There is no escaping stereotypes in the world that we live in today. There will always be some asshole somewhere down in the bayou who thinks that whatever he finds “unlikable” should be wiped from the planet and destroyed forever. One of the biggest stereotypes from around where I live is that all African-Americans, blacks, some people (or whatever your PC-filled mind wants to call them) are all stupid, annoying, pointless, and the “absolute reason as to why this country is goin’ down the s**tter”; the fact that the KKK is around here doesn’t help either. But I’m not going to get into that, nor do I want to. However, some stereotypes are completely pointless and should be buried for the benefit of everyone. And of course, the one that I’m talking about is the one that “explains” how each and every single musical genre out there is bad in some way. The most obvious stereotype among these are those that point their big fat noses at us metal heads.
First off, sometimes I get it. Sometimes, some people take things a bit too far and cause some ripples among our society. That, sadly, can’t be helped. BUT, does every single person who openly says “I listen to metal” have to being automatically labeled as someone who is either violent, suicidal, crazy, moody, socially unacceptable, weird, Satanic, a problem, a drug addict, and “unsafe”? Come on now! Sure, some people out there are a few of those, but not all of us! I can happily and proudly say that me and several of hundreds of thousands of people out there are the exact opposite! Many are peaceful. Several have lives that they enjoy and don’t want to leave. Thousands have stable minds, fit very well among many social groups in the country, non-Satanic (especially that one; and some are even Christians, Catholics, etc., etc.), problem solvers, drug and alcohol free, and 100% safe to be around anytime your little heart desires. So why do these stereotypes apply to all of us?
But if that’s how some of you want to play, I can do just the same thing. People who listen to, love, and admire rap music everyday : I could say that absolutely 100% of you are stupid potheads who have little to no educational value or any value to our country because of the music of Eminem, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, whoever. Country listeners : I could say that Travis Tritt, Rascal Flats, and Little Big Town slowly transform you into Alabama-born hicks that have the same accent, live in mobile homes on the river bank among alligators and mosquitoes the size of f**kin’ softballs. Orchestra/opera lovers : I could say that the soft, free flowing music that you listen to makes you wimps and even though some of you may be intellectually superior, you are physically useless and are worthless in this country where we need people working in hardware and other fields like that because Bach, Mozart, and Howard Shore made you that way.
But I won’t say any of that. Why? Because it doesn’t apply to all of you. I know several people who listen to rap who have never done drugs and are some of the smartest people I’ve ever met when it comes to technology and computers. One of my best friends loves country and once aspired to be a country singer, and he is just a normal person as you or me and he is the exact opposite of what the stereotypes dictate. My old history teacher listened to opera and Mozart on a daily basis; he was and still is the largest person I’ve ever met. Standing at 7’5″ most of his body weight was muscle and he was one of the school’s football coaches, and one of the smartest and most sensible person I’ve ever met.
You know what I did and said when I found out that my friends and these people that I had massive respect for listened to those genres? Nothing. Because there was nothing to say or do but accept what you’ve learned and move on. If you met someone without knowing they’re musical preferences and you got along with that person swimmingly, it wouldn’t matter what they listened to because you knew they were a great person. But I can guarantee if two people walked up to each other and (let’s make up some names, Bob and Jill) if Bob told Jill first thing that he listens to heavy metal, Jill would instantly have a stereotypical review about Bob. And the same exact thing would be true vica versa.
The whole problem behind musical stereotyping (or any kind of stereotyping) is people assuming all the time. If Bob heard on the news that Person A shot Person B and that A listened to metal, Bob could go so far as to imagine that all metal listeners were like that and he’d go on in his life assuming that even though it’s not true for the vast majority of us. Sure, much of our music sounds angry and violent, but it helps us relieve stress and all that stuff like all music does. So why does that make ours differ from yours except from how it’s performed?
I do not get these stereotypes because musically I’m a special person. I listen to everything. Everything. Metal, orchestra, rap, pop, a little bit of country, some techno, jazz, it doesn’t matter. And this apparently just shouldn’t be a thing to some people. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been told that someone can’t enjoy Slipknot but also enjoyed Eminem. And I love these peoples pathetic attempts to make sense of the stupidity they just said. Why can’t I enjoy both of them? “Because. . . because. . . you can’t!” It’s stupid.
If that’s people’s reasoning and if that’s the extent that these stereotypes have done to music fans, then people need to learn to cope and just go “oh well”.
A good friend of mine, Chris Currin, doesn’t listen to music which amazes me but I accept it. Even he doesn’t understand these stereotypes! That makes all these accusations that are being thrown around sound all the more pointless and stupid! I asked him about this once and he said the wisest thing I’ve ever heard about this topic, “If you let something as simple as a person’s preferred choice of music interfere in how you view that person as a person, then you have got to re-evaluate your own humanity.”
(Taken from, with permission, Head-Banger Reviews)