February 27, 2009

Racism & Hip Hop, then just Racism

Warning: Long, rambly, race. My three favorite things. I'll be back to edit it up some more later on in the day.

So, I mentioned I was attending this seminar about racism, hip hop, and the dreaded "n-word" in a post racial society. And it was great.

Speaking at the seminar was Rosa Clemente (who is now my girl), M1 from Dead Prez, MC Serch of 3rd Bass and VH1 shows fame, Lisa Fager Bediako, and a teacher from our African American Studies department, whose...name I am seriously failing to recall right now. For more info try Rap Sessions.org.

For now let's talk about the seminar. We didn't talk about racism in hip hop so much as we talked about racism with hip hop thrown in. We talked about the term post racial, color blindness, and someone pulled out a "blame blacks for Prop 8" meme, because folks just don't learn. And yes we got to discuss the dreaded N word.

I was impressed by the attendance, first of all. It started out almost full but either the discussion either got too heavy or folks just had class to go to so it started clearing out about 8, unfortunately (it started about 7...30. And lasted till 9). I could give you the make up of the audience but, duh, I told you ETSU is mostly white so it'd be redundant for me to talk about all the white folks there. Of course they want to end racism as well. But there were lots of minority groups reppin', I think I saw our one Latino & Arabic representative. I didn't even know we had one!

I was more impressed with the amount of people that showed up, actually. It was a very interesting "townhouse talk" and we ended up tackling tough things such as America being in a post racial world (we all agreed that it certainly is not), black youth, discrimination against other minority groups such as Latinos (I thank Jeebus Clemente didn't use "hispanics"--really), Obama...lots of Obama and the stimulus package. There was only one mention of that stupid NY Post cartoon (pooost raciiaaal).

When we talked about "post racial" I think everyone pretty much unanimously agreed that we are not and will not ever be in a post racial society--rather, the goal was to be post-racism. Which would be awesome if you can think that positively. MC Serch mentioned that he raises his kids in a sort of "post racial" household but I kinda questioned this post-racial household. MC Serch isn't just "white", I believe he's Jewish & Polish and mentioned that his kids are African-Jewish-Polish-White so he encourages them to be proud of their heritage, which is great, but is that really post racial? I thought what he was getting at was more "post-racism". It's good to be proud of where you come from, of course, but he isn't going to shelter them forever...

We went into black youth & the N word, which mostly came in the form of questions from the audience...one white guy asked if he should be offended by the word "nigger". Um, yes sir, you should, we all should, but M1 gave him a gentler answer and said if he felt offended by his white friends calling him nigga then he should SAY or DO something. Verbs. As we know I have all sorts of drama with my woefully ignorant white male *whew* associates thinking it's okay to call me their nigga. Because I'm their black friend I guess. It must be totally awkward to be white guy having your fellow caucausians calling you a racial slur just because they think its awesome. I mean, y'all know it's still a racial slur right? Right? I think it's interesting. For the record I'd object to my few black friends calling me nigga as well, but strangely enough my black friends have some goddamn sense *scratches head*

We got into discrimination of other groups, Clemente talked about how Latinos, as she so well put it, are officially the new "niggers" of our country. Don't believe that? Hell, I believe it. Nevermind that they're on their way to becoming the largest minority population, we've gone from them damn niggers to them damn spics. Real quick too. They aren't even the lowest ones on the ladder either, which we didn't quite get into, but yeah, I'm reminded of an incident in a McDonald's where a Latino guy was dissing Chinese workers about coming to the country illegally. Then our Dear Family Friend Warren whispered to me that at least the Chinese speak English. Because discriminating against discrimination is pro-duc-tiv.

So we talked about that...I heard on of the better answers for why racism usually focuses so much on black & white, being, as Lisa said more or less, the history of racism against blacks is so deeply ingrained in our country...I'd said Native Americans probably more so than that but I got her point. Strangely I'd never thought of that before. It makes sense, doesn't it, when you take into account all-mighty Slavery. Then a brief mention on how capitalism started with blaaack slaaaves *looks at crashing stock market* You're welcome.

Rosa Clemente, who ran for the Green Party with Cynthia McKinney, obviously had a lot to say about Obama and some of his policies. Not as a diss, of course, (it would have gone with the hip hop theme though) just criticism, and I thought she made a lot of good points about this messy stimulus package. Unfortunately I didn't note a single one of them down, but I do remember her talking about holding our politicians accountable to their promises no matter who you voted for or who got in. It's a good point, never let up on your damn representative when they start pulling shit you don't like.

Uh, towards the end of the night something amazing happened. The floor opened for questions and the guy before me pulled the "but what about prop 8?!" meme. Um, the jist of his question was how can blacks want a post racial society but still vote Yes on 8, making gay marriages in California illegal...again. Rosa & Lisa pulled a "gotcha!" trap by mentioning gay people of color, apparently dude forgot that blacks & everyone else can be gay too (see: The Face of Homosexuality).

Oh, and...let's get this straight once and for all because apparently people still ain't heard: fuck what you read. Blacks did not pass prop 8. We did not we did not we did not. We did not PASS it. Do not blame that shit on us. We are minorities for a reason, if every black person in California got vindictive and decided to vote Yes on 8, it still would not have been enough to pass it all on our lonesomes. If you want the real answer to that, ask your friends.

Yup, we blamed the Mormon Church. It is their fault after all (now you can ask your MORMON friends, if you have any). We blamed lack of education. I think we literally blamed cockiness, that just because black people want this doesn't mean we got your back (air quotes around that whooole sentence) on every little thing. Also, don't get mad.

Personally, gay as I am, I felt like giving dude the smack down a little, but I also felt like giving the smackdown to myself for asking about colorblindness. I asked if it's a solution--and no, no it isn't, not even if you're actually colorblind (like, the physical condition). MC Serch seemed to really jump on my question but really it was more of a cop out question. I knew the answer myself but I just wanted to drive a certain point home. NO COLORBLINDNESS IS NOT THE ANSWER. You can ignore my skin color but that doesn't mean it isn't theeeereee~ silly. Sadly so many seem to think that way and it'd be cute if it weren't so laughable.

And that, my friends, is how I became famous. Yay! I'm a bad ass. No one got cussed out (except MC Serch towards the end...bwaahahaha), no one got cut, no one cried, no riots, proving once again that even the pants sagging black dude with the wife beater and the grill can be downright civil, and some of us genuinely want that elusive "change".

1 comment:




Please share some knowledge. Or amuse me at least :O