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

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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
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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,”

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