Hate for Foreign Artists in America Comes From Prejudice [Opinion]


By Sydney Ellison

The beauty of art can be found everywhere, through music, acting and writing. It can be found in different languages, different cultures and different countries. Many Americans have a blindfold over their eyes and refuse to see this. They like to stick with what they know: English. The rejection of foreign art is formed largely because of a shallow-minded and prejudiced mindset.

Coming from centuries of this mindset, it’s no surprise that it still has a hold on some minds today. The excuses of “it’s in a different language” or “I just don’t like that type of music” in reference to foreign music often quickly come up as reasons for not giving the music a chance. Even though most of the time there’s readable lyrics and the country the music comes from doesn’t define its genre. These excuses are old and, frankly, rude. When music is judged on language instead of quality, it’s devaluing the artist’s hard work. Same with things like movies and TV shows. Oftentimes there are subtitles, but the quality of the entertainment is quickly looked over because of the actors speaking a different language.

One example of the obvious bias in American entertainment, more specifically music, is the lack of radio time for foreign artists who are just as successful as English-speaking ones. BTS, the global boy band originating from South Korea, for example, has little to no radio time even though they’ve broken records and have had similar success to musicians like Ariana Grande or the Jonas Brothers. Award shows, like the Oscars, have specific categories for films in different languages as if the language spoken somehow deprives it of being able to compete against films in English. These obvious discriminations show how America shuns art coming from anywhere else, and it’s not on the basis of quality.

Lyrics and dialogue do hold important value in the quality of the work and not being able to directly understand them may turn people off to consuming foreign entertainment. There is an easy way for this boundary to be overcome, translations. Just because the lyrics or dialogue  are not instantly understandable doesn’t mean that they can’t evoke emotion and connection with a listener. 

Not liking a song or TV show by a non-American artist is not inherently bad, as long as the reason comes from not liking the quality of the work, personal taste or something similar. When race or language is the sole reason for dislike then that dislike comes from prejudice thoughts, not quality or taste. Judge on the quality of the art, not on things that are unchangeable.

America needs to stop shutting its doors on the outside world of art. There is so much amazing content out there but many are blocked with the fear of going out of their comfort zone, that zone being American and/or English speaking. Break out of that zone and discover so much more.