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Apr 25, 2007

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David Boyd

Seems like only yesterday that Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest were driving kids to kill themselves in record numbers. Amazing that there's even a hip-hop generation around to be concerned about.

ZhaK

Just a moment ago a colleague and I were talking about this. When I was in first grade art class I got reprimanded for singing a broadway tune from one of my parents' albums--

"Oh Donna, oh Donna, oh oh oh Donna
Looking for my Donna.

Have you seen
A sixteen year old tattooed virgin?"

J. Neas

Referring back to the 'snitches' discussion of the prior post, 'snitching' is a big deal in the school culture where I work. 'Snitches get stitches' is a commonly repeated catch phrase.

Recently, in a very sad turn of events, a student was arrested and charged with murder. He had been hiding out in a hotel here in GSO and information from someone who knew led to the police finding him. There were two types of reactions to his arrest here: 'Oh, my God, he killed someone!' and 'If someone hadn't snitched, he wouldn't have been caught..'

While I understand, if not totally agree with, minority populations' general distrust of police in American culture, letting that distrust cross the line into affecting the way crimes against society are handled and, in effect, questioning the value of human life (or that it can somehow be taken from someone legitimately) is a very, very scary prospect.

On a sidenote, the man this student allegedly murdered was supposedly killed for 'snitching' - in that he called the police when this same student had previously broken into his house to steal items.

Jeffrey Sykes

But J. Neas, surely that is just one isolated incident. It can't possibly represent a trend in society can it?

J. Neas

Unfortunately I doubt it is an isolated instance. Now, perhaps I have missed what a lot of this debate was about, but hip-hop, like most art, is a reflection of a society, not vice versa. I touched on a side element of this on my blog the other week, but really, the whole 'snitching' thing wasn't invented by rappers. It was invented by a culture, which those rappers may or may not represent.

Naturally, the answer to this is finding out why black and minority people feel that way - not just trying to snap them out of it.

Seymour Hardy Floyd

Ramblings, first begun in response to a previous post by Ed:

What's scary is witnessing the influence of music/popular culture upon impressionable young people.

When you look at a lot of students who are not taking advantage of educational opportunities and who are repeatedly earning suspensions, you find yourself wondering how much of their efforts, attitudes, and behaviors are directly or indirectly influenced by music, video games, reality shows, talk shows, television, movies, gang influences, etc.

You begin to infer some of the factors that might help determine the gaps between those who are achieving and those who are not.

The attraction to drama (avoidable, unnecessary confrontations between individuals and groups) and violence is so powerful for some students that the ability to focus on doing one's best in school becomes at best an afterthought.

When doing one's best in school is at best an afterthought and when the focus is instead on negative behaviors and attitudes, should there be any shock when these students struggle mightily in school?

There's not a child out there in whom you cannot discover and see positive potential.

But the temptations that lead so many to waste that positive potential are very often far more powerful and alluring.

Our larger culture encourages and promotes ugliness at all levels in the way too many of us choose to communicate and interact with one another.

Instead of lifting one another up, we tear one another down.

We bow to the negative influence of one or more individuals rather than honoring, respecting, and perhaps even following the positive influences that are usually quieter, less flashy, and apparently less appealing.

We follow cycles of repetition rather than developing the strength to explore new approaches and better ways.

We rationalize modern-day ugly behavior while condemning indefensible past practices (and the rationalizations used to justify those practices).

How seriously can you take a modern-day black man who complains about racism while practicing blatant sexism himself?

About as seriously as you can take an old-school white Southerner who complained about the violation of his states' rights while far more grossly violating black people's human rights.

Or about as seriously as you can take a white feminist who finds it in her heart to practice racism.

How can anyone on any level respect a rapper (or any human being) who proudly declares that he would protect (through silence) a person he knew to be a serial killer (or other type of killer/rapist/etc.), all in the name of not snitching?

So that means, for instance, HAD the 3 Duke lacrosse players been guilty of raping their accuser, that anybody who had knowledge of their guilt but chose silence would have deserved medals of honor for not snitching?

So that means that police officers who keep quiet about corruption and brutality should be honored by us all as heroes?

The "no-snitching" code of dishonor is all about protecting the cowards who are "brave" enough to commit crimes against others but are too afraid to step up and accept the punishments they've justly earned.

The sickness of the "no-snitching" philosophy (with its automatically implied violence against violators) deserves far greater condemnation than the ignorant ugliness of Don Imus's comments.

It all trickles down.

And the young learn well.

For young people, I do believe the lyrics and the videos not only reflect but also influence.

How do we change that?

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