Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Pop culture and black crime

When Cynthia Tucker, editorial page editor for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution gets away from Bush Derangement Syndrome, I think she's one of the best writers around on the subject of black popular culture -- which she doesn't like. Here, she takes a new "reality" show on BET that lauds Lil' Kim as she heads for jail, and uses it to discuss the pernicious effect of rap/popular culture on young black men:

Is this why the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. made the ultimate sacrifice? Is this why Rosa Parks refused to yield her seat? Did countless civil rights veterans put everything on the line so that, someday, a handful of black men and women could make a fortune encouraging young blacks to lawlessness? The popularity of thug culture is among the most serious of modern-day threats to black America, far more dangerous than any lingering institutional racism. Its mores mimic prison culture: the ubiquitous droopy-pants-look drew its inspiration from jail procedures, where men are stripped of their belts upon arrest. It romanticizes casual violence, helping to ensure that black fratricide will go on unabated. According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, black men are the likely perpetrators in more than 40 percent of the homicides in which a suspect has been identified. That's staggering -- given that black men account for only about 6 percent of the population. But black men are their own worst enemies: They also account for about 40 percent of the nation's homicide victims. No drumbeat or rhyme ever put a gun in anyone's hand. But some rap lyrics do make violence seem an assurance of manliness. Not only does much rap music (and I use the word "music" advisedly) glorify men who carry guns and intimidate or kill their foes, but some rap artists have engaged in actual violence. Some have gone to prison. Some are dead. Apparently, their close association with criminal activity gives them "street creds," making them more popular. [Emphasis mine.]
The rap culture is a debased culture. But a lot of the blame does rest in the hands of white executives as companies such as Sony who, to make a profit, invested in and glorified the worst kind of gangsterism -- and they must have known that the most vulnerable elements in the black community (young men) would be drawn to that medium. Shame on them, and shame on those in the black community who continue to defend this kind of garbage as being part of their culture. It's not. There have been gangsters at all times in all cultures, and no thinking person should consider gangsterism unique to his or her own culture and "celebrate" it accordingly. Talking to Technorati: , ,