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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Should Hip Hop Be Eradicated?

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY: "Was it Worth the Beating?"

A few weeks ago, one of my readers e-mailed me and indicated that he was a proponent of the total eradication of Hip Hop. In his mind, it could not be redeemed or saved, but was too destructive to be allowed to continue unchallenged.

At the time I thought his view was extreme. First, it is impossible to eradicate anything (“ How‘s that War on Drugs going“). Second, Hip Hop is a broad musical genre and all Hip Hop artists aren’t spewing misogynistic lyrics . Third and most important, at that point in the development of this blog, I didn’t want to get into a debate with people about whether Hip Hop can be redeemed. I would have spent all of my time fighting off indignant Hip Hop apologists.

However, recently I stumbled across a report courtesy of Mirror On America: The Rap On Culture & Why Cosby Was Right. The report is the result of research conducted on young African Americans in Ohio:" How Anti-Educational Messages in the Media, at Home, & on the Street Hold Back African-American Youth." I e-mailed the authors of the report because many of the gender specific findings focused mainly on African American boys and I think more attention needs to be paid to African American girls. For example, one of the anecdotes is about taking a group of young black males to the child support office after a mentor discovers several of his mentees “might” be teenaged fathers. There is no correlating anecdote about what it’s like to be a young Black teenaged mother. What about OUR DAUGHTERS? The gender bias within the report notwithstanding, the results are absolutely horrifying.

  • In 2002, only 59 percent of African-American students in Ohio high schools graduated. That compares to a graduation rate of 84 percent for white students in Ohio, according to a 2006 report by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
  • Nationwide, the high school dropout rate for African-American males is nearly double the rate of their white counterparts. Students who drop out of high school are more likely to be poor, engage in violent behavior and end up in prison.
  • Male and female students with low academic achievement are twice as likely to become parents by their senior year of high school, compared to their more studious counterparts.
  • Roughly three-fourths of Ohio prison inmates dropped out of high school.

For all of you leaping up to point the finger at White America, retake your seats! This study actually ties the Hip Hop culture to the achievement gap between African American students and their counterparts in other groups.

Contrary to some beliefs, achievement gaps between Black or Hispanic students and White or Asian students cannot be completely explained by economic disadvantage...Hip-hop culture has come under scrutiny of late, following the racist and sexist comments by radio host Don Imus. Much of the attention has focused on misogynist, violent images pervasive in the industry. However, we consider anti-education messages often found in the music equally harmful. These have led far too many African-Americans, particularly boys and young men, to believe that academic excellence is undesirable, or simply not “cool.” The excesses of music artists, along with the exploits of athletes, have contributed to a false sense of confidence among urban youth that other opportunities abound for those who do not take their education and responsibilities as young men seriously.

What are you going to do in a post industrial era without the entry-level credential to enter the workforce, a High School Diploma? How are you ever going to have the slightest chance to fully participate in the economy without a High School Diploma?

The NAACP is wasting time at its national convention to bury the “N-word.
When you have hundreds of thousands of African American youth committing financial suicide by dropping out of school, does the “ N-word” really matter? Where is the funeral for high school drop outs?

The typical response from Hip Hop apologists are that the artists are merely reflecting their upbringing and that it is a legitimate form of artistic expression. But is this merely art, or is it more sinister? According to this report, Hip Hop isn’t merely reflecting culture, it is driving culture and not in a good way. If Hip Hop were a cancer, would we be content to destroy only a few of the cancerous cells? Probably not

My challenge to my readers. Read this report. It is only 16 pages and come back and let me know what you think. If the stakes are this high, can Hip Hop be saved or should it be eradicated?

Attention all Coca Cola stockholders: You are about to give 400 million dollars to 50 Cent. Yep. That's not a typo 400 million dollars. Way to be a responsible corporate citizen! Why don't y'all take time to thank Warren Buffet and Berkshire Hathaway, one of Coke's largest stakeholders: Mr. Warren Buffett,Berkshire Hathaway Corporation, 3555 Farnam Street,
Omaha, NE 68131

Now how many of y'all think Defunding the War on Black Women is a joke? 400 million dollars. Hip Hop is not about making music. It is about making money. Part of the reason this purchase was so palatable is because 50 Cent was mainstreamed. Stop Funding Foolishness!