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Jackie Christiano

Mrs. Honaker

AP English 12

18 May 2018

Where Is the Love?

Will.I.Am, Adl.De.Ap, Taboo, and Fergie make up a well-known hip-hop group called

the Black Eyed Peas. For years, audiences have been attracted to the group’s upbeat sound and

gangster style. Many songs produced by the group focus on the deteriorating character of people

all across the world – that is the increase in violence, terrorism, and overall hate that is possessed

by young teens and adults today. The Black Eyed Peas are known for expressing their concern

for the extent of anger that has risen in society, and have attracted many fans with their realistic

outlook on life and current events. In 2003, the Black Eyed Peas and Justin Timberlake released

a hit they called “Where Is Love,” a song emphasizing the hypocrisy and disrespect that is

growing so prevalent in today’s culture. This song recognizes the world as it is, and address

discrimination, school shootings, and the negative impacts the media has had on the newest

generation – Generation Z. “Where Is the Love” was released approximately fifteen years ago,

however the message behind the work is just as applicable to the corruption of society today, in

2018, as it was then.

“But if you only have love for your own race/Then you only leave space to

discriminate/And to discriminate only generates hate,” says Will.I.Am in the third stanza

(“Where Is the Love Songtext”). A hot topic that is special to Generation Z is discrimination –

racial and gender. Gender discrimination is a new type of prejudice that has taken off in recent
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years. Research suggests that there are at least 700,000 transgender citizens in the United States,

resulting in record breaking support for the LGBTQ community (Human Rights Campaign).

Despite the new awareness of transgender citizens, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence

Programs has reported 36 homicides in 2017 – 16 of which were both transgender and colored

(The Society Pages). Rejection in regards to jobs, living spaces, and public building access are

all too common for transgender citizens. According to the Human Rights Campaign, only 18

states and the District of Columbia prohibit housing and employment discrimination based on

gender identity. Gender discrimination has been a leading cause of mental instability across the

nation, and is yet another reason why the nation is struggling to unify.

In the fifth stanza of “Where Is the Love,” Justin Timberlake says “People killin’, people

dyin’/Children hurt and you hear them cryin’,” (“Where Is the Love Songtext”). In these few

short lines, the group specifically addresses the issue of school shootings, and how children have

been the ultimate target in recent years. Some of the nation’s most disastrous mass shootings

include Sandy Hook Elementary School of 2012, and the Stoneman Douglas High School

shooting of 2018 (Lord). On December 14th, 2012, the detrimental shooting known as Sandy

Hook occurred. Adam Lanza, 20 years old, arrived at Sandy Hook Elementary School at

approximately 9:30 a.m. – armed with a semiautomatic rifle, two semiautomatic pistols, and

multiple rounds of ammunition. After killing 20 first graders, and 6 faculty members, Lanza

killed himself. Investigators announced that they were unable to find a motive behind Lanza’s

premeditated murder – the school was torn down in 2013 (“The Sandy Hook Shooting”). More

recently, the Stoneman Douglas shooting took place on February 14, 2018 – proving to be

another one of the deadliest school shootings in American history. Nineteen year old, Nikolas

Cruz, used an AR-15 assault style rifle to end the lives of 17 people, and wounded at least 15
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more (Wan). Taboo’s line, “With ongoin’ sufferin’ as the youth die young,” summarizes these

tragic events of modern United States history.

“Wrong information always shown by the media/Negative images is the main

criteria/Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria/Kids wanna act like what they see in the

cinema.” These four lines express how the media has negatively impacted the world. Studies

have shown that the influence of the media on the psychological development of children is

exceptional. For example, heavy Facebook and Instagram users tend to compare their life and

success to others. Weighing the number of followers and likes tends to cause users to feel

inadequate or jealous of their friends or family – leading to on-going depression (“The Impact of

Media”). Whether or not the influence is obtained through television, or social media, youth

these days are also exposed to tremendous amounts of violence, sexuality, and drug use

(Advances in Pediatrics). The average child sees about 12,000 violent acts through television

alone annually – including rape and murder. Over 1,000 studies have confirmed that exposure to

these acts of terror have increased aggressive behavior in the younger generations (Advances in

Pediatrics). The insecurities that have risen from television shows, public figures, and

cyberbullying are only dominant in today’s society because of the media. This could very well be

the most substantial difference between Generation Z and previous generations.

“Where Is the Love” exemplifies the newest generation’s struggle to unify. The song was

released fifteen years ago, and every thought provoking lyric still applies to today’s society. The

world has been separated through discrimination, school shootings, and the media. It is up to the

people to ask themselves “Where is the love?” and to act in a way that will repair the broken

relationships that have dominated Generation Z.


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Works Cited

Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2003

Human Rights Campaign. “Understanding the Transgender Community.” Human Rights

Campaign

Lord, Debbie, and Cox Media Group National Content Desk. “What Are the Worst School

Shootings in Modern US History?” Ajc, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 28 Feb. 2018

Pages, The Society. “Violence and Discrimination against Transgender People - There's

Research on That.” The Society Pages The Social Functions of Religion in American

Political Culture Comments

“Review: Black Eyed Peas: Where Is The Love?” Culture and Youth Studies, 26 Mar. 2014

“Sandy Hook Shooting.” History.com, A&E Television Networks

“The Black Eyed Peas - Where Is the Love Songtext.” Songtexte.com

“The Impact Of Media – Good, Bad Or Somewhere In Between.” CareersinPsychology.org

Wan, William, et al. “Florida Shooting Suspect Nikolas Cruz: Guns, Depression and a Life in

Trouble.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 15 Feb. 2018