Rapper Eminem dropped song “White America” right when George W. Bush was elected as president in 2002. Eminem spends most of the song calling out America for what it is–white, and only caring when it affects their people directly.
This is one of the opening images of the music video. It has the obvious police brutality occurring, beating a black man. You see that the man is covered, and all that is shown is the colored arm. The “parental advisory” sticker acts as a way of covering up what they do not want you to see. Along with this same idea, the people in the back are simply watching like zombies, no movement, or sense of care in their eyes for this poor man. It is as if they are hypnotized, or even used to this as normal behavior by police, still an accurate idea today.
During this time, Eminem was slandered for cursing in his music, and it was made so that these advisory stickers were put on albums that said they were “inappropriate.” Eminem argues that this is not freedom of speech anymore if you are censoring him. He shows in the above image how everyone fails to see that our leaders in music, movies, and even politics are puppets of what others want to see. This is why the pig has strings being controlled and acting as a distraction from the chaos occurring–in this image alone, the fire and planes behind. The two characters are urinating on this idea as a way of calling it “crap.” He even ends the song by calling out those people in congress during this time who he felt were trying to control him with the line “Fuck you, Ms. Cheney! Fuck you, Tipper Gore!” And continues with” Fuck you with the freest of speech this Divided States of Embarrassment will allow me to have!”
This is a repetitive image throughout the video. The names are the most important part, because they are literally saying “I am America” as he sings about how all the white people love his music, and for that reason, the parents are angry, because they think all the bad is routed to Eminem. It is ironic that there is shootings, and violence among the black community and no one bats an eye or cares to help, but when it involves white people, they need someone to blame and instead of questioning their own parenting, they blame Eminem. He states “Surely hiphop was never a problem in Harlem, only in Boston,” questioning why people are only upset when it involves white people in trouble.
The final image that left an impression on me was this one of drugs on a table with the label “white America” in the corner. At first glance, it seems like a regular school lunch, and once it begins zooming out, you see it is drugs. It is as if it is meant to seem like a regular thing, like the talk of drugs casually was during this time because of “the War on Drugs.” And this goes back to that idea of needing someone to blame for issues only caused by the individual themselves. But, this is America, a nation that wants to blame others for the War on Drugs, like famous drug lord Pablo Escobar for distributing drugs, as if it was not America demanding it. Rather than be upset at those doing the drugs, America is more upset at those distributing them to make a living. It leaves me questioning why our reflection process seems nonexistent, and becomes a blame game.