Being a huge country music fan I decided to do my audience analysis assignment on the Country Music Awards that took place on November 6, 2013. Upon choosing the CMAs as my event to observe I created a twitter and waited for the awards show to take place. When the event started a “hash tag” started trending on twitter called #CMAs. I began reading tweets while concurrently watching the CMAs. It became evident immediately that race was going to be talked about with the stereotypical country listener being white.
From Braid Paisleys and Carrie Underwood introduction people started recognizing and commenting on identity categories on twitter. These comments began revolving around race when Pickler passed out signs to crowd members with names of people they’ll be expected to feud with in the future. Darius Rucker was one on the stars who received a sign and Julianne Hough was the person he was expected to feud with. This was due to her recent black face Halloween costume which was a form of racism called cultural appropriation. The context that this so called joke played in the opening scene of the CMAs should be looked at from a white privileged perspective because even though Darius laughed along with the “joke”, it took place with an almost entirely white audience.
Tweets from white, male,middle class, younger age men seemed to dominate the race conversation on twitter. Some of these people on twitter began making games to see how many people of color they could spot and began asking why the awards show was intentionally showing people of color like Darius Rucker. Some of these privileged people were asking why the show was trying to meet some sort of quota for showing a certain number of colored people. This question is a form of overt racism because it openly elaborates on a racist comment that people of color are “shoehorn”ed white on the awards show and furthermore it is by a guy whose username is “White Advocate”. It seemed that these white middle aged men were finding pleasure in the acknowledgement and enjoyment of racial difference.
With the tweeters being white, male, middle class, younger men it seemed that these tweets about race were a way of reinforcing their own White Privilege. With country music having an almost exclusively white set of artist it becomes easy for fans of color to feel detached from country music with few representations of themselves shown. This stereotype of race in country music is a clear way that boundaries for who fits in and who doesn’t is maintained. The identity of being a person of color has lead to the lack of consumption of country music for them. Boundaries in country music such as fans waving confederate flags or songs about operating farms make it uncomfortable for some people of color to listen or watch country music because it has deeper historic roots that are often overlooked by white people.
Victor Rock McCarty’s tweet is a form of overt racism by a person of White and Male Privilege. By stating that there were only three people of color at the CMAs and that is some sort of “record” Victor is demeaning and reassuring boundaries excluding people of color in country music. By literally counting to number of people of color who appeared on stage Victor gives a insight that country music is a genre for white people.
Mr. Gavin’s tweet above is a way of actively resisting the relationship between identity and the consumption of these texts. He is actively resisting the stereotype of white people being the only people watching the CMAs because his profile picture is a person of color and he states that yes he is watching the CMAs. Without this tweet the cultural significance of seeing country music from a perspective of white privilege might be overlooked. Patterns of white, male, middle class, younger people joking, playing games, and saying that people of color are “shoehorned” seemed to be patterns throughout the tweets on twitter. Twitter plays a vital role in evaluating how certain texts and shows of all sorts are perceived. By evaluating the audiences response of representations in society, perspectives of minority cultures can be viewed and inequality can continue to decrease.