And no, Justin Bieber is not on the list.
Racism in the real world is pretty straightforward (if we ignore the ‘religion isn’t a race so how can I be racist’ whining and general anti-semantic fuckwittery): when you hate someone with a different skin tone who belongs to a group that came from somewhere else, you are a racist. In music, where prejudice can be camouflaged by poetry, racism is often harder to pin-point. Some accusations included in this list are, true to the title, ridiculous. Many are subtle. But then they go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like…
36. Morrissey. Every Time He Opens His Mouth
It’s unthinkable to compile a list like this and not include our Stephen, so let’s get him out of the way early. The lyrics of his most contentious songs (Bengali in Platforms, Asian Rut and National Front Disco) can sort of be read as Mozza relating to the plight of those suffering racism rather than demonising the victim, and the whole Union Jack waving can sort of be seen as a precursor to Gerri Halliwell’s way more offensive dress, but there’s no getting away from him saying things like ‘England for the English’, and ‘reggae is an absolute total glorification of black supremacy’. Love Music Hate Racism refuse to accept donations from him. And admitting ‘I like Nigel Farage a great deal’ doesn’t really help.
35. Picking On The Chinese In General
Low-level racism towards the Chinese has long bubbled away in pop: from the ‘funky China men from funky Chinatown’ of Carl Douglas’ Kung Fu Fighting, to the daughter-selling jibes by Siouxsie Sioux in Hong Kong Garden, to the sado-racism porn of Iggy Pop and David Bowie’s China Girl. Modern pop stars like Miley Cyrus, country singer Toby Keith and Joe Jonas from the Jonas Brothers continue the tradition by pulling slanty eyes in photographs. It could be worse, though. They could be Turning Japanese.
34. The Misquotation Of Lauryn Hill
Word that Lauryn Hill hated her white fans spread like wildfire (which was how rumours spread before Twitter), only it wasn’t her words, but a caller on The Howard Stern Show claiming he’d heard her say something like that on MTV. MTV took too long to step forward to say, actually, she said nothing like that at all, but by then Lauryn, the first hip-hop artist to win the ‘Album of the Year’ Grammy, was left broken. The disillusionment set off a chain of meltdowns that meant The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, which sold over 19 million copies, was to be her only album. Last in the news a couple of years back for being in prison, something she blamed, bizarrely, on ‘reverse racism’.