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Taylor Swift Faces Backlash for Lyric Saying She Wants to Live in 1830s ‘Without All the Racists’

Taylor Swift Faces Backlash for Lyric Saying She Wants to Live in 1830s
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Taylor Swift released 31 new songs on Friday, but she’s facing some criticism for one line in particular.

In “I Hate It Here,” track 23 on The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology, Swift says she wants to live in the 1830s. The full lyric reads: “My friends used to play a game where / We would pick a decade / We wished we could live in instead of this / I’d say the 1830s but without all the racists / And getting married off for the highest bid.”

The Tortured Poets Department double album runs more than two hours long and contains 10,663 words, according to a noble soul at The Ringer who spent 45 minutes counting them up, but this one line is standing out among social media critics.

Observers noted that it’s hard to separate the decade from “all the racists” or other atrocities of the time. Other listeners were quick to point out that the 1830s were best known, historically, for the Indian Removal Act and Trail of Tears, in which around 60,000 Native Americans were forcibly displaced from their homes, with many dying in the process. In Europe, it was also the time of a cholera pandemic that claimed tens of thousands more lives.

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The 1830s were also three decades before the Civil War, and slavery was still legal in the United States. Some critics say that the lyric minimizes the struggles of the time, even with the “without all the racists” caveat.

One X user wrote, “I mention Taylor Swift once for a joke and now I’m getting news about her, and I gotta say: pretty astonishing to stipulate that she wants to live in the 1830s, ‘except without the racists,’ and not mention slavery, so slavery still exists but everyone’s chill about it.”

Others used the controversy as an opportunity to make fun of Swift, posting memes or making quips about her private jet.

“My interpretation of Taylor Swift wanting to live in the 1830s has to do with the lack of environmental regulations and how economical it’d be to run a private jet,” said another user.

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Added a third, “Taylor Swift name one thing that happened in the 1830s that wasn’t racism. Quickly.”

Swift does add in the song that she wouldn’t feel comfortable living in any era. The next lines go: “Nostalgia is a mind’s trick / If I’d been there, I’d hate it / It was freezing in the palace.”

This is just one of hundreds of Swift lyrics that will be parsed over the coming days as fans listen and relisten to Tortured Poets, but so far, it’s the most controversial.

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