Some folk need to be truly set free by the truth.
Before I begin however, I'd like to remind us of a crucial fact. When those of the 'lighter hue' take up this negative aspect of our culture, they suffer the same dire consequences. However, let us also be real. A young white male who walks down the street with sagging pants and gang colors OFTEN won't be punished, let alone sanctioned. Let a young Black man or young Brown man do the same, and he is flipped up against the hood of the nearest squad car for a pat-down, and a possible beat down. In a tight economy, OUR young people have to be taught that there IS a double standard and be ready to distance themselves from the negative more quickly than they flock to it.
But I digress.
These three areas are places I have been either professionally or as a visitor and have interacted with young people. But let me add a proviso. In a free society, there will be an open marketplace where people may vote with their dollars, and reap with their talents, skills and abilities. Hip-Hop is no more or no less better or worse than any other genre of music available in the marketplace. The problem is that, unlike other genres of music, those who eagerly cling to its wares and message are not initially able to enter the ring of economic competition without massive mental retraining. And, since the average youth that consumes the Rap/Hip Hop brew is programmed with a '...I don't need nothing, I don't need nobody, and I'm out for myself, so move out my way...' message, when they reach 17, 18, or older and are in jail, prison, low wage jobs and attempting to get their GEDs, there is little patience or help available.
The Rap/Hip Hop mind is set for 'scorched earth' in a land of teamwork.
Check out your local schools. That's the first area of our stop. Even in the suburban and rural schools, the mindset has put a mental concrete block on many of OUR young people. You've got 11-12-13 years old boys and girls who are getting placed in alternative education, special education programs, or homebound schooling because they have not only disrespected White authority, but ALL authority. It is getting harder and harder for even Black and Hispanic educators in public and private education to 'deal' with the little darlings after they arrive with the latest offerings from the Hip Hop world in their earbuds. Rules? Meant to be broken. Respect? Goes only out and not in. Academic achievement? Unless it is spoon fed, little is accomplished. Parents and community leaders need to take a reality trip into the local school world for a day and 'check it out'. What is sad? How few adults actually know what is going on in their local schools but who are over-taxed at the polls with the 'cry' for more...and never checking to see where the money is being used, let alone whether or not these young people have enough HOME TRAINING to handle the 'basics' of the education environment, such as keeping their hands to themselves. Fastest rising area of problems in public and private schools? Young BLACK and HISPANIC women who will FIGHT at the drop of a hat!
But let me move on. How about the Juvenile Courts? Oh, yes; like Richard Pryor once said: "You KNOW who runs the jails!" Hip Hop/Rap does, like the films of the bygone gangster ear, encourage the notion that you can 'get rich quick' and not pay any penalties. It used to be that 'crime did not pay'. Thanks to more and more violent videos, you can have your 'lie' and 'eat' it too, all the way to state corrections. More and more of US, at younger and younger ages are learning terms such as 'probation violation' or 'parole officers'. Thanks to the mindset put forth by this music, and it being picked up by the young, plea-bargaining is being learned quicker than their studies.
The last area is the saddest of all. It is the Employment area. Many of our youth, thanks to doing poorly in school, and being involved with the courts, are finding themselves more and more unemployable. Even in the Black and Hispanic communities. What employer is going to take on a young man or young woman who has a criminal record and NO diploma? The GED lie continues to swirl around our youth, and is aided by the Hip Hop genre. Sadly, just like those 'rented' cars and props you see in the videos; just like the diamonds and fake money that you see dripping off of male and female 'stars', in real life, thugs and thugettes (my spelling) can't manage a bank account, can't manage their families, and can't find the church house EVEN to marry their 'baby mama' or 'baby daddy'.
No, my friends, Hip Hop and Rap have a lot to answer for. So do those of us who are ignorant enough to make excuses for full-on fool behavior by those who are sucked up into its message of sex, destruction, ignorance and isolation.
Mike Ramey is the author of THE MANHOOD LINE. A column written for men from a biblical, business, and common sense perspective. It is a syndicated column provided exclusively to various publications. (C) 2007 Barnstorm Communications.
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