File spoon-archives/postcolonial.archive/postcolonial_2003/postcolonial.0309, message 13


Date: Tue, 02 Sep 2003 11:15:29 -0700
Subject: as a parent...


  With all do respect:
 From a cultural studies perspective, McWhorter's thesis is provocative 
and great fodder for academic discussions and arguments (valid enough). 
 However, reading this as a parent, I feel certain that many (if not 
most) parents would prefer that their children have "positive" 
non-violent role models -- if nothing else.  I am not condemning hip-hop 
in the way McWhorter does.  But his article gave me pause.

I believe that at a very basic human level it's worth considering 
who/what is shaping our children's values and dreams.  I also think that 
it is very easy to disregard or ignore McWhorter's message when one does 
not see themself or their family as directly impacted by such negative 
messaging (ie one is not a black, single mother living in an urban 
ghetto trying to raise a kid with the hope for something better, for 
example.  For the record, I don't happen to be such a mother.)

In other words, it would much easier for the mother of a white, upper 
middle class kid who does not live in an urban ghetto but who listens to 
hip-hop to find it more of a nuisance than a significant, negative 
impact on her kid's life, psyche and future goals worthy of concern.

I do think McWhorter could give more attention to the superficial 
promise of fame and fortune promulgated by hip-hop.  It taps into the 
American dream, which cuts across racial and economic boundaries.  And 
it's what makes hip-hop so seductive to so many.

Susanna Stromberg Corcoran
arm-chair cultural studies academitian and parent

Luisa Rodriguez wrote:

>While I agree that music lyrics and attitudes do not create antisocial teens, it seems a bit naive to think that they do not influence teens with little else to engage their minds. And while the war in Iraq is very important to cover, so are the roots of antisocialism in our country. Luisa
>
>Margaret Trawick <trawick-AT-clear.net.nz> wrote:Dear Horn of Africa,
>
>With all due respect, it seems to me that a food fight among
>fourteen-year-old boys at a K-Y Fry is not something to be alarmed about.
>Abundant evidence suggests that such food fights have been occurring among
>people of this age group of all classes and colors for decades if not
>centuries. Similarly, verbal sass on the part of a young man in a car,
>though it may be irritating, should not be cause for alarm. Such behavior,
>like food fights, has been observed among black and white adolescents since
>at least the 1950's. Therefore, one may reasonably conclude that hip-hop
>music is not the cause of such behavior, nor even necessarily a contributing
>factor. Before hip-hop there was punk, and before that the Beatles, and
>before that Elvis, and so on back, and all such popular singers who flouted
>the values of middle-class elders provoked alarm on the part of those who
>espoused such values. For Elvis it was his open sexuality that got the
>elders in a tiff, and for the Beatles it was their anti-authoritarian
>stance, and for hip-hop it is the expression of violence in music. But to
>assume a particular voice in music is not necessarily to identify with the
>words of the speaker, nor to agree with him. It is only to say that this
>voice is real. Hip-hop takes many forms, including gentle ones (such as
>Maori hip-hopper Che Fu), and as you and others have noted, the majority of
>hip-hop fans are white and middle class. I would bet my white ass that the
>all of those who actually engage in criminal violence are subject to far
>more pressing influences than hip-hop music, and would do what they do
>regardless of what was playing on the radio. Meanwhile, the musicians
>themselves, at least some of them, get rescued from the hopeless world of
>the ghetto and its violence precisely by their music and its popularity.
>And once they are out, they do all they can never to have to go back. It is
>not the music that is adulated, I believe, so much as the singers
>themselves, who through a combination of luck and talent have escaped the
>life they describe. Finally, the message is, better to make music than to
>deal drugs and get in barfights and pack a piece. So, what is the big deal,
>really? I think you should spend your energy as a writer opposing bad
>government, the war against Iraq, environmental destruction, and things like
>that. As for hip-hop, just let it be.
>
>Regards,
>Margaret
>(b. 1948)
>
>
>
>
>
>--- from list postcolonial-AT-lists.village.virginia.edu ---
>
>
>Luisa Rodriguez, Assistant Professor 
>Harry S Truman College 
>Communications Department 
>1145 W. Wilson - Chicago, IL 60640 
>Office: 773-907-4379 
>Home: 773-275-0631
> 
>http://faculty.ccc.edu/lrodriguez/lrodriguez.html
> "Hold a vision of each person doing their best." C. Yager
>"Cada cabeza es un mundo aparte."   Unknown
>
>
>
>
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