Is it okay to like problematic bands if they might not have known they were being problematic?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by ZeroEsper, Nov 15, 2018.

  1. ZeroEsper

    ZeroEsper Well-Known Member

    I recently started listening to a Korean band that plays catchy rock songs. They're called Dreamcatcher. I like them - I think they're fun, they sing with a good energy, my workday feels less strenuous when I listen to them. The members honestly do seem like they're trying to be good people. They've openly said they support LGBT rights, they don't change pronouns when they do covers of songs by other bands, and one of the members wore a badge with the symbol for 'transgender' on it to a fansign event. This isn't anything huge, but also, they're in Korea, and I know in Korea, there isn't a lot of support for LGBT individuals, so even just a celebrity saying 'hey, we support gay rights!' is important.

    But the thing is: for halloween, they dressed up in costumes and performed. And one of them did something incredibly bad. Antisemitism ahead:

    she dressed up like a police officer but she wore a nazi hat. Like, with the eagle and everything.

    Obviously this is NOT OKAY. Antisemitism is never okay, and she had no business wearing that damn hat. I was super grossed out and upset, and I made a bunch of posts about it on multiple social media accounts pointing out that this isn't acceptable. But I also acknowledged that in South Korea, where this band is from, there is very little education about the Holocaust. Many people don't really know anything about nazis. I know in China there have been problems with celebrities wearing nazi-themed items because they just thought it was 'military aesthetic' and then later on they had to apologize because someone sat down with them and explained 'hey, YOU CAN'T JUST DO THAT'. The issue is usually that they don't really know about nazis, just that they were the 'bad guys' of the war (which I know is putting it lightly; I'm not trying to minimize the impact of nazis, I think that's how it's portrayed though) and they lost the war. I don't think a lot of East Asian people know a whole lot about antisemitism as a social issue, either, because of it's also not really covered.

    I want to give the member of this band the benefit of the doubt and say she didn't know. This DOES NOT excuse wearing the hat - someone needed to have said something, she has Google, it was a harmful decision. But at the same time, I don't want to cause harm to Jewish people by acting like this is okay. Do you guys think I should never listen to them again and act like they don't exist except if they do something else problematic? If I listen to their music on spotify but don't buy records, is that different? This situation is such a mess. Normally I'd say the person is an anti-semite and they need to have their platform completely taken away from them, full stop, but then I don't know if she really understood why that hat was so problematic? Any insight would be appreciated.
    • Witnessed x 1
  2. Petra

    Petra space case

    Is it possible... she was just clueless? I'm not excusing it but she was dressed as a police officer, not in a nazi uniform. It's a pretty gross mistake but it's okay to like celebrities that make mistakes. Obviously while it's still anti-semitic I do think there's a lot more benefit of the doubt than if it had been done by someone who absolutely knows all about Nazis and is signalling approval.
    • Agree x 3
  3. ZeroEsper

    ZeroEsper Well-Known Member

    That's kind of what I was thinking too. Her outfit was a police costume which I don't think was intended as anything other than 'fun halloween costume' - but then SHE PUT ON A NAZI HAT and I... Have no idea if she knew all the reasons that was bad?? And of course no one is calling it out, so if she didn't know, no one is telling her, which I would argue is also shitty.
  4. Petra

    Petra space case

    Basically I see where your concern comes from and I agree that the hat has anti-semitic impact even if the person in question would be horrified at that. But from everything else you've said it seems extremely unlikely that she was coyly signalling approval for nazi politics. She probably doesn't even really know what nazi politics are, just like a lot of American and European people don't know the stuff that's like, symbolic of the war crimes that happened in Asia during World War II.

    It's pretty shitty that apparently nobody has told her, though! If I accidentally wore a symbol of horrific genocide as a costume piece I'd like to know it so I could apologize and not do it again.
    • Agree x 3
  5. ZeroEsper

    ZeroEsper Well-Known Member

    I agree! And I tried pointing that out on social media. I said that people who know better should not be ignoring this and need to say something, because it is possible that she just didn't know what was wrong with her costume, and I think she should be offered a chance to grow from it. But if everyone suddenly has nothing to say, they're not giving her that chance. It's not okay!
    • Agree x 2
  6. ZeroEsper

    ZeroEsper Well-Known Member

    Like they don't have to start saying she's trash or a monster, they just have to explain that this is not innocent fashion. This isn't camo pants and combat boots, it's a symbol of genocide.
  7. Raire

    Raire Turquoise Helicoid

    It's also ok to like problematic bands. Nothing is pure. Don't fall for the trap that something must be 100% pure or unproblematic to not be enjoyed. People do good and bad things. It's ok to enjoy the music, and the person. What matters is whether you excuse their actions when they aren't excusable (it sounds like she probably is really clueless about it), and if they are truly bigoted, not support them monetarily or in views, find some other way of enjoying the content without contributing to them. Like, I think it's a grey issue, and I have Problems with purity culture.
    • Agree x 6
    • Like x 2
  8. ZeroEsper

    ZeroEsper Well-Known Member

    I definitely agree that a person can like problematic things and not be a bad person. My concern is definitely what you mentioned - I don't want to condone antisemitism or contribute to the further marginalization of Jewish people. That was why I started trying to point out 'guys I don't care if she's your fave, she's wearing a NAZI HAT, THAT'S BAD.' I thankfully didn't support them monetarily or else I would have felt so guilty I don't know what I would have done. It's definitely a grey issue here. If she had said anything antisemitic then I would know for sure 'okay, this band is a hateful garbage fire and we need to Stay Away.' But since I don't know if she knew why that hat was bad, it complicates things. I'm not going to lie - I did listen to their song 'Sleepwalking' at work earlier because it's very catchy and I feel better when I hear it.

    Maybe another thing I need to consider is still listening to their music, maybe even viewing or rarely retweeting something written by fans on Twitter (I've gotten into the habit of sharing catchy musical bops on there) but still acknowledge what happened and continue to point out 'hey guys maybe we could all stop pretending this is just totally cool and fine and like... say... idk something, at this point someone's gotta.' Because I don't think that's condoning it?
    • Agree x 1
  9. knifecentipede

    knifecentipede guillotine-chan

    It's okay to like problematic bands period.
    I think you don't have a duty to point out anything. but if you really want to, sure.
    I also think you're ascribing certain effects to enjoying or sharing content that are not actually there.
    although imo that does not give my opinion much more weight you might like to know that I'm jewish myself.
    your concern is appreciated; you can be easier on yourself though ^-^
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
    • Agree x 4
  10. ZeroEsper

    ZeroEsper Well-Known Member

    I have scrupulosity issues, so that is a problem I have >.< I hope it doesn't have broader reaching effects, but at the same time since the KPop fandom is apparently perfectly content to see something and do nothing (or worse, do racist imitations) I was worried about what it meant that everyone ignored it. But it's good to have a reality check. Thank you!
    • Like x 1
    • Winner x 1
  11. rats

    rats 21 Bright Forge Shatters The Void

    another jew chiming in to say that i think youre fine and its still 100% okay to enjoy the music
    imo she probably has no idea, this sort of thing happens depressingly often
    • Agree x 2
  12. ZeroEsper

    ZeroEsper Well-Known Member

    It's sad that no one says anything. I definitely think people should address it.
    • Agree x 3
  13. Acey

    Acey time has the power to bind us too close

    I have a few bands/artists whose music I enjoy that I find genuinely repugnant as people (lookin' at you, Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins), so I'd say you're fine--especially since, as others have said, this seems to be more a matter of ignorance than of malice.

    If you find that you can't bring yourself to support the band...if you can get their music used, or (if you're not ethically opposed to it) through, uh, more...questionable avenues, that's what I tend to do with the aforementioned Asshole Musicians Whose Music I Still Enjoy.

    That being said, I don't think she was necessarily trying to be terrible, so I'd give her the benefit of the doubt for now--I definitely think you spreading the word that no, that particular bit of attire is not okay, is a good thing, though, both for fans and because hey, if she's not aware of the connotations, she should probably be made aware, but I don't think that should have to mean shunning her music entirely.

    Also scrupulosity issues suck, hella witnessed and hugs if wanted. :(
    • Agree x 3
    • Witnessed x 1
  14. ZeroEsper

    ZeroEsper Well-Known Member

    Thank you, hugs accepted and returned.

    Yeah, I do think it really might be that she didn't know. But it sucks that no one wants to bring it up. If her fans think she's a good person, they should give her a chance to apologize.

    I usually listen through Spotify, but less legitimate ways are on the table in case scrupulosity goes wild on me :)
    • Agree x 3
  15. Marcy

    Marcy \o/

    it's ok to enjoy art divorced from it's creators

    also it's always 'ok' to like something, base emotions n preferences aren't things u can control
    • Agree x 1
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