Is it racist to like Led Zeppelin's "The Immigrant Song"?

To me it’s just a song, a rousing and stirring song. It’s not like LZ is endorsing violent imperialism.

To my knowledge, Eric Clapton was not charged and convicted of shooting any sheriff.

if they WERE offended, that says more about them, than about you

That is true, but if I am outnumbered in a meeting room it doesn’t really matter whose problem it is, it’s my problem at that point.

I think what caught my attention was the celebratory feel of violence. However, that’s also what makes the song so awesome – I get amped every time I hear it. Thinking back to my 15 YO self, I didn’t actually perceive the song as approving of the situation. More like a dark parable, similar to the Zeppeling song “Hangman”.

Interestingly if white people invaded and pillaged other white people… not racist. I think the Vikings often targeted wealthy coastal monasteries.

Did you read my post #6? I described three possible “racism angles”:

1) Is the song racist against people of Norse ethnicity by promoting stereotypes of vicious, bloodthirsty, savage viking invaders? Posssssibly such an argument could be made, but AFAIK no modern people of Norse ethnicity are really bothered by such stereotypes of medieval Norse raiders, and I’ve never seen any complaints to that effect.

2) Is the song racist against non-white people as an aggressive anthem of white northern-European supremacy and domination? No. As I said, it would not surprise me in the least if some Norse-identifying white-supremacy goons tried to use the song in that way, but I don’t know of any such appropriation attempts, and even if there were any they wouldn’t change the original intent of the song.

3) Is the song racist against modern immigrants who are being implicitly identified with the savage aggression of medieval viking invaders? No, although I can see how the name of the song might look a bit like that at first glance. And again, it wouldn’t surprise me if anti-immigration racist groups tried to use the song in that way, but as I just remarked, IDKOASAAAEITWATWCTOIOTS.

Generally speaking, the Vikings settled in France, the British Isles and Eastern Europe/Russia, and raided most of the Mediterranean.

There wasn’t a racist component to it; they’d raid anyone they could.

True, especially since the modern concept of a “white race” encompassing all peoples of northern and even southern Europe isn’t really applicable to medieval Norse ideas of ethnicity.

However, the interactions of Norse raiders with “non-white” peoples in, say, Greenland and North America, whom they called “skraelings”, complicate the issue a little bit. The Norse definitely distinguished to some extent between their typical raid targets in European/Mediterranean medieval societies and the hunter-gatherer peoples of remote lands, but probably not on the basis of skin color per se.

The general rule I’ve been taught is that it’s not wrong to enjoy something that is problematic. You just need to acknowledge the problems.

I can perfectly well like the song “We Are Siamese” as long as I understand it’s a racist depiction of Chinese people. Which is good, as I love the fourth-based harmony of that song. (Now I wouldn’t air it on children’s television, but I’d do the whole historical disclaimer thing and air it for adults.)

Not that it seems like there’s anything racist in the OP’s song. But I just thought asking whether it was racist to enjoy the song was weird, rather than asking if the song was racist or contained and racist or problematic parts.

It’s almost as if the OP was basically saying “Is it racist to enjoy a song about white people, being one myself?”

Which is ridiculous, unless the song also has some element of denigration, oppression or otherwise is hostile toward some group.

Nonsense. The song is titled “The Immigrant Song”, and its POV narrator is a medieval Norse raider who sings “We drive our ships to new lands to fight the horde”, “We are your overlords”, etc. It’s blindingly obvious that various blatantly racist interpretations could potentially be applied to such a song.

Everybody in this thread has resoundingly concurred that no, the song as written is not problematic from a racism standpoint, and that you can acknowledge the possibility of potential distorted racist interpretations of it without assuming or endorsing such interpretations, so there’s no need to feel guilty for liking the song.

We can recognize that the OP’s concerns about the song were ultimately unjustified without grossly exaggerating his concerns as something tantamount to “being automatically scared as a white person to enjoy any song about white people”.

The song is used with awesome effect in the actual film too. And the lyrics are surprisingly relevant.

I love that song – two of my cats are part-Siamese, and that song could’ve been written about them.

Seriously though, I believe “The Immigrant Song” was written for Zeppelin’s tour of Iceland?

In my opinion, the song’s message is “Why are you grumbling about south Asian immigrants? The north European immigrants were far worse.”