Students Offended at Rap Song's Lyrics

CORRECTION APPENDED

A Yale rap group’s annual Harvard-Yale battle anthem has continued to garner criticism from undergraduates even after The Game for its explicit references to sexual violence.

Eliot’s Students Assault Sexual Harassment (SASH) group {SEE CORRECTION BELOW} met last night, focusing on a few infamous words in the song “Fuck Harvard 2006” that was released shortly before Saturday’s Harvard-Yale game: “I will rape you repeatedly and stain your linens crimson.”

The track has spread rapidly via a link on IvyGateBlog.com, where the song has been the subject of over 100 user comments.

While apologetic about any offense taken in response to their lyrics, members of the band, 108 Tongues, said the song was intended to amuse and entertain, rather than to cause harm.

“It’s not far-fetched enough to be satirical,” Eliot House SASH adviser Mary Anne A Franks said. “It betrays a serious ignorance about the fact that sexual assault does happen.”

Last night’s discussion covered topics ranging from Yale’s possible community responses to the song’s effect on listeners.

“It was an oddly Ivy League way of conveying this information. It’s differently phrased,” Franks said of the lines which have been most widely criticized. “This almost sounded like someone who was trying to write an essay about raping Harvard women.”

SASH adviser Rajiv Saigal, who led the discussion with Franks, called for Yale to issue an official statement denouncing the group’s lyrics.

Others expressed hope for a more grassroots response from Yale’s student body.

“I really think that the women at Yale should stand up and say ‘that’s wrong,’” said Eliot House resident Marc K. Bhargava ’08.

Yale junior Gabriel Hernandez, known as MC Plátano and the writer of the “crimson” lines, said that some responses have been overblown because of the schools’ traditional enmity.

“I think it’s a little bit blown out of proportion just by the rivalry,” Hernandez said. “I didn’t want to have people feel pain listening to the ridiculous lyrics that we just intended as a joke.”

At the meeting, one of Hernandez’s Harvard friends read an e-mail statement from Hernandez asking listeners not to take the rap too seriously.

“I don’t think the rap was a joke,” Sarah Mortazavi ’09 said. “I think they are the joke.”

CORRECTION

The acronym SASH refers to the Sexual Assault, Sexual Harrassment advisers, a group of tutors in each undergraduate House who serve as "first responders" to students with concerns about relationship abuse and other matters. The Nov. 22 article "Students Offended at Rap Song's Lyrics," which reported on a SASH-sponsored discussion in Eliot House about sexually explicit lyrics in a Yale rap group's song, missated SASH's full name.