March 17, 2006

Oh nooes! White kids acting like black kids!

Certainly there's a lot not to like about hip-hop and gangsta culture, most prominently the ostentatious materialism, glorification of violence, and rampant sexism of the rappers and groups promoted by the mainstream music industry. But, except for the choice of words, you can find all that in every other genre remotely popular among teenagers today. So, of course, white parents in upper-middle-class Bay Area towns are all upset over the kids and the hip-hop. The most offensive items? Freaking (the sexually suggestive dancing style du jour), metal teeth ornaments, and the word "back" (as in "baby got back").

I say, the PTAs of these communities shouldn't hide their racism behind a genre that, at its best, is one of the most authentic artistic forms around these days. Just come out with simpler, more direct rules that penalize anyone for acting black. Be sure to include differential punishments, of course -- a white kid acting black gets suspended for the rest of the day, or has a couple of afternoons' of detention, while a black kid acting black gets expelled. After all, if the white kids are mimicing the idiots in music videos, well, they're still white, it's just a youthful indiscretion on the part of the future members of the ruling class; but when black kids start actually expressing themselves artistically, you know the racist power structure is under direct attack, and things have to be stomped out fast before that pesky Civil Rights Movement returns.


MosBen said...

Perhaps I'm being a tad overly pedantic, but I just wanted to point out that "hip hop culture", at least on the traditional definitions I'm familiar with, is a rather large umbrella under which the much smaller subset of "gansta culture" resides and therefore that I'm not sure it's entirely fair to set the two terms side by side as if they're synonomous.

It's really not terribly important to the point you were making, but it sort of irks me when people use the very broad "hip hop" when they really mean the specific "gansta". It's like people that complain about Marilin Manson and talk about the evils of "rock & roll". Really? "Wake Up Little Suzy" is dangerous?

Even among gansta culture the ostentatious materialism is a reletively new invention. Quite a lot of earlier gansta stuff (off the top of my head I'm thinking of N.W.A. stuff like "Straight Outta Compton") included political messages and used the violence described to get that message across.

Noumena said...

Good point; thanks.

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I like the hip-hop and gangsta culture, I think that sometimes the peole say bad things about this culture but I think that they are so important to the general culture of the country.!!and the music is great.!!

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