why the fight for equality is lost in america

13 Nov

You only have to spend 5 minutes watching music television to know that any chance of an empowering welfare model for the US is impossible.

When one of the nation’s most disenfranchised social groups – the African Americans – have so completely sold themselves to capitalistic excess, surely all hope is lost? The dominant culture within America’s black community is one of vulgar expressions of wealth. Expensive trainers, designer threads and all the “bling” one can physically carry are its uniform. There is no mass-movement toward equality – America’s black cultural leaders have surrendered to a status quo of inequality for the under-class, and are happy to fill the purses of Adidas, Reebok, Courvoisier, Gucci, and Prada, while the forgotten lose themselves in a haze of crack and a melee of gunfire.

Of course Rap music is one of the major propagators of this culture. Once the voice of the angry street, a social movement demanding that the world listens to the plight of black America, Rap has become a vehicle for the degradation of woman, the promotion of violence, and a brand of aggressive marketing where even the rappers themselves have their own line in clothing. You know big business has won when Old Skool rappers do Christmas ads for GAP.

We have seen the state of black America. Hurricane Katrina, when it ransacked New Orleans, ripped back the skin of American society to expose a festering cancer that is institutionally ignored by the media. America watched on its television screens as thousands were cooped up for the night in the Louisiana Superdome. Their homes and possessions lost. A nation looked within itself, and promised to address the gargantuan gap between the rich and the poor. But soon the people of New Orleans were forgotten as the media moved on, and the middle-classes returned to a state of blissful ignorance. Meanwhile, black America suffered in silence again.

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14 Responses to “why the fight for equality is lost in america”

  1. simos.email@gmail.com November 14, 2007 at 10:42 am #

    Rap and Hip Hop used to be great, and still is when it is about more than money, whores and gold.As the piece in your link says, it’s all about showing how successful you are, but in the wrong way. You can rob or you can work, it doesn’t matter as long as you have the chicks and bling.

  2. simos.email@gmail.com November 14, 2007 at 10:42 am #

    Rap and Hip Hop used to be great, and still is when it is about more than money, whores and gold.As the piece in your link says, it’s all about showing how successful you are, but in the wrong way. You can rob or you can work, it doesn’t matter as long as you have the chicks and bling.

  3. me@me.com November 14, 2007 at 1:25 pm #

    Hm, is this satire? It’s so hard to be sure…

  4. me@me.com November 14, 2007 at 1:25 pm #

    Hm, is this satire? It’s so hard to be sure…

  5. aaronsheath@gmail.com November 14, 2007 at 1:46 pm #

    Meh,Why would it be satire?

  6. aaronsheath@gmail.com November 14, 2007 at 1:46 pm #

    Meh,Why would it be satire?

  7. tjd1979@gmail.com November 17, 2007 at 5:28 pm #

    Come on, it’s a bit much to say an entire social group has “completely sold themselves”. Think over what you’re implying a bit more, which I think is the source of Meh’s comment.The same goes for hip hop. Check out Stones Throw Records, for example, who are both commercially successful and putting out high quality, erudite material on a regular basis — and nothing that could be considered vulgar or promoting “bling culture”.

  8. tjd1979@gmail.com November 17, 2007 at 5:28 pm #

    Come on, it’s a bit much to say an entire social group has “completely sold themselves”. Think over what you’re implying a bit more, which I think is the source of Meh’s comment.The same goes for hip hop. Check out Stones Throw Records, for example, who are both commercially successful and putting out high quality, erudite material on a regular basis — and nothing that could be considered vulgar or promoting “bling culture”.

  9. aaronsheath@gmail.com November 17, 2007 at 6:00 pm #

    Hey Tom,Maybe it is a stretch to equate the state of equality in the US with mainstream rap, and, I’m sure there are some genuine spokespersons among the dross that permeates the chart. I know the comedian, Chris Rock, also uses his profile to speak out. And, don’t get me wrong, I love some of the early Hip Hop/Rap (including – I must admit – white-boys Beastie Boys, esp. Paul’s Boutique), and some of the Snoop and Dr. Dre stuff (although I’m no expert). I have some NWA CDs somewhere, too. I refer to the bling-rappers, who do, I maintain, provide a horrendous example of conspicuous consumption to Black youth.I will indeed check out Stones Throw Records. Thank you.

  10. aaronsheath@gmail.com November 17, 2007 at 6:00 pm #

    Hey Tom,Maybe it is a stretch to equate the state of equality in the US with mainstream rap, and, I’m sure there are some genuine spokespersons among the dross that permeates the chart. I know the comedian, Chris Rock, also uses his profile to speak out. And, don’t get me wrong, I love some of the early Hip Hop/Rap (including – I must admit – white-boys Beastie Boys, esp. Paul’s Boutique), and some of the Snoop and Dr. Dre stuff (although I’m no expert). I have some NWA CDs somewhere, too. I refer to the bling-rappers, who do, I maintain, provide a horrendous example of conspicuous consumption to Black youth.I will indeed check out Stones Throw Records. Thank you.

  11. tjd1979@gmail.com November 17, 2007 at 6:25 pm #

    Thanks for the response. Certainly, you’re right about the pernicious effects of bling rappers.But even today, to use the example you cite with regard to Katrina, it was the one of the biggest hip hop stars, Kanye West, who spoke out publicly against Bush’s response. Nas has a track criticising Condoleeza Rice. I could go on.The right loves to focus on the side of rap you discuss as entirely defining black America (focusing on the bling/whores culture without the criticism of capitalism), but you’re really playing their game by equating that with black American culture as a whole.

  12. tjd1979@gmail.com November 17, 2007 at 6:25 pm #

    Thanks for the response. Certainly, you’re right about the pernicious effects of bling rappers.But even today, to use the example you cite with regard to Katrina, it was the one of the biggest hip hop stars, Kanye West, who spoke out publicly against Bush’s response. Nas has a track criticising Condoleeza Rice. I could go on.The right loves to focus on the side of rap you discuss as entirely defining black America (focusing on the bling/whores culture without the criticism of capitalism), but you’re really playing their game by equating that with black American culture as a whole.

  13. aaronsheath@gmail.com November 17, 2007 at 6:31 pm #

    Now Kayne West, that guy can sing.I could go on.I’m sure you could. But the important thing is that I need to go and FIND the rappers who do fight for black rights. As you admit, though, a great deal of them are utterly detached from the plight.Thanks for your comments. Always happy to be corrected.

  14. aaronsheath@gmail.com November 17, 2007 at 6:31 pm #

    Now Kayne West, that guy can sing.I could go on.I’m sure you could. But the important thing is that I need to go and FIND the rappers who do fight for black rights. As you admit, though, a great deal of them are utterly detached from the plight.Thanks for your comments. Always happy to be corrected.

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