Seattle pop sensation Macklemore—well known for his sobriety-pushing raps about tolerance and anti-homophobia messaging, like "Same Love"—is at the center of a recent press release by the American Civil Liberties Union.
In the press release and accompanying video, Macklemore is encouraging all of his fans to become card-carrying members of the ACLU:
"There is no other organization that I believe in more," said Macklemore. "The tireless work of the ACLU to preserve the freedoms of all people in our country inspires my music and my deepest connection to my human community. To be in a position where young people look to me for their own ideas about equality makes this opportunity even more important."
The video can be seen here. The ACLU is a great organization, in that they hold it down for a lot of important causes: Defending discrimination victims, defending free speech, defending the right to protest, and of course, LGBT rights and liberties.
But they're also hardliners on a lot of these causes. For example, will Macklemore tell the same fans he's urging to join the ACLU that...
- The ACLU also defends those who harass others with biogted, homophobic hate speech?
- The ACLU also defends those who would wear an anti-gay tee to high school on a Day of Silence?
- The ACLU has come to the defense of the completely anti-gay Chick-Fil-A?
- The ACLU has opposed hate crime bills because they don't protect free speech enough?
The ACLU also advocates for more lenient drug laws, and Macklemore has basically denounced doing drugs. So there's that (also, the ACLU card is not, per Macklemore, the "card that lets my gay friends marry the hell out of each other," but whatever).
Moreover, what Macklemore and the ACLU don't advise Macklemore's fanbase is that advocating for free speech rights for all comes at a price, and not just the $35 it'll take to make you a card-carrying ACLU member. Mainly, that when you advocate for free speech, you advocate for all free speech. For example, the right for homophobes to be totally homophobic. That means supporting the rights of people like Fred "GOD HATES FAGS" Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church to picket the fuenerals of AIDS victims. Which, yes, the ACLU has sued to preserve.
Again, one more time:
Macklemore: "Call each other faggots/behind the keys of a message board/a word rooted in hate/yet our genre still ignores it."
The ACLU: "Fight hate speech with more speech."
Not saying the ACLU isn't an organization worth supporting here. They totally can be!
But if you're gonna advocate for the causes of tolerance and LGBT rights, there are more specific organizations to support that cause. They might not be as big as the ACLU, but they do good work.
But when Macklemore teams up with one of the largest adovcacy organizations in America—great publicity for the ACLU, and great publicity for Macklemore, who gets exposed to a bunch of civil liberties supporters who've never heard of him—it might be on him, a little, to give the whole story of the ACLU's politics, rather than the limited one that fits right in with his own public profile.