Censorship Have you ever been listening to the radio and heard a “beep” in some parts of the song you’re listening to? You know, the annoying sound that interrupts the song? The sound is a familiar one among those of us that listen to the radio, in particular Rap/ hip-hop music stations. This noise is heard because it’s used to bleep out/censor the word that was previously there; the word was most likely ‘bad’ or offensive. Censorship Is a growing concern for our society, whether It’s because of the lack of censorship or too much.

To understand censorship, It’s important that you know exactly what it is. According to an article by Jonathan Alter, “Let’s Stop Crying Wolf on Censorship” he believes that too many people are classifying something as censorship when in fact it isn’t. “If a record-company executive or an art gallery owner or a book publisher declines to disseminate something, that’s not censorship, it’s Judgment” (Alter 67) Alter wants to get a point across that you can’t just cry “Censorship” every time something Is changed, which a lot of people are doing.

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He tries to connect editing an article and changing song lyrics, and identify them as essentially the same thing. “If an editor wants to change the text of an article about ghetto life, that’s editing. But if a rap producer wants to change sociopath lyrics, that’s seen as censorship. ” (67) If you think about this, it makes sense. How would an editor wanting to change an article be classified any differently than a rap producer wanting to change lyrics?

Why Is changing the lyrics seen as censorship, but changing the article seen as editing? Alter also makes a strong point that censorship is induced solely by the government, “Real censorship is when the government–the overspent–bans books in school libraries, prosecutes artists and writers for their work, seizes pornography, exercises prior restraint. ” (67) After reading all of this you might start to question yourself (just as I did), what exactly is censorship?

The dictionary definition of censorship is defined as the following: the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically Incorrect or Inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet or other controlling body. According to the definition of censorship, in all reality Alters arguments are invalid. Censorship doesn’t only exist by means of the government; it can very well exist anywhere including in music and by producers. If a rap producer wants to change sociopath lyrics, it’s most likely because those lyrics are found harmful or objectionable.

In that case, requiring the music artist to change those lyrics Is Indeed censorship. Every day In the rap music industry artists get their music tweaked around. An artist may be asked to change a certain word or words before his/her song is released, to provide an entire different version of the song (explicit/non-explicit), or the song could even be rejected altogether. When an artist’s song plays on the radio words that are deemed offensive are bleeped out. All of these things are censorship. An artist Is required to change “appropriate” or accepted.

When an artist’s music is bleeped out on the radio, it often makes the song difficult to understand. It isn’t fair to ask an artist to change the lyrics they originally had, nor does it make sense. If you take the word out that the artist originally had and put pickle in its place, it wouldn’t make sense. It’s changing the artist’s original meaning for the song. Now with that being said, things that aren’t en as wrong/offensive aren’t censored in songs, but where exactly should the line between wrong and offensive be drawn?

Some things could be seen as offensive and taken the wrong way, when really the artist had an entirely different meaning. This can be read about in an article written by Connie Benches called “The Good, The bad, and the Censored” where she expresses the views of rappers and their feelings on being censored. One rapper who had his lyrics taken in the wrong context was Sir- Mix-A-Lot. “Believe it or not, some people didn’t like when I used the word ‘mayonnaise. And I didn’t use it in a bad context,” insists the rapper. “I’m not talking about sperm when I say ‘It anti good without the mayonnaise. I’m saying, When something’s good to you, it’s not necessarily good for you. ‘ It’s not the tapers whose minds are in the gutters. To equate mayonnaise with sperm, that’s kind of sad. ” (Benches 42) Some artists feel that being forced to change their words is an obstruction of freedom of speech. Yes, there are FCC regulations that need to be followed but that doesn’t make them moral. A lot of controversy exists in rap because of the things that are expressed in rap songs and even videos. But deep down rap isn’t all about degrading women, shooting people, or doing drugs.

Most and I stress most, rappers rap about their struggles and life growing up but not all of them. Some rappers didn’t have a tough life, but most of the “gangs rap” raps about real struggles that they and their culture went through. Rap has a history, and to understand why rappers write about the things they do, you have to understand where it came from. “[rap] expresses views and opinions; it has its own language, fashion, the way we walk -? that bop, that swagger. It’s a subculture that’s evolved in he inner city and has become global. ” Said Mecca A. K. A.

Grimm (a Haitian rapper) (Peter Kate) People that don’t listen to rap have every right to choose not to listen to it, but don’t bash on it because it’s not what you like listening to. Don’t make rappers suppress their feelings and creativity because you don’t want to hear it, Just don’t listen to it. While some people see rap as being “harmful” it can be Just the opposite for some of the listeners; they listen to rap to help inspire them and stray them away from their ghetto lives. Rapper, David Banner, is very entrepreneurship. Hip-hop mogul Simmons’ proposal to ban offensive words is “stupid,” Banner says. There was a time in history when we didn’t have a choice about being called a Niger. Now that we’re making money off it, it’s a problem. ” (Kate) “Though it may be seen primarily as a form of entertainment, rap has the powerful potential to address social, economic, and political issues and act as a unifying voice for its audience. ” (Becky Blanchard) Rap faces a lot of scrutiny and struggles to people that are outside of the hip hop community. Record companies are mainly worried about raps selling. If they have to Orca the artist to change their words so that a song will sell, then that’s what they do.

They don’t care about the rappers roots or the message the rapper wants to get across. Is rap music violent? Well sure. But that’s what the rap culture is about, it has views? They shouldn’t. Rap should not also be blamed for the violence in America. Violence is violence, it goes on everywhere. Not Just because a rap song is talking about it. “Further, these rappers claim that it is not only African-Americans who are gangsters, but rather that American history, also, has been characterized by conquest, rebellion, and bloodshed.

Rapper Ice Cube points to the hypocrisy of politicians, who use bombing campaigns to kill on a worldwide level, to blame gangsters for violence in American culture: “We do things on a small level, but America does it on a big level. It anti Just us. White people do everything we do. “(Blanchard) Censorship of rap music can be beneficial in many ways. It will protect children from hearing “harmful” things; it prevents public disrespect of people/things, shields the morals of society, and even restricts vulgarity. But how does censorship harm us and the ones being censored?

It compromises the freedom f speech and it restricts an artist’s creativity and feelings. Censorship compromises a songs ability to be entertaining, and it restrains views. It only projects one side of a view because the other is being censored. Furthermore, if you censor something then it is normally obvious that it was censored. If you’re listening to a song on the radio and you hear a bleep then you know there is an “offensive” word there. You might be able to guess what the word/sentence was, or you will become curious and go look it up. Even if these words are offensive, what remains to be understood is how is it rutting anyone by letting these words be said without censorship. ” (Christopher Schneider) If you support censorship because you are worried about children hearing such vulgar things then maybe you should have bigger concerns. Why are they listening to something that you find to be so inappropriate in the first place? You should keep your children from listening to things you don’t think they should be hearing. You can only do so much to keep them from hearing offensive things. They are going to hear it eventually one way or another, even if music is censored.

It’s reality. If you don’t want to hear something that you think is wrong, then don’t listen. Turn the radio off or listen to a different station. If you don’t want your child listening to inappropriate things, then don’t expose them to it. We as adults can filter what we want and do not want to listen to. If you like a censored version of a song but don’t like the uncensored, then do you really like the song? An artist dedicated their feelings and time to making a song and put who they are into the music they make. If something is censored, not by their choice, then it isn’t them and it’s not what they originally intended for the song. As with most artists today, there is a feeling of great restriction when it comes to their music. The freedom of speech is heavily prohibited and as is their freedom of expression. ” (Peterson 591) There are many pros to censorship, but there are significant cons to consider too. The cons ethically should outweigh the pros of censorship. Think about the artists who are producing the music and what censorship will do to them. They are getting their rights suppressed, and are being prohibited from expressing how they feel. If we continue to let enshrines in music be okay, it’s only going to progress and get worse.