“This is what I think about everyday. This is not me stepping out of my comfort zone or anything. This is literally what I feel and what I’ve been dealing with since I was born.” said Jo-Vaughn Scott, known to his fans as Joey Badass.
Duggan’s “Racism Is Around Me Everywhere” and “Land Of The Free” by Joey Badass both touch on the subject of racism that they witness in America.
While Duggan’s poem exclusively focuses on ignorance is bliss, Joey Badass mentions many topics such as the violence inflicted on people of color and changing the world by inspiring the youth. Duggan’s poem and Joey’s song lyrics express two solutions to the same problem. They share the same theme, racism, but the poem is not about finding a solution such as the song.
Although America claims to be the land of opportunity, that opportunity is only available if the color of your skin is white.
Both the poem and the song recognize this, Duggan mentions in his poem, “Though we live in a so called democracy, of racism we never will be free.” In the song, Joey Badass says, “In the land of the free, it’s for the free loaders.” Land of the free is a reference to America, where everyone has the right to freedom, except people of color. There are many references to America and its corrupt government, “Start a new coalition against the corrupt politicians” Joey Badass states.
Whilst in the poem, Duggan says “They feel superior and they differentiate, and against those who are different they discriminate.” The language in both the poem and the song compliment each other as if they were inspired by one another.
Francis Duggan focuses more on how ignorant people are to what is going on around them. In the poem, Duggan uses the word ignorance many times, bringing into focus just how blind America is. Unlike the song, which emphasizes on taking action against the violent acts on people of color, the poem suggests people choose to ignore the violence going on around them. Duggan adds, “But like they say, sheer ignorance is bliss.” By this, he is referring to the nation turning a blind eye. Duggan insists that standing up for racism is dangerous, he refers to Martin Luther King, a memorable civil rights activist, who was shot for expressing his dream of equality. Duggan claims, “If against racism he did not strive, today the great man he would be alive.” As mentioned above, the song has a completely different tone when it comes to fighting against racism.
Joey Badass depicts how people of color are being victimized and taken advantage of. In the song lyrics, Joey Badass mentions black men being wrongfully imprisoned, left for dead, and the white supremacy hidden in plain sight. Mentioned twice in the song, Joey Badass references the KKK in America, “Three K’s, Two A’s in Amerikkka.” There is not three K’s in America, KKK refers to the Ku Klux Klan, a white supremacists group that inflicted harm on African Americans. The reference of the K’s in America, represent the government, and the corrupt, racist politicians that run it. The lyrics then go on to mention,“Trickery in the system, put my ni**as in prison.” By this lyric, Joey Badass is again, referencing the corrupt government, exposing them for being prejudice when it comes to the law. There are many hidden references to the government and America in the song and the poem. But unlike the poem, the song speaks of change. Joey Badass mentions changing oneself before they can change the world. In the song, he relates the world to sickness and changing oneself to seeking health. He believes everything that has happened to him and around him was all worth it, for he is believing the youth will be inspired by his suffering. “I’m reaching out to my children, just hoping that they will listen,” children are mentioned multiple times. The lyrics reference children as being the saving grace and hopefully putting an end to racism, whereas the poem preaches submission.
In conclusion, Duggan’s poem “Racism Is Around Me Everywhere” and Joey Badass’s song “Land Of The Free” depict the racism seen day to day in America. Although, Joey Badass’s song goes into more description of the racist, violent acts unlike Duggan’s poem, which solemnly focuses on America’s ignorance. The poem and song correspond well, they share the same theme and the use of language is interchangeable.