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Published:February 7th, 2011 10:36 EST
lady gaga

The Lady Gaga Born This Way Racist Lyrics Controversy Won't Die Down

By Robert Paul Reyes

I have received many emails blasting me for my recent articles condemning Lady Gaga for using terms that are offensive to Latinos and Asians in her single "Born This Way." Most of these letters are ad hominem attacks that don`t address the issues raised by my editorials.

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A notable exception was a Facebook message I received from Behn, his thoughtful, reasoned and articulate letter deserves a reply. Behn represents many gay youth who adore Lady Gaga, and appreciate her advocacy for gay rights.

" I DO empathize and understand your notion that her wording could have been better...but so too could have many artists before her in lyrics they chose. Individual lyrics in songs are not what one should look for when judging the character and soul of the song...instead find the overall narrative of the song."


I agree that the overall narrative of the song is a message of inclusion, tolerance and human rights for all, but Lady Gaga`s racially insensitive words undermine the song`s noble message. Those two words "chola and orient" are so loaded with negative connotations that it`s impossible to dismiss the inclusion of these words as an innocent mistake or a simply a matter of "her wording could have been better."

Adding these two words in a song that Lady Gaga considers "one of the greatest songs of all time" makes one wonder if the controversial diva has ulterior motives for using them. Is this another calculated Lady Gaga publicity stunt?

"Perhaps she misspoke, perhaps she could have found more appropriate words to use, but to spin the entire song into oblivion and request it be completely ignored...knowing well it could have tremendous positive impact on the lives of many is a very irresponsible action on your part, and completely undermines the cause of equality and fairness you claim to proudly champion."


If someone casually uses the N-Word or any other racial slur, it`s not a matter of misspeaking or simply not choosing the correct word. Anyone who uses a word that`s offensive to a minority is at best indifferent to the feelings of the minority or at worst is prejudiced against that minority.

The word "chola" is not racist per se, some Latinas from the inner city proudly identify themselves as chola. But in the context of Lady Gaga`s song the use of the word is racist, Gaga employed the word "chola" to represent all Latinos. It would be the same as if Gaga used "drag queens" to represent all of the diverse gay community.

"You sadly can`t get yourself to understand the positive impact this song has on many, and how it deserves to be celebrated for the fact that it is on an island all it`s own when it comes to speaking directly about fairness for the gay community. How many songs are out there devoted to encouraging gays?"


"Born This Way" may have a positive impact on the gay community, but what about the song`s negative impact on the Asian and Hispanic communities?

I`m not demanding that Lady Gaga delete these two words from her song; I would be outraged if anyone demanded that my editor censor any part of this editorial. What I want is for Lady Gaga of her own volition to delete the words that are offensive to the Asian and Hispanic communities.

Why hasn`t Lady Gaga apologized or at least explained why she used the racially insensitive words?

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