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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Comments

Peter

You being racist yourself by writing Blacks with capitalize letter and White with lower case letter.

loren

some of the responses seem a little ambiguous, i like to know the the cultural/racial background of the responder so i can try to understand their thoughts and motivations.
i am a white male, 42 years old, retired military, born in ca and all my military service was mostly east coast and overseas.

it may not be a case of the students feeling "justified" by conducting themselves in this manner.
they're young, and regardless of race, culture, religion or just about anything else they're hindered by their relative lack of experience and wisdom.
i made many mistakes after i turned 21.
i ignored friends who were only there to help, i took risks at work (against my better judgement)that resulted in multiple injuries (to myself), i refused to recognize the value of some individuals based on their gender, race and religion.
luckily i existed in a very small community of professionals and was able to not only apologize for my conduct but to use my position to help others be recognized for the value to our community and help further their careers as well.
my actions were never hateful, i never "went after" anyone.
i just chose to ignore the things i didn't want to address.
the sin of omission is not always immediately recognized by the sinner.
it took someone coming to me and complaining about another person's actions for me to realize i was doing the same thing.
that hit me like a ton of bricks and i was never the same.
i confronted the people that i felt i had acted inapropriately towards or had neglected and i made a change.
people everywhere will complain like there's no tomorrow when you tell them they need to be more sensitive towards other's feelings, i used to be one of them.
however, in my experience those hard cases have feelings too.
the change i mademay have made some significant impact in the lives of others, maybe not.
i do know that it made a huge difference in my life.
without the benefit of firsthand knowledge i think that the majority of these students are just really irresponsible, exercising totally bad judgement and are incredibly insensitive towards other ethnic backgrounds.
all ethnicities make fun of others and it can be done humorously and without malice and be enjoyable but the key is for it to be done in context, without hate or malice and in balance.

Me

MLK party? I just dont like black people

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Alec

You do not need to be guilty of anything to plead. Let me explain. 95% of prosecuted cases end in plea bargains. Prosecutors have all the discretion and plenty of power. They bring six counts against you, with mandatory minimums on two of 15 years. Of those six, five can be bogus and one they might have a shot at, even if you are in fact innocent. But you take a huge risk by going to a jury. They will do everything in their power to stack a jury against you. They offer you ten years, in light of the fact that you are looking at a minimum of 15. You plea. THAT is how America's "justice" system works. And the prosecutors go home and relax and have a nice martini and wonder when their next promotion is, whether they will be a judge within five years. And some poor guy rots in a cell for years. When he gets out, he will have limited employment opportunities. He might turn to the illegal market. And the cycle continues.

The truth is that America is addicted to harsh sentences, and we are paying for it. If every criminal case went to trial, the entire judicial system would collapse under the weight of those trials. That means that prosecutors are being overzealous, and going after people that do not deserve it.

yeahisaidit

...so you think that a Black man has to even break the law to get buried by the justice system? Be Black and poor and see how fair the justice system is if you are railroaded...Friday you sound like one of those self righteous holier than thou persons that I hope never finds themself in a situation they can't afford to buy their way out of...and of course (warning, sarcastic tone follows...) rap music is to blame for all the evils in the world...if only black folk would just act right there wouldn't be any problems right? not that black men are above criticism...but damn...oh yeah, please do keep your sympathy because no one wants it...

Well, this is one black man, who loathes "rap music" for the sheer idiocy of the lyrics, the perpetuation of stereotypes and the misogynist way they depict black women. Playing the dozens is the oldest form of rap in my opinion, but, nowhere near this spewing of the garbage under the guise of music around the world. And, this from someone who remembers one of my brothers with old Sugar Hill records , that I thought were great, too bad, it left the premise of talking about social issues, and is now, get yours by any means necessary, other than school and hard work.

As for men in jail, sorry, I don't feel at all bad for them. No matter how hard life is, there is always a way out, and crime isn't it. Anybody with a clue knows that the justice system is set up against black men, and knows that you will get a sentence harsher than anything you would get in China, so, why break the law? Because they don't care and don't want to follow the rules.

"Gangsta Rap music . . . CANDY? Lyrics about drug dealing, Gay-bashing, prostitution and drive-by shootings? What planet are you living on?"

I'm living on a planet where people aren't a bunch of mindless slaves that take a seventh grade dropout's lyrics that seriously. It's entertainment.

Again, why aren't films(starring white men)that glorify the very same things a subject of debate?

"As for your other statements, I grew up around a lot of Black people who used "nigger" casually (but only among themselves, never in front of Whites). I don't use the word casually and never have. How does your theory explain that?"

You're in the minority. It's a fact that people around us have a tendency to shape who we are and what we do. It's no theory, and I didn't state ALL people will do EVERYTHING those around them do.

"How do you know what is or what isn't going on in "the majority" of young people's homes? Your excuses for the sorry state of American culture just don't seem to be based in reality."

Despite what white media will have you believe young black men aren't sitting around taking all of their cues from rappers.

While you tell me that what I'm saying isn't based in reality, you lead me to believe you actually think that if mainstream rap ceased to exist hoods would become Mayberrys. I'm sorry, but I don't buy the idea that Snoop is the problem and not poverty.

Terrence

I agree with you Donald. I think you're on point with your last comment.

Truth of the matter is....everybody is getting some kind of aid and assistance if they look closely.

Also, if a person meets the guidelines for getting assistance, what's the problem? Nothing. The problem arises when people become long-term dependent on such services.

People should NEVER feel ashamed because they receive public assistance. People who knowingly abuse public assistance programs should be ashamed.

Alec

Any discussion of the state of African-Americans and Hispanics that ignores the criminal justice system is a dishonest one. Being convicted of any crime carries real and disastrous consequences. And our prisons are being filled with black men, and increasingly Hispanic men.

This system perpetuates poverty. It reinforces the most dangerous stereotype that whites have: racial minorities, particularly black men, are violent and danerous. Felonies usually have to be disclosed on employment forms. Incarcertaion, despite the claims to the contrary, is not rehabilitative at all.

The sheer scope of this problem bewilders me, and no one seems to care, apart from some civil rights activists and criminal attorneys. This issue is certainly not on the agenda of the new Democratic Congress.

This problem can be undone with the stroke of a pen: end the war on drugs. This "war" on an abstract concept, drug use, has failed, and in its wake it has produced a burdened prison system, intolerable ghettos and racial statistics that make people (at least people like me) cringe. It also facilitates the AIDS epidemic in minority communities. And it will get worse before it gets better.

This is what makes arguments about Knipp and others esoteric and largely besides the point. Americans have been convinced that a "tough on crime" policy works. It appears to be a facially neutral system, so Democrats, minorities and otherwise sane and sober individuals have signed on to disastrous policies. As a result, the criminal justice system is a joke, but a vile one.

So we can talk about racist university parties, racist comedians, the need for education, etc. All of that is moot if 1/3 of all black men are convicted felons, which is where we are headed (we are already there in some age groups). Think long and hard about where the energy of the civil rights movement should be directed.

Stuffed Animal

"Gangsta Rap" music . . . CANDY? Lyrics about drug dealing, Gay-bashing, prostitution and drive-by shootings? What planet are you living on?

As for your other statements, I grew up around a lot of Black people who used "nigger" casually (but only among themselves, never in front of Whites). I don't use the word casually and never have. How does your theory explain that? How do you know what is or what isn't going on in "the majority" of young people's homes? Your excuses for the sorry state of American culture just don't seem to be based in reality.

People are giving music a little too much credit. It's candy.

If someone uses the n-word casually most likely all of the people around them growing up used the term casually.

If a child is more influenced by an artist than the people around them it's only because they're in a horrible situation, and these young people don't represent the majority.

Stuffed Animal

"Rap doesn't make someone believe it's okay to throw around slurs."

I disagree with this statement. I think a lot of teenagers do think casual use of racial and sexual slurs is cool precisely because of the Rap music they listen to.

"I don't believe that Snoop has a bigger influence on a child than the adults they come into contact with on a daily basis and their socioeconomic status."

Again, I disagree. You give adults too much credit for raising their own kids. That's a horrible thing to say, I know, but it's the truth. So many parents nowadays don't parent. I definitely do believe there are situations where it's a Rap music idol (not to mention his lyrics and his behavior in public) that exerts the most influence on a young person's life.

I hope all of the people who want to attack "Gangsta" music are also willing to attack "Gangsta" film and television or the idea that bad is good.

How many young black men have seen Scarface more times than they can count? How many love any and all violent films and television programs or televised sporting events most of which feature white men?

Thug life is and always has been appealing to all people from old westerns to Pac.

Targeting black people who are supposedly poisoning the youth is no different than white people standing in front of crowds years ago ready to burn Little Richard records because it was "evil n-gger music."

Rap doesn't make a young man go out and move coke or rob someone. Rap doesn't make someone believe it's okay to throw around slurs.

What drives youth to do certain things has more to do with their environment and grooming than what they blast. I don't believe that Snoop has a bigger influence on a child than the adults they come into contact with on a daily basis and their socioeconomic status.

Stuffed Animal

I get so tired of hearing the "good Rap music" (which rarely gets played) being used to excuse the ojectionable product (which is played to excess). I live in the inner city, I hear what our young people are listening to, and it sure isn't "the good Rap!" Urban Black, White and Latino youth are being indoctrinated into thug worship by violent, derogatory and sexually explicit lyrics. Does anybody care?

I don't give a damn who's the real target audience for Gangsta Rap, or who buys the most units. That boils down to Black folk trying to lay blame for culture rot on White folk and vice-versa. We go around and around with each other and at the end of the day, nothing is resolved. Later for that! As I stated earlier, there's plenty of blame to go around.

Gangsta Rap/Hip Hop media is, for the most part, a toxic influence on youth and a corruption of our popular culture, and I want to see it regulated much more severely. I'll support anybody who can address the problem effectively, and I don't care what color their skin is.

Cadence

Mimi, the majority of people buying rap music are young White girls. In fact, there are some reports that say they are over sixt percent of the market. Which is why you don't see rappers demeaning them (or their large White male audience) in songs like the freely do with Black women.

Cheril N. Clarke

@Terrence, I stand corrected--thank you.

Donald

I'd just like to know: as someone who is currently receiving public assistance myself, percentages of Black people on public assistance is an indicator of what exactly? Lack of real employment opportunities? Lack of knowledge/skills/abilities? Why does it come as a surprise when Black people receive public assistance at a much higher rate than whites when we're also unemployed at a much higher rate than white people? (And why is it so difficult to figure into conversations like this - conversations that usually confuse rates and percentages - that there are more white people living here than there are Black people?) I can tell you from my own personal experience - in this extremely volatile job market, it doesn't take much to get here.

And what about people who are suffering who, for whatever reason, DON'T receive ANY assistance - public or otherwise? How are they counted?

Mimi

Interesting debate going on now, whew, a good thing! For the poster who stated that the black coworkers were doing the rap thing, sure, some, but, not all blacks are into that form of, "music." The majority purchases are young white men, hence, the reason, I feel they are some comfortable spewing that word, since they hear it as if, its common lingo for anyone who may have black skin.

And, thnaks Terrence for clearing up that welfare thing, and, I would think the numbers are even lower since the rules changed, and you have to work, which, was a good thing, too bad, they didn't make the wages liviable.

Terrence

Cheril N. Clarke said, "You are right. Statistics don't lie and from what I recall, a quarter of African-Americans are on welfare."

-----------------------

Cheril N. Clarke, that is not correct. Between 20-24% of African-Americans live below the poverty line. Everyone who lives below the poverty line does not qualify for public assistance ie. welfare.

When people start talking about welfare, race and percentages it gets really murky. But, in regards to people actually receiving public assistance benefits some 40% of recipients are white while only 37% are Black.

There's a big difference between 37% of all public recipients being Black versus 1/4 of all Blacks being on public assistance.

Cheril N. Clarke

You've got a point.

I think you can tell someone that you are not what they think until you're blue in the face, but they will only change their thoughts when they want to...whenever, if ever that is.

All of us say stereotypical things at one point or another. Republicans stereotype Democrats and vice versa, rich vs. poor, people stereotype blacks, Mexicans, and others, etc. I don't think that stereotypes will ever go away entirely. What I can do for my family is not live up to them (not for the sake of changing other people's minds, but because I don't like the portrayal of ignorance and I don't thrive off negativity. It doesn't excite me.)

Cadence

Cheril N. Clarke, I have to disagree with your statement that the best way to snuff out stereotypes is to not live up to them. Of course people should be themselves, and not try to fit into a category, or conform to negative stereotypes, but the fact is that despite positive gains by Black people, there are some people (bigots) who will always believe that all Black people are uneducated, promiscuious, ignorant, etc. We could list hundreds of Black people who don't fall into that group, but it won't change these people's minds, or lead to them not believing in stereotypes.

Also, Knipp's act isn't anything new. This exaggeration of Black people has gone on forever. This is one of the problems, it is an exaggeration, but some people aren't smart enough to see that.

Stuffed Animal

You're right, Jasmyne, African-Americans and European-Americans (not to mention Latinos) are equally responsible for perpetuating stereotypes. Not only of Black folk, but of poor White folk, Asian and Latino immigrants, women, Lesbians, Gay men, and just about every other group you can think of.

Since the 1990's, American culture has been dangerously in love with stereotypes and negative imagery. Seems to me people nowadays people want to enjoy a taste of the bad old days when racism, sexism and heterosexism were taken for granted and relatively few people complained about stereotyping. Deep inside, we know it's not cool to call ourselves bitches and niggas and queers. We know it's not cool to make fun of people who are different from us, but we LOVE it! It makes us feel bold and edgy, and nowadays, that's the shit.

Thinking of Black people as amoral hustlers and drug addicts and Gay people as sex-crazed deviates is somehow more exciting to our sensibilities. We scornfully denounce positive depictions as "politically correct" (whatever the hell that means anymore). We're attracted to the decadence of degrading ourselves and others. And this mentality is encouraged by opportunistic politicians and the entertainment media, particularly Hollywood and the record industry, who make money off of exploiting our love of decadence.

I'm currently sitting in a computer break room at my job. My Black co-workers in the kiosks next to mine are downloading rap music filled with misogny and homophobia and enjoying online rap videos with insulting depictions of Black women AND men. This goes on every day. Seems like I'm the only person in the room who ever gets offended.

What planet is this? Regardless of skin color and/or sexual orientation, I don't recognize my brothers and sisters anymore. Their barbaric tastes and behavior are alien to me. As a nation, our values are totally screwed up! There's plenty of blame to go around. I'm just waiting for the day when we begin to promote the best in ourselves rather than the worst, no matter who we are. I'm waiting, but I ain't holding my breath.

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