young boys” were “criminal trash”, “scum” who should be used as “land fill” and would have continued a life of crime if they “had not been killed in the course of their criminal activities”. The boys were aged 15, 11, 10 and 17 at the time of the crash in June 2008.
Federal Court judge Michael Barker ordered News subsidiary Nationwide News to remove the comments and pay the mother of three of the boys damages of $12000.