Running Away From Home: Prejudice In Good Kid By Kendrick Lamar

Superior Essays
Running Away from Home: Prejudice in the South
The songs Alabama Blues by J. B. Lenoir (1965) and Good Kid by Kendrick Lamar (2012) both exemplify the rampant racial prejudice against black Americans that occurred in the southern states back in the 1960s and in the present, respectively. Alabama Blues is a blues song that tells the story of a man who blames the state of Alabama for all of his misfortunes, specifically the deaths of his sister and brother. Lenoir’s brother is murdered by police officers whilst trying to protect his mother. These events cause Lenoir to harbor feelings of resentment towards Alabama as a whole. The solution that he comes up with is simply to leave Alabama before the state causes him more despair. In the case of
…show more content…
In the end, Lenoir decides to part from Alabama, before anything worse happens. In Good Kid, Lamar outlines key events that plague his childhood in Compton. He had several run-ins with gang members, who harassed him either because they would think he was a gang member, or just a good kid trying to break the mold. The most blatant discrimination he faced, however, was from the police. At the end of the first verse, Lamar is presumably jumped by gang members, who leave him in the streets after beating him. Some cops come to try to help him, but after he has issues remembering what happened, they decide to cuff him and give him trouble: “It was like a head on collision that folded me standing still” (Kendrick Lamar, 2012). He was only trying to cooperate, but it was not enough to satisfy them, so they assumed the worst and simply profiled him based on his race, which is depicted in this quote: “And you ask, ‘lift up your shirt’ cause you wonder if a …show more content…
In Alabama Blues, as was mentioned before, Lenoir’s brother was murdered by the police, which was bad enough as it was, and then the person who killed him got away with just a slap on the wrist. His despair is evidenced in this line: “I can’t help but to sit down and cry sometime/Think about how my poor brother lost his life” (J.B. Lenoir, 1965). Lamar sings a similar tune. As told in the 3rd verse of Good Kid, he feels that the gangs and police of Compton used him as a victim, and he just wants things to change: “You hired me as a victim, I quietly hope for change” (Kendrick Lamar, 2012). The cycle of chaos he has been put through leaves him feeling conflicted with himself. He questions whether he really should abstain from violence, or to just go with the vicious flow that Compton insists on continuing, as detailed in this line: “When violence is the rhythm, inspired me to obtain” (Kendrick Lamar, 2012). Neither Lamar nor Lenoir are very confident in the way their respective authorities treat african-americans, which is reflected in this quote from a survey conducted in 2014: ”Fully 70% of blacks say police departments around the country do a poor job in holding officers accountable for misconduct; an identical percentage says they do a poor job of treating racial and ethnic groups equally” (“Few Say Police Forces Nationally Do Well in Treating Races Equally,”

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Through the 1960’s a major component of their campaign was to kill/take out many civil rights workers. In 1963 a man named Medgar Evans was directly attacked outside his house, the KKK were involved with this brutal murder. Medgar Evans was an African American man who was a civil rights activist from Mississippi, he worked to gain social justice and voting rights. Medgar was a massive and important influence on the civil rights movement, if the Ku Klux Klan was to take him out it would only do good for their campaign. Later they discovered the murderer, who was Byron De La Beckwith who was not sentenced until 3 decades later.…

    • 891 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    It starts when their father, Atticus, has a case where he has to defend an African American man, Tom Robinson, who was falsely accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a young white woman. In the end Tom gets convicted and is put in prison. We find out later that he was shot for trying to escape. Bob Ewell, Mayella’s father, is still mad at Atticus for defending Tom and goes after the kids one night in the dark. The kids panic, Jem breaks his arm, the Finch’s weird neighbor Boo Radley saves the kids, and Bob Ewell ends up dead.…

    • 1176 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Going to Meet the Man: A History of Racial Terror Many Americans still choose to downplay the prominent role racism played in the formation of our country. However, the choice to ignore racial violence, both past, and present, perpetuates a dangerous history of violence against African-Americans. James Baldwin’s “Going to Meet the Man” centers around Jesse, a white deputy sheriff, his childhood experience of attending a lynching, and his violent inclinations as an adult. In “Going to Meet the Man,” Baldwin intimates that both the racist and victim are psychologically damaged by violence and racism. Jesse never recovered from viewing a lynching during his childhood, and the resulting damage led to Jesse’s steady violent behavior against African-Americans…

    • 1398 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    The Rodney King Beating

    • 2564 Words
    • 11 Pages

    *Get out the car, get out the car NOW! * *don’t move or will use force* after that night a man life changed for the worst. As you all may or may not know Rodney king was beating half to death by someone who is supposed to protect us as citizen, but instead the “law” is killing or damaging our “BLACK” men lives. In my reported I look into one of the hardest crimes in the early 90s. “The Rodney King Beating”.…

    • 2564 Words
    • 11 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This did not work as the assassination of Medgar Evers angered African Americans even more, and many threats were posed on the general public . However, not all white people are against equality of African Americans, and many were decent and supportive of equality, such as William Lewis Moore, who supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Civil Rights of 1964 eventually passed on February 10th, and 67 senators had signed off on the Act. After this, many whites protested, and the Ku Klux Klan urged a plan to become stronger to achieve their goal of social injustice. Medgar Evers was the main cause of this…

    • 978 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the movie, A Time to Kill, the main character Jake Brigance who is an attorney in the state of Mississippi describes the danger he faces when he takes on a murder case. During this period, there was still racial tension between whites and African-Americans in the state of Mississippi. The murder case that Brigance takes on involves two Caucasian men who were murdered by an African-American named, Carl Lee Hailey. Hailey murders the two white men because they raped and assaulted his 10-year-old daughter, Tanya Hailey. In the movie, Brigance is threatened by community members to drop the murder case.…

    • 1316 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Jesse Goodman Hewitt English 10 9 March 2018 Welcome to Discriminatory America Societal norms cause police officers to kill innocent individuals of color, all because of incorrect and invalid expectations of one another that we have as a society. In the book Always Running, Luis Rodriguez writes an autobiography about the harsh reality of the gang life as a teenager. He watches rape, experiences killings, sees death, and so much more all for a little power and freedom. Always Running exhibits how the social norms and social hierarchies limit the rights of the disadvantaged minorities. Luis’ color of his skin plays a role in the amount of freedom and power he has.…

    • 898 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    In Uncle Tom’s Children: Long Black Song a black man’s wife, Sarah, was sexual assaulted by a white man. This action causes the black man , Silas, to then shoots the white man. Silas does not get an equal treatment , He dies after being attacked by a white mob (Uncle Tom’s Children: Long Black Song, 1938). This expresses different treatment of whites and blacks when they commit a crime and the inequality between races. 1.…

    • 1326 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    African Americans were not allowed in the same restrooms, schools, and even had to sit on the back of buses. It would be extremely hard for a black person to get acquitted with an all white jury since racism was basically legal during that time. The Jury may have thought that it was their legal duty to convict a black man just because of his race. Atticus discussed a term that was used by whites to belittle African Americans. The term was used many times in, “ To Kill A Mockingbird”, The term was used mainly to degrade black people.…

    • 1301 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    21 year old Giovanti Moschino Young was arrested for failing to show up to a court date for a prior arrest of 3 counts of robbery. Granted he was not the most innocent person in the world, however he did not deserve to be treated so poorly by a police officer whom we are supposed to be protected by. According to the Prince George county police department “In the recording, uploaded to Twitter on Saturday afternoon, a police officer can be seen on top of a young African-American male, punching him in the face and then using what appears to be a stun gun. The struggle is caught on camera by a passing motorist, who uploaded the clip and brought it to the attention of two prominent Black Lives Matter activists, DeRay McKesson and Shaun King.”(Prince George’s county police department) One of the good things about this generation is that we capture everything and post it on social media. Gladly the video of Giovanti went viral and caught the attention of many people.…

    • 809 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays