This is part two of a two part piece. To read part one, follow this link: http://peterhuston.blogspot.com/2016/12/controversy-and-censorship-meet.html
As detailed last week on this blog , a hip hop rap called "Meet the Flockers" was released in March of 2014 as part of an album called "My Crazy Life." The song detailed how to rob a home and specifically advised people to target homes in Chinese neighborhoods as Chinese have traditionally kept larger amounts of cash and valuables around the home than many ethnic groups.
Not surprisingly the song offended many Chinese Americans. This controversy grew after, as detailed on last week's blog post, a Chinese woman in Georgia shot some African Americans who were attempting to rob her house.
In this blog, I will discuss the politics of the song, the response from the Chinese community in the USA, and the the response to the response. Then I will discuss the legalities and free speech issues surrounding the song.
Responses to the song included protests outside of YG's shows as well as a petition to the White House asking that the song be banned.
"The song "Meet the Flockers" by YG encourages violence and crimes to a specific ethnic group. As one of this group in North America, I feel seriously offended and threatened. Please ban the song from public media and investigate legal responsibilities of the writer."
The petition was signed by over 100,000 people, and therefore under the rules of the "We the people" forum the White House was required to give a response.
The response was as follows:
"Thanks for taking the time to sign this petition on the We the People platform.
In other words, a form response, citing first amendment and freedom of speech concerns and a lack of authority by the White House to ban such a song.
At what point does a song, film, book, or other piece of media that discusses methods of committing crimes cross the line and lose its first amendment protection? This is an issue I've discussed before when I wrote about the Paladin Press "Hitman" book and its lawsuit for "Gauntlet" magazine's 13th issue.
[NOTE: I am not a lawyer., I am a freelance journalist. Please do not take the following as legal advice.]
In fact, this has been done. (The song even references the shooting in Atlanta, among other things.)
Then again, some would say it's best to argue these things. It's tought to day. Freedom of speech is not always pretty or safe but it's an important part of the American system. And, yes, I did look up the song and it is offensive to Chinese people.