The Dilemma of the Metaphorical Mulatto - Printable Version
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Tim Wise - brianold - 06-07-2006 02:23 PM
Here's a related discussion with a very good article by Tim Wise and some suggestions from Nate for white folks when dealing with (talking, thinking about) race:
- brianold - 06-12-2006 01:30 AM
a good piece on alternet:
Why White People Are Afraid
By Robert Jensen, AlterNet
Posted on June 7, 2006, Printed on June 11, 2006
It may seem self-indulgent to talk about the fears of white people in a white-supremacist society. After all, what do white people really have to be afraid of in a world structured on white privilege? It may be self-indulgent, but it's critical to understand because these fears are part of what keeps many white people from confronting ourselves and the system.
The first, and perhaps most crucial, fear is that of facing the fact that some of what we white people have is unearned. It's a truism that we don't really make it on our own; we all have plenty of help to achieve whatever we achieve. That means that some of what we have is the product of the work of others, distributed unevenly across society, over which we may have little or no control individually. No matter how hard we work or how smart we are, we all know -- when we are honest with ourselves -- that we did not get where we are by merit alone. And many white people are afraid of that fact.
A second fear is crasser: White people's fear of losing what we have -- literally the fear of losing things we own if at some point the economic, political, and social systems in which we live become more just and equitable. That fear is not completely irrational; if white privilege -- along with the other kinds of privilege many of us have living in the middle class and above in an imperialist country that dominates much of the rest of the world -- were to evaporate, the distribution of resources in the United States and in the world would change, and that would be a good thing. We would have less. That redistribution of wealth would be fairer and more just. But in a world in which people have become used to affluence and material comfort, that possibility can be scary.
A third fear involves a slightly different scenario -- a world in which non-white people might someday gain the kind of power over whites that whites have long monopolized. One hears this constantly in the conversation about immigration, the lingering fear that somehow "they" (meaning not just Mexican-Americans and Latinos more generally, but any non-white immigrants) are going to keep moving to this country and at some point become the majority demographically.
Even though whites likely can maintain a disproportionate share of wealth, those numbers will eventually translate into political, economic, and cultural power. And then what? Many whites fear that the result won't be a system that is more just, but a system in which white people become the minority and could be treated as whites have long treated non-whites. This is perhaps the deepest fear that lives in the heart of whiteness. It is not really a fear of non-white people. It's a fear of the depravity that lives in our own hearts: Are non-white people capable of doing to us the barbaric things we have done to them?
A final fear has probably always haunted white people but has become more powerful since the society has formally rejected overt racism: The fear of being seen, and seen-through, by non-white people. Virtually every white person I know, including white people fighting for racial justice and including myself, carries some level of racism in our minds and hearts and bodies. In our heads, we can pretend to eliminate it, but most of us know it is there. And because we are all supposed to be appropriately anti-racist, we carry that lingering racism with a new kind of fear: What if non-white people look at us and can see it? What if they can see through us? What if they can look past our anti-racist vocabulary and sense that we still don't really know how to treat them as equals? What if they know about us what we don't dare know about ourselves? What if they can see what we can't even voice?
I work in a large university with a stated commitment to racial justice. All of my faculty colleagues, even the most reactionary, have a stated commitment to racial justice. And yet the fear is palpable.
It is a fear I have struggled with, and I remember the first time I ever articulated that fear in public. I was on a panel with several other professors at the University of Texas discussing race and politics in the O.J. Simpson case. Next to me was an African American professor. I was talking about media; he was talking about the culture's treatment of the sexuality of black men. As we talked, I paid attention to what was happening in me as I sat next to him. I felt uneasy. I had no reason to be uncomfortable around him, but I wasn't completely comfortable. During the question-and-answer period -- I don't remember what question sparked my comment -- I turned to him and said something like, "It's important to talk about what really goes on between black and white people in this country. For instance, why am I feeling afraid of you? I know I have no reason to be afraid, but I am. Why is that?"
My reaction wasn't a crude physical fear, not some remnant of being taught that black men are dangerous (though I have had such reactions to black men on the street in certain circumstances). Instead, I think it was that fear of being seen through by non-white people, especially when we are talking about race. In that particular moment, for a white academic on an O.J. panel, my fear was of being exposed as a fraud or some kind of closet racist.
Even if I thought I knew what I was talking about and was being appropriately anti-racist in my analysis, I was afraid that some lingering trace of racism would show through, and that my black colleague would identify it for all in the room to see. After I publicly recognized the fear, I think I started to let go of some of it. Like anything, it's a struggle. I can see ways in which I have made progress. I can see that in many situations I speak more freely and honestly as I let go of the fear. I make mistakes, but as I become less terrified of making mistakes I find that I can trust my instincts more and be more open to critique when my instincts are wrong.
Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of, most recently, The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (City Lights Books), from which this essay is excerpted.
© 2006 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/36892/
Race, HipHop, and white privilege - Nathaniel - 06-12-2006 02:53 PM
Last Friday, Cody's Books in Berkeley sponsored an event on "Race, White Privilege, Social Justice and Hip-Hop" (yeah, you know, small topics) which featured a powerhouse panel comprising of Adam Mansbach, Jeff Chang, Tricia Rose and Dave Stovall.
Judging by some of the comments left in my last post about race/rap, I get the sense that some would rather assume that we've moved to some post-race identity politics when it comes to hip-hop. However, Friday's panel only confirmed that issues of race, far from becoming moot in our age of vapid multiculturalism, are more pertinent (and complex) as ever - especially in hip-hop.
The entire course of conversations that happened is too dense to summarize succinctly so instead, I jotted down a few notes that I think can all lead to larger dialogues and debates. To begin:
CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING...
One common agreement amongst the panel is that hip-hop's popularity has resulted in a situation where Blackness is being consumed like never before but without requiring any form of contact with the Black community whatsoever. Both Adam and Prof. Rose raised that point that previous Black cultural forms - such as the blues or jazz - often encouraged non-Black fans to literally travel into Black neighborhoods as a way to listen or take part in them. However, as media distribution has become increasingly divorced, geographically speaking, from the space of production, it's not all surprising that you could have a generation of youth raised on Black culture (in the form of hip-hop) who've never interacted with a single Black person in their own lives. This isn't a new observation of course but I've yet to see that many people really probe the implications and problems that arise from this phenomenon. Obviously, it forces non-Black hip-hop fans to interrogate what they contribute (or fail to contribute) to contemporary race relations and maybe it's precisely why the topic is so frequently elided.
To add onto this, Adam made the point in saying that if we're talking about white privilege, he feels that too many white listeners of hip-hop presume that just the fact of their consumption habits is already a sufficient political gesture. In other words, the mere fact that a white kid listens to hip-hop is somehow revolutionary since it's supposed to represent some implicit rejection of conventional whiteness. Adam pointed out 1) that's hardly anything new - white youth have been rejecting whiteness through the consumption of Black culture for 100+ years without having improved race relations in that same amount of time and 2) he said something to the effect of: "the opposite of white privilege is not blackness - it's the dismantling of white privilege." In other words, one does not destroy white supremacy by identifying with Black culture or even Black people - that act alone isn't sufficient to undo the legacy of systemic racial inequality and oppression and that to assume that it does actually only compounds the problem.
This is something that William "Upski" Wimsatt tackled ten years ago in his "Aren't I a Special White Boy" essay in Bomb the Suburbs but again, it seems like few have listened to his insights.
Prof. Rose raised an age-old question that people still argue endlessly over: why is hip-hop so popular across social lines? She argues that it has little to do with the aesthetics of rap (in terms of its lyrics and music) and has everything to do with its "performance of a certain kind of black masculinity." In noting that, she points out that there is definitely the potential for a beautiful kind of cultural contact that can arise from the desire to connect with those forms of Blackness but the emphasis here is on potential which she doesn't think has been remotely fulfilled yet. (By the way, Rose isn't arguing that there's nothing appealing about hip-hop on an aesthetic level, but as she notes, there are many forms of Black cultural production that are aesthetically impressive, not just hip-hop, yet hip-hop is far, far more popular. She's arguing that hip-hop's performance of a particularly virile form of Black masculinity is the key difference).
Switching topics - Dr. Rose also relayed an experience she had teaching a class on hip-hop at UC Santa Cruz: she had asked volunteers from her class to help put together a set of songs that represented the Oakland underground scene. The first students to volunteer were white and they put folks like Too Short, the Coup and Hieroglyphics in the mix. A few days later, some of the Black students in her class approached her and put her up on Keek the Sneak, Mac Dre and E-40 instead. When she asked her Black students why they were listening to Keek, Dre and others but NOT the Coup or Hiero (whom she considered to be more sophisticated both aesthetically and socially), they replied, "because White kids like them" which seems to reflect the long-held wisdom that if you're too popular with White folks, you lose credibility with Black folks (see Digable Planets and Arrested Development).
Prof. Rose expressed her concern that it's now become the case that Black youth are only into the most (in her words) retrograde, nihilistic and misogynistic elements of hip-hop out there and rejecting more progressive, intelligent and sophisticated artists. Her concern was that this was creating a death spiral of values and aspirations amongst Black youth. This is similar, to me at least, to other critiques raised by folks like Mark Anthony Neal and Greg Tate, all of whom are from an older generation (40+) of hip-hop fans and whose attitudes on this issue have been fiercely debated by younger fans.
Let me add two (not so) small questions to all this:
1) Where do Latinos and Asian Americans fall into this mix? This went unmentioned during the panel. On one hand, their appreciation of hip-hop partially (if not largely) stems from the perception that they too are members of a marginalized, racialized community. Therefore, they feel that hip-hop "speaks to and for them" on a level that doesn't as readily apply to Whites.
On the other hand, it's not as if A) communities of color work together in harmony. If anything, the historical record reveals that White Supremacy has been exceedingly effective in creating incentives for groups to turn on each other in the hopes of gaining a slice of White Privilege. And B) Latino and Asian Americans are just as capable of conflating consumption with contact - enjoying the fruits of Black cultural labor without contributing to any material solidarity with Black people.
2) What can we do to maximize the potential of hip-hop to create cross-cultural contact that is not exploitative and builds meaningful relationships and solidarity rather than reifying a tradition of cultural colonialism?
Let me add that I don't think you can attack this issue at the level of consumption. As Adam pointed out - preventing Whites from accessing Black culture only increases their desire for it and moreover, Black cultural producers rarely control the means of distribution and so long as 99.9% of rappers are more than happy to sell their records to anyone who wants to buy them, it's unlikely that there can be a movement to reverse the conventional flow of cultural consumption. What you can do, however, is try to find a way to use consumption as the starting point to something more productive. My question is: how do we find that way?
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in response... - kemuinat - 06-12-2006 08:17 PM
Let me just say that I love discourse like this and I strongly believe that this is how change is manifested. Biggups to Brian for sending me the link and "Friend" for his honesty... oh and this reponse is like so motherloving late but I just had to put in my two sense...
Now I have a few things to point out and the points are a bit jumbled so bear with me…
FRIEND: "Class is the real fucking issue, race is just a bait-and-switch that keeps peoples minds occupied while the rich fuck everybody over."
"CLASS IS THE REAL ISSUE! RACE JUST ALLOWS IT TO GO UNNOTICED!"
How many people do you know want to admit that race is a huge issue that needs to be addressed? How many politicians, senators, housewives, business men will look at racism for the cause of injustice? On the contrary homie, class is almost always thrown over racism as the "real" issue because this country, the Western world in general, runs away and/or covers up anything that has to do with race. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a majority of the people in low-income/inner city/ghetto neighborhoods are people of color, particularly Black folks. Most of the inmates in our prison system are Black males and the rate of Black females in prison is on the rise. Black women lead the pack in section 8 housing and welfare. It is not simply a class issue.
As far as the Black elite that you mentioned, this level of elitism is much like methods used and still used to maintain control over Blacks in Latin America and Europe: you let a few in and the rest will believe if they sell out and assimilate enough they can get through the door too. Just because the guy from BET (who isn't dead, you're probably thinking of the founder of Ebony Magazine) has a billion dollars doesn't mean he doesn't suffer his own level of racism and/or shared history of slavery. I have a few family members in corporate America who suffer from the embarrassments and the uphill battle of racism almost everyday. And yeah, they may a lot in common with Donald Trump but taking note from Fanon, we (Black people) all wear the mask at some point. We all deal with racism, whether consciously or unconsciously on some level.
You stated that we are all human beings, and we are, but I find that that is the same argument used time and time again to dismiss racism and race issues, particularly by white America. So again, I agree, we are all human beings and we have to respect each other as such, but it would be dangerous to totally disregard the fact that we are different, like you said "Because that is what I am, an individual." We are individually different (me and you) and we are collectively different (Black folk and White folk) and no, not just skin color homie.
And that's where, I think one of the divides are, white folks generally see race and think skin color while Black folks see race and think skin color, physical features, more importantly, culture, tradition and history. We, Black folks, generally don't divide race and who we are as people. We have been forced to see our race for centuries and all of a sudden we're supposed say, "F-it! We're all human anyways!" I don't think anyone should get off that easy and that alternative will only lead to what is happening as I type this response: silent racism, which is just as dangerous as the KKK's hootin' and hollerin'. And hey, you we don’t necessarily have to celebrate each other’s differences, but at least acknowledge and respect them.
FRIEND: "I do see where people's bitterness comes from, and I understand it, and empathize with it completely. But do you see where I'm coming from?"
You may be able to empathize but you will never understand. You being a white man keeps you from truly understanding our plight, just because you've witnessed your friends face discrimination and just because you've experienced it yourself does not mean that you know what it means to wake up everyday for 20 years a Black man. I can empathize with your opinions and your family’s experience with the Holocaust but I will never truly understand what you and your family have been through. I know where the bitterness (of Black folks) comes from, that is a stage that I believe every Black person must go through before they can progress but I do think that there are Black folks who are sitting in one angry place and crying wolf at every offense; waiting for someone to do something and manifesting the same racist ideologies that have been crammed down their throats for centuries. I like to call them progressive ignorants., countering any progress because of festering anger, resentment and ignorance.
FRIEND: "My point is, there are good and bad people everywhere, shades in between, and everything is not because of race."
I love this because it's true. We are all complex and 3, 4, 5 dimensional people and to say that a group of folks are all good or all bad is ridiculous and dismissive.
BRIAN: i think that's where white people should spend much of their research time instead of in africa... i'm interetsed in knowing how "sustainable" the subcultures (irish, etc...) are."
I totally agree. And I agree with Nathaniel, cause Europe is rich in culture and tradition. It's a matter of recognizing the good and the bad and everything in between. I completely believe that racism doesn't only exist among white people but they definately built the model for it. Pre-colonization Africans had tribal conflicts not conflicts based on skin color. Also skin color is one aspect of racism against Black folks, everything that is associated with Blackness physical (big lips, kinky hair, etc.), cultural (ghetto culture, African culture, etc.) has been degraded.
BRIAN: "But what we have to come to agreeance on eventually if we study history is that the paradigms and civilizations that are characteristically African, or that borrow heavily from them, are sustainable."
True, but like someone more or less mentioned, we have to be careful not to romanticize...Africa is sustainable culturally, geographically, scientifically, collectively, etc. but I think that African culture as a whole can be too collective at times. Many of Africa's civilizations (this is from my own experience and knowledge) had and have no regard for the rights of the individual. I believe a sustainable civilization utilizes both collective and individual thought and methods. But overall, I do agree that Africa's paradigms and civilizations are sustainable.
FRIEND: "Secondly, when people speak of black unity, and being the original man, and being brothers, and the evil white man, how is that helping anybody? Is that helping the black mans plight? Is it making the white man in power feel any compassion?"
You bunched several very different belief systems into one. Black unity and "being brothers" has nothing to do with the "white devil". Contrary to popular belief, collective unity does not equal hate. Having cultural and racial pride is just that until folks start taking it to the next level (i.e. Nazi's). And there's no way I'm about to subdue my Black pride because Joshua next door doesn't understand. Black brotherhood and sisterhood was meant to unite us as a people after the extreme attempts by this society to divide us, not to make any white man feel compassion.
"I'm more like Vincent from "Collateral." Life has made me like this. I used to be bright-eyed. Optimistic.. Have a social-consciousness... I used to think I could change things. Now I see that it's gonna be hard enough just to get things right for me, not to mention anyone else."
Vincent ended up dead and gone unnoticed...I'm disheartened to see that someone so young has such little hope. I've had a hard life too homie but I still believe that life has so much potential which only needs to be reached with some effort, some struggle, some adversity and even some sacrifice. I agree to a certain extent when you mentioned that you can only worry about you. Change does start with you but it doesn't end there...I think it's a domino effect and you may not see it in your lifetime but it can and will happen. Change is inevitable. Leave the world a better place than it was when you got here, even if it's for one person, make it better. I suggest you read Kmt: House of Life by Armah and Angry Black White Boy by Adam Mansbach if you haven't already. Much respect for sharing your truth...
Re: Race, HipHop, and white privilege - brianold - 06-12-2006 09:44 PM
Quote:Adam pointed out... "the opposite of white privilege is not blackness - it's the dismantling of white privilege."
if only everyone saw it that way...
Quote:Prof. Rose ... argues that it has little to do with the aesthetics of rap (in terms of its lyrics and music) and has everything to do with its "performance of a certain kind of black masculinity." ... She's arguing that hip-hop's performance of a particularly virile form of Black masculinity is the key difference).
hmmm... if she's saying what i think she's saying i disagee. cause white boys were bboying and graffiti writing when hip-hip wasnt a "virile form of black masculinity"... i ain't read jeff chang, but i know all the old bboys from minneapolis and i would say that hip-hop was very balanced back in the day and even into the early 90's. not until the early-mid 90's did that masculine domination overhyped braggadocio come in.
Quote:she had asked volunteers from her class to help put together a set of songs that represented the Oakland underground scene. The first students to volunteer were white and they put folks like Too Short, the Coup and Hieroglyphics in the mix. A few days later, some of the Black students in her class approached her and put her up on Keek the Sneak, Mac Dre and E-40 instead. When she asked her Black students why they were listening to Keek, Dre and others but NOT the Coup or Hiero (whom she considered to be more sophisticated both aesthetically and socially), they replied, "because White kids like them" which seems to reflect the long-held wisdom that if you're too popular with White folks, you lose credibility with Black folks (see Digable Planets and Arrested Development).
this is a tough statement. i see what she's observing though. i'm sure she realizes that this obviously does not apply to all black youth. but look at what we're up against. let's remember where this started and keep in mind that this is manipulation. on one hand yes black youth run from white infiltration. on the other hand, look what they are dangling in front of us! the most beautiful women on the planet and the substances that help us get them... drugs, alcohol, money, fame... that's basically what it's all about from the marketing aspect. like ghostface say: "All around the world today, the Kilo is the measure/ Whoever got the kilos got the candy, man!/ A kilo is one thousand grams, easy to remember... Once you got the funds you got the panties, man!"
there's deep insecurity in the black man. but it's like the existance of whiteness forces that insecurity to remain and manifest itself in self-defense. the over masculinization. like, we ain't gonna never let that shit happen again. and it's a daily thought. i see it on the subway. i feel it on the subway some days! ready to fight if a white man bumps into me!
to be honest, we have to get away. whether that means having a cabin to go to upstate like my greatgrandpa was able to create for my family, or to be able to go down south, or to be able to go to africa... i think the only way we get out is to find a place to escape to where we can take that pressure off of us and work on healing.
so i'm not being totally apologetic but i am saying that they gotta recognize that's its not just the surface level, "oh i dont like positive hiphop cause white people like it"... yes, but then no, cause it's that and much more. it's much deeper.
Quote:What can we do to maximize the potential of hip-hop to create cross-cultural contact that is not exploitative and builds meaningful relationships and solidarity rather than reifying a tradition of cultural colonialism?
that takes come vision. i think here's where art for the sake of capitalizing off of it becomes a problem. so this starts not with the consumer but it's gonna have to start with the producer of the art. i can't see how it can realistically happen any other way. albeit, that does seem like a far off goal. but wow... imagine someone turning down a record deal because they disagree with the promotion of their art or they don't want it seen on mtv or bet. we have to start connecting the art, artist, and medium of distribution as a community. almost like, if they aren't all in sync than no one moves until that happens.[/quote]
Re: in response... - brianold - 06-12-2006 10:35 PM
haha! yo kemi, nathaniel isn's the cat who was initially in the dialogue with me... it was a different person. i think you can edit your post if you think it important. otherwise, it's all good to me. long as nate doesn't think youre coming at his neck for no reason! lol.
kemuinat Wrote:NATHANIEL: "My point is, there are good and bad people everywhere, shades in between, and everything is not because of race."
i would really like to see a documentary on that. i'd really go see it. like white people trying to prove that europe actually has sustainable ways of life to offer. i know it would take an extreme sense of humility on the part of white folks, but i think you guys owe it to the world to kind of come back and say okay... here's what we have to offer that's not destructive. and don't say democracy! lol. cause we all know where that came from
but seriously, i see this as having alot of potential. even if there were a book on it, i'd read it. cause realistically, i dont have time to research europe and its sub-cultures becase i feel like i have to contribute to the rebuilding up my own history and paradigm. but i'd sit down for a presentation or something. something honest and informed. and something that didn't try and claim things that aren't from europe. let's settle it once and for all!!! (**que the cosby challenge snippet** "chaaaaalaaange!!!!!") lol
anyway... back to the other part. i agree that we shouldn't romanticize africa.
so when i say that in general african paradigms and those that borrow directly and honestly (i.e. non-exploitatively)... are sustainable... so i'm specifically thinking of the great pre-european "american" civilizations... the mayans, the olmec, the Oaxaca, Guerrero, Aztec, Inca, Zapotec, Iroquois, mohawk (i got alot of them up in me actually!), sioux, cherokee, apache, inuit... and i could go on...
now i'm not an anthropologist, but i notice similar characteristics in eastern civilizations. (although there are theorists in the far east who claim little ties to africa... that they evolved separately from the continent and established their civilizations independently... guess i have more reading to do)
but the large point i think we get. i think we all have to stand up for the civilizations that we identify with, the ancestors that we identify with... if we find that what they were doing was sustainable then we should try and incorporate their ways of living and create an evolved form of that... however, if some us find that those who we identify with were not living sustainably... well... hence the title of this forum, right?
- Nathaniel - 06-13-2006 01:36 AM
I feel your points, although I wasnt the person who said the original quotes you were commenting on.
That said, there must be some reason this topic keeps ressurecting itself to the top of the BB. LOL And that is because it is still such a huge unadressed issue...entangled with issues like class, gender, sexuality, self-conception, spirituality, and ancestral tradition. So once you go to grasp at one thread it leads to five others, which each lead to 10 others...this thing is like a huge tapestry encompassing politics, economics, social life, on down the line--this is one point I agree with Dr. Welsing on; how all encompassing racism is.
Once whites address racism, their own white supremacy, once there is that profound humbling and disownment of privilege that you spoke of, then the whole of humanity will be alot further along...but imagine what it would take for that to happen...thats optimistic that it will change without some sort of global catastrophe and/or revolution.
And lets say that whiteness is the result of this albinism gene, whats to stop a new group with their own seperatist cultural identity from being created...maybe the genetic mutation will be different...I dunno, say with long legs and short torsos...endo-morphs, or midgets, LOL, but seriously, is categorization and hierarchy implicit in human thinking? And if so, how do we evolve past it?
Anyway, Brian, since you want to see that presentation, in all fairness, a book about sustainable European cultural traditions would be pretty damn short. LOL. Its only right to just come out and admit that. That doesn't mean that Europeans can't look to the past and pick out great leaders, visionaries, cultural movements that were mostly suppressed, etc, and use them to build the future. People like Meister Eckhart, St Francis of Assisi, Dorothy Day, Albert Einstein, John Brown, Bob Zellner are worthy of imitation. It just means that along with that will have to be a STRONG critique of the European paradigm and a deep engagement with other traditions..African, Chinese, Meso-American, etc.
I guess thats where the extreme humility comes in. haha. not to mention a sense of humor.
In the meantime, I'm working on the Powerpoint and I'll get back to you....LOL.
Also, I read that George Will article...did you know he graduated from my HS?.they were trying to get him as a graduation speaker on year. Bleh.
My bad! - kemuinat - 06-13-2006 03:04 AM
Motherlova!!! My bad dawg...my happy behind was so damn excited to reply the previous dialogue that I ended up addressing the wrong cat! Oooops! Well...uhhh...redoosies, everything I just said but to that other guy...
As for the Hip Hop forum in Berkeley, I was there too and I respect homedude Adam. Prof Rose too but I am midway with Prof Rose's comments:
"Switching topics - Dr. Rose also relayed an experience she had teaching a class on hip-hop at UC Santa Cruz: she had asked volunteers from her class to help put together a set of songs that represented the Oakland underground scene. The first students to volunteer were white and they put folks like Too Short, the Coup and Hieroglyphics in the mix. A few days later, some of the Black students in her class approached her and put her up on Keek the Sneak, Mac Dre and E-40 instead. When she asked her Black students why they were listening to Keek, Dre and others but NOT the Coup or Hiero (whom she considered to be more sophisticated both aesthetically and socially), they replied, "because White kids like them" which seems to reflect the long-held wisdom that if you're too popular with White folks, you lose credibility with Black folks (see Digable Planets and Arrested Development).
Prof. Rose expressed her concern that it's now become the case that Black youth are only into the most (in her words) retrograde, nihilistic and misogynistic elements of hip-hop out there and rejecting more progressive, intelligent and sophisticated artists. Her concern was that this was creating a death spiral of values and aspirations amongst Black youth."
I agree on some levels, a lot of that music is very misogynistic and materialistic but I also think that some of it promotes neighborhood pride and makes some valid points and is just plain old entertaining (sometimes you just want to dance to some town biz music) . I'm from Oakland and I listen to some Keak Da Sneak and I also listen to Zion I and Digable Planets. Folks are quick to negate the validility of underground music that the Black youth in Oakland listen to. It's a little annoying hearing putdowns to everything these kids enjoy when everything isn't all about big booty chicks and diamond grill. And Too Short?! That old booze hound is not someone to listen to, no good can come of it. I don't remember her mentioning the white students bringing in Too Short, but that is something to definately question. He leads the pack in misogynistic and materialistic and exploitive and degrading content. But my point is you don't have to be grass roots (aesthetically speaking) to be intelligent. Looks and sounds can be deceiving.
My apologies again for directing my words to the wrong person (eh-hem, Nathaniel,,,)
- brianold - 06-13-2006 02:11 PM
Nathaniel Wrote:Once whites address racism, their own white supremacy, once there is that profound humbling and disownment of privilege that you spoke of, then the whole of humanity will be alot further along...
what are some of the ways that you might encourage fellow white folks nate? i'm interested in that.
Quote:but imagine what it would take for that to happen...thats optimistic that it will change without some sort of global catastrophe and/or revolution.
dang it! i thought that might be the case! lol.
Quote:is categorization and hierarchy implicit in human thinking? And if so, how do we evolve past it?
well from reading Cedric Robinson's "Black Marxism" one gets the impression that it is characteristic of european thought, at least the SOCIAL hierarchy. but my dad asked me a good question... "what about egypt? didn't they have social hierarchy?"
i still haven't fully answered his question. although from what i know about egypt (very little relatively) i want to say that pre-asiatic/euro-invasion egypt (i.e. kemit, ethiopia, nubia) did not utilize social hierarchy to limit people and/or oppresses them. but i'd need to read more. dave might know more about this. i've just taken a few classes on egyptian civilization and my professors were all white, so i don't feel too confidant in my knowledge of egypt to say for sure.
Quote:in all fairness, a book about sustainable European cultural traditions would be pretty damn short. LOL. Its only right to just come out and admit that.
Quote:along with that will have to be a STRONG critique of the European paradigm and a deep engagement with other traditions..African, Chinese, Meso-American, etc.
white people: someone please get started on this asap!!! please!!! for everyone's sake!!!
Quote:I guess thats where the extreme humility comes in. haha. not to mention a sense of humor.
ah humbleness. without it life is much hardner and complex.
yea please holla at me when you got the powerpoint. like i said, i'm inviting all of my white friends! lol
- brianold - 07-16-2006 05:11 PM
Funny that I was talkin about this just yesterday with my friend Mathew and then I get this email today...
Black youth take over the racial torch in Brazil
Check it... even tho these youth realized that "we are all Africans" according to scientific evidence... in the modern day reality there is an unquestionable knowing that specific groups of people (in this case "black brazilians) have been left out of many pictures... and thus deserve the sole attention.
The "diversity" argument is often premature... as the young sister hinted to, how can we talk about diversity when it is specifically the black brazilian programs that are underfunded, etc? We have to understand the timeline of "diversity" and it isn't something that happens overnight... there first must be reconciliation and in order for that to take place people have to stop thinking that it already has taken place.