There really is truth in the saying “Silence is Golden” for Justin Bieber. This week has been nothing but a string of PR disasters for Canadian pop singer. Not only did one clip leak of the young star making a racist joke and using the “N-word” at the age of 15, but another clip as later released of Bieber continuing to use the racial slur and referencing joining the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) at the age of 14. Once is an unfortunate “accident” for making racially insensitive remarks for shock value, but twice shows the extent of a person’s ignorance.
Looking at the facts of the incident, Justin Bieber realized that he was being filmed in both clips. In the first leaked video, his off camera friend is encouraging him to stop from making the insensitive epithet but Bieber continues. In the other (older) clip, Bieber’s camp claims that he is making a parody of a parody (from an unnamed comedian) by changing the lyrics of his chart topping hit “One Less Lonely Girl”. In both clips, the singer is grinning and giggling at the stupidity of his remarks. To say that this was an accident is just turning a blind eye to the obvious.
The disappointment in both videos is not solely in the use of the racially insensitive jokes but the people around him show little shock or appall of his actions. This should lead viewers to realize that Bieber has made these comments before that the people around him have become de-sensitized to the ignorance.
For someone who practically owes his rise to stardom to the same race that he insulted shows a blatant lack of respect. Justin Bieber started his career via YouTube banging on empty buckets and singing on the street like a Stomp-reject. It was not until Usher discovered the young star and took him under his wing that Bieber received the metaphorical Golden-ticket into the music industry by signing with Raymond Braun Music Group, and, later, mainstream pop success. Since his rise to fame, Bieber has gone on to launch a world tour, perform on Dancing With the Stars, American Idol, Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show, meet people from all walks of life, and work with some of the most influential musicians in the music industry (Kanye West, Chris Brown, Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins, and L.A. Reid).
Since the incident, Justin Bieber’s team has released a statement apologizing for the remarks. Claiming that the jokes were “hurtful” and “childish”, but youth is a poor excuse for bigotry. From the recent arrest in Miami, egging of a neighbor’s home, and attempted robbery case, the release of the clips is just another move in career self-sabotage with little consequence that follows.
Many may claim that Justin Bieber deserves a pass for his remarks but there was no pass for Paula Deen’s admittance of using the racial slur. Deen’s confession eventually led to her excommunication from her empire’s mecca, i.e. The Food Network. There was no pass for Donald Sterling’s remarks, which led to his lifetime ban from the NBA and there was no pass for Olympic track star John Carlos being stripped of his medal for raising his fist in a black power salute. Each incident was premeditated and non-accidental. The only thing that wasn’t planned was the untimely leak and reaction of their incidents. Sometimes some things can not be overlooked as just a “stupid mistake”.
Opinion by Tyler Cole