“Fuck Your Ethnicity” by Kendrick Lamar critiques racism and the lack of diversity in the United States. To Kendrick, ethnicity doesn’t matter and he looks past that at your personality and wants everyone to come together when times get tough. This is evident in the speech he gives at the beginning of the song as he says in a low-pitched voice I recognize all of you, every creed and color. With that being said, fuck your ethnicity, you understand that? We gon’ talk about a lot of shit that concerns you, all of you.” Here, is talking about those times when everyone as a whole in the United States and the lines of race and ethnicity gets thrown out the window. Times like when 9/11 happened and even when they announced the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in the same year this song came out (2011), everyone didn’t see each other as black or white rather they saw each other as Americans.
Even though Kendrick does a call to action, his friend disagrees with him as he says “Fuck that, nigga look at that line, it’s so diverse They getting off work and they wanna see Kendrick”. What Kendrick’s friend is saying is that there is another thing that truly unites this country: hip-hop. Ever since hip-hop first came to be, the people that listen to this genre have gone from predominantly black, to mostly all of the races listening to it bringing a sense of togetherness with it. This makes me wonder if Kendrick meant for these lyrics to have a double meaning: Fire burning inside my eyes, this the music that saved my life, Y’all be calling it hip hop, I be calling it hypnotize, Yeah, hypnotize, trapped my body but freed my mind”. When I first heard it, I thought that he was just talking about how hip-hop saved him from a life of crime and possible death. Now I’m starting to think about he may also be talking about how hip-hop “hypnotizes” people to forget about their race and ethnicity and rather just enjoy the music as people.
In the lyrics, Kendrick blends a lot of different ideals in order to show the listener what diversity truly is. He combines things like “Reporting live from Planet Terminator X” which he says in a futuristic voice to combine science fiction and Terminator X, the DJ for the rap group called “Public Enemy”. Another thing he says is “I saw Martin Luther King with an AK-47”. It may not be the most pleasant of things to imagine, but he uses this to combine Martin Luther King’s pacifism with Malcolm X’s aggressiveness.
To sum it all up, the social critique that Kendrick addresses in this song is racism and diversity in the United States.