D.L. Chandler's frequent thoughts on the world of hip hop and beyond

Friday, January 28, 2005

Young, Not Dumb, Full Of Aplomb

The Inauguration is over and thankfully so; please let me explain why. I had to ride a train in our Nation's Capitol that was full of the snootiest bunch of young white republicans I’ve ever bore witness to. Not knowing my race, background or anything these kids were just ripping foreign cab drivers, the “criminal element" (read: loads of mean black people) and the like. It was so nerve-wracking that I eventually put down my headphones and told them all to, politely, have a warm glass of shut the hell up.

They were shocked, sure, and I generally didn’t care. I don’t mind republicans – as I know an alarming amount of disgustingly loud and out of touch democrats as well. It was the sheer volume and disdain they seemed to display for anyone not in their “world" that had me wanting to kick them all in the throat.

I’ve known a few republicans and conservatives of various hues in my life; they’ve been some of the more civil politically-minded people I’ve come to know. So I don’t have this “us-versus-them" mindset when I discuss those who may be on the right and republican. My issue with the group mentality has always been one of divisive cattiness. It is the very core of partisanship’s many problems. There will always be a middle ground to tread politically.

Former Source editor Bakari Kitwana recently had a discussion on Hip Hop at Texas &AM University. I’m not the hugest fan of his works but I do appreciate him recognizing the very true fact that white youth are not Hip Hop’s primary audience – as that is the usual correlation since white youth buy more of the music than other race groups. But I will say in today’s “must sell a million to be relevant" Hip Hop, the focus on quality beyond quantity is nil. The truth remains: Young people want to shake their asses, pimp in their rides and bop on the train with their walkmans. The message can be inserted, but would it ever get heard?

Speaking of messages, my colleague DaBookman posted a blog about the Hot 97 scandal involving the radio hosts mocking the Tsunami victims by referring to them as “chinks‿ and such. Today, there will be a rally led by New York City councilman John C.Liu. What a disgusting set of events that led them to this point. Morning radio is already quite tasteless and then you have Hot 97. I hope that drive-time morning deejays are forever mindful of the sensitivity of their listeners. There are times were a joke need not be uttered regardless of the impact.

I appreciate college professors like Tracy Everbach of the University of North Texas for their allowing their students and young people alike to display their level of intelligence and social relevance on their terms and not what some white bread generalization is supposed to be. The moment we recognize that the young voters are a lot brighter than they may let on, we can brace ourselves safely when they become the leaders of our world tomorrow.


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