No. 17, January 12-18 | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

No. 17, January 12-18

<b><u>Strutting Across the Stage</b></u>

I had not anticipated incurring the wrath of Mr. Kamikaze by my offhand remark about rap, but since he has become enraged, ("Disrespecting Rappers," Jan. 5-11. 2006), I suppose I should look for some redeeming quality in his genre.

Well. … Some of it has a good beat, though vacant musically and lyrically. I confess my ignorance of the genre, hearing it only when forced to by blaring car radios of low riders pulling up beside me.

It also provides extremely remunerative employment for a segment of the population often referred to as "gangsta." It offers the untalented an opportunity to strut across the stage, droning on about bitches and motherf**kers in pseudo-English, but this may simply be the rant of an old geezer that time and culture have passed on by.

Or it may be that the genre has found an untapped market for their special brand of showmanship among the young, mostly male, macho-yearning audience that wants to treat women as objects to be used and discarded, and extols violence as the preferred method of problem solving. Putting a cap in someone's ass may not be the best way to negotiate, except into the joint long term.

I do apologize for the inference that rap infects the minds of gullible youth to the exclusion of other negative influences. Blaming is not my game; solutions are. That is why we cannot either blame parents or look to them for solutions. If they could have done a better parenting job I'm sure they would have. They didn't because they couldn't, so there is no point in simply targeting them.

We would rather target the politicians and the educational system for their failure to address the problems of our youth. Children who begin to fail in elementary and middle school are lost by the time they reach high school, and the schools lack the money and energy to intervene. Too often schools actually push those children toward the exit once they demonstrate antisocial or disinterested behavior. This system needs radical change to ensure that all children are taught to love reading, writing and science.

Rap gives its young fans something that belongs to them, a world view they can relate to in a very personal way. I acknowledge that rap has value to its target audience as well as to those who produce it. But some of it is certainly antisocial and destructive to young minds forming attitudes toward others in their environment and themselves. The real question is then, can this genre be used to help kids instead of leading them down a self-destructive path? Can it help to keep them in school, avoiding drugs, unpregnant, and working toward goals that reflect a responsible, decent future?

If Mr. Kamikaze truly believes in hip-hop, my suggestion is that he and his colleagues develop a program for failing children that they point to with pride, and that will command the respect of the larger community.

Previous Comments

ID
71226
Comment

“I do apologize for the inference that rap infects the minds of gullible youth to the exclusion of other negative influences. Blaming is not my game; solutions are. That is why we cannot either blame parents or look to them for solutions. If they could have done a better parenting job I’m sure they would have. They didn’t because they couldn’t, so there is no point in simply targeting them” Blaming is not your game, yet you continue in doing just that regarding rap/ hip-hop. We most certainly should blame the parents if they are not accountable, and it is my opinion that most of the troubled youths in Jackson parents are not!

Author
K RHODES
Date
2006-01-11T20:04:39-06:00
ID
71227
Comment

like that buy that, 24's ride that,ladies gentlemen gangsta and pimps. The other day i was sitting on block with my thang cocked and sittin on a drop and realized that rap is kind of fun to hear to as long as you don't "listen "to it and by it i mean the majority of the stuff played on 97.7 is aimed at gangsta rap and shakin your applebottom. I compare gangsta rap of today to the new breed of athletes in all pro sports. As in Pay me before i do anything i don't need to prove myself. NWA and michael jordan had to prove themselves before they got paid. I think the blame is placed on the people that buy it, as long as you pay people for singing about it they are going to sing about it, because those platinum and diamond grills aren't free, and they aren't real either. Not to say that all rap/hip-hop is aimed at this mentality, but i believe it is in the majority, so drop it drop it to the floor spin it like some stop n go's and let us know what you really think about it.

Author
*SuperStar*
Date
2006-01-12T12:04:31-06:00
ID
71228
Comment

You gotta be careful about sitting on a block with your thang cocked these days, ever since they passed that law. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-01-12T12:15:27-06:00
ID
71229
Comment

Good apology. Freelance took the blame off parents and put it square on the shoulders of the poor educational system where it should be, which was designed to push kids away from school anyway, in my opinion. Parents can only do so much between work and homelife and it's up to the schools to meet them halfway and they haven't. Now you have legions of kids dropping out and just plain bored with school for various reason, mainly curricullum in my opinion. Also, teachers aren't motivated to teach these days on top of being humiliated with the mere peanuts they earn to teach. If teachers got paid like pro athletes and entertainers, Freelances' ignorance of Hip Hop as the cause would diminish even further. Hip Hop is just a genre music we prefer to listen to and party off of. I certainly don't take anything they say serious enough to make me drop out of school, but I do understand their frustration. KRoads- I have to disagree with your last comment. I believe most of the parents are there because Jackson is very family based, they just have their hands full with the rigors of daily life and can't do enough as freelance pointed out. However, economics is also a big part of the problem. verdict > Hip Hop, not guilty.

Author
JSU
Date
2006-01-12T12:39:20-06:00
ID
71230
Comment

JSU – “Freelance took the blame off parents and put it square on the shoulders of the poor educational system where it should be, which was designed to push kids away from school anyway, in my opinion. Parents can only do so much between work and homelife and it's up to the schools to meet them halfway and they haven't. Now you have legions of kids dropping out and just plain bored with school for various reason, mainly curricullum in my opinion. Also, teachers aren't motivated to teach these days on top of being humiliated with the mere peanuts they earn to teach. If teachers got paid like pro athletes and entertainers, Freelances' ignorance of Hip Hop as the cause would diminish even further. KRoads- I have to disagree with your last comment. I believe most of the parents are there because Jackson is very family based, they just have their hands full with the rigors of daily life and can't do enough as freelance pointed out. However, economics is also a big part of the problem.” Well, I hold firm to my statement. Being a parent is a full time responsibility, and parents that “can do but only so much” should not have chosen to become parents! It is not a schools responsibility to parent ones child! I’ll agree in regards to the public educational system in this country being vastly flawed, but I don’t agree that said flaws correlate with children misbehaving or becoming societal liabilities. I believe it’s the parents that aren’t meeting the schools half-way. If parents are not concerned with their child’s education, of which I believe to be true regarding the majority of failing JPS students, then that child will most likely not succeed no matter how great the individual school he or she attends. As for teachers, I certainly agree they deserve to be paid much more, but to call their earnings humiliating warrants their having chose teaching as a career without being aware of all that being a teacher embodies.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2006-01-12T14:12:21-06:00
ID
71231
Comment

As offensive and objectionable, one may find hip-hop/rap, in my view the “buck” stops with the parents! In a previous post, I specifically pointed to rapper Snoop’s advocating gang culture. My doing so was a result of having viewed him on a television program stating that the media doesn’t give him due credit for the positive he does, namely his youth football league. I took issue with Snoops’ hypocrisy because the host didn’t.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2006-01-12T15:18:34-06:00
ID
71232
Comment

Well, I hold firm to my statement. Being a parent is a full time responsibility, and parents that “can do but only so much” should not have chosen to become parents! To procreate is a human instinct. Our mere nature drives us to breed regardless of if we can afford it or not. Back in the Biblical days before money was created and health and human services was established, mankind had kids. they could only do so much, but I'm thankful they did that or my mom and dad wouldn't have made it here to make me. This is one off the many things God has ordained us to do. Continue the species.... It is not a schools responsibility to parent ones child! I’ll agree in regards to the public educational system in this country being vastly flawed, but I don’t agree that said flaws correlate with children misbehaving or becoming societal liabilities. I believe it’s the parents that aren’t meeting the schools half-way. Again, I disagree because parenting is not the issue. You're demonizing an entire generation of parents who, in Jackson, tend to raise their kids with great personalities and good hearts. kids who are good kids. But as with all kids(I was one, so were you) you have to keep them interested in what you are doing when mom and dad aren't around. I never met a 13-14 yr. boy that conducted himself like a man around me, never. I had to show him how a man acts when he's around me and hopefully he carries that with him. but it doesn't stop there, the next man he runs into (Mr. Teacher) has to relay that same passion and love for him so he can continue to build on it, returning back home to tell mom and dad how his day went. Ever seen an unfinished highway? I have. why is that? the construction guys stopped working on it, that's why. think about it. If parents are not concerned with their child’s education, of which I believe to be true regarding the majority of failing JPS students,then that child will most likely not succeed no matter how great the individual school he or she attends. Where's Mr.Teacher's accountability for that child while on his watch? As for teachers, I certainly agree they deserve to be paid much more, but to call their earnings humiliating warrants their having chose teaching as a career without being aware of all that being a teacher embodies. Teaching is one of the higher percentage jobs to have in Mississippi. We don't have much more industry than that. In my opinion, A good number of people who teach just don't want to be teachers. so they tend to babysit the kids instead of embracing them.

Author
JSU
Date
2006-01-12T17:04:50-06:00
ID
71233
Comment

JSU, surely you’re kidding? You can procreate all you like, and as a result of said procreation if you can’t financially afford to take proper care of your resulting kid(s) or your not willing to ultimately and solely be held accountable for your resulting kid(s), don’t then burden the rest of society as a result of your divine urging procreate! A thirteen year-old boy that has good accountable parents would not need you or anyone else to “show him what it is to be a man”! “Great personalities” and “good hearts” aren’t synonymous with being good accountable parents. If you were referring to the accountability of teachers from an educational standpoint, then I agree good teachers seem to be in the minority currently. Interestingly, 20/20 airing tonight, will have a special report titled, “Stupid in America: How We Cheat Our Kids", it will examine rather American kids are simply stupid or are the schools failing them.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2006-01-13T15:31:20-06:00
ID
71234
Comment

The problem with that logic, K, is that having a "good" society isn't just about who is to blame. The truth is, some parents are always going to be screwed up. Often, it is because of things done to them outside their control. And so on. And so on. I think the important point is not to always (or only) point finger at parents, teachers, politicians or anyone else. Everyone of us should consider ourselves responsible for the children of our society. For instance, if I vote for and support policies that hurt children (like "No Child Left Behind" or stupid zero-tolerance policies or underfunding education), then I am partially responsible for the results of those policies. I really *hate* the blame-parents mantra because, typically, it is stated by someone trying to abdicate their own responsibility. This isn't a multiple-choice exam here.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-13T15:42:08-06:00
ID
71235
Comment

Also, everytime I hear the rhetoric about kids' problems being solely the responsibility of their parents, it mades me very sad to think that we're supposed to give up on kids with "bad" parents and then fill the prisons with them or something. Count me in as one of the village people. God knows, had some folks outside my parents (two alcoholic dads and an wonderful-but-illiterate mother who had many health and other issues) not stepped in and tried to help me, I could have turned out very differently.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-13T15:52:59-06:00
ID
71236
Comment

KRhodes- If you were to have a kid while economic times are good (when you could afford one as you claim) and then an inflation hike happens via Greenspans' constant interest rate hikes, there is nothing you can do except to do what you can to maintain your standard of living. You can't just go turn your kid in to the local foster care if dire situations arise. That's cowardice and selfish not t mention negligent. That's what I meant when I referred to "being able to afford a child or or not". I don't advocate baby booming when you can't afford it, I'm merely stating that having kids and being able to insure an economic future for them don't always coincide in the growth of that child. Never did, never will. that's why the old cliche' still rings true... "A better life is never guaranteed." the human nature to breed is stronger than any manmade law. A thirteen year-old boy that has good accountable parents would not need you or anyone else to “show him what it is to be a man”! “Great personalities” and “good hearts” aren’t synonymous with being good accountable parents. These attributes have to stem from somewhere. and Jacksonian parents inherently possess these qualities in my opinion. the problem they face is when they leave the house. You're giving 13yr. olds their "I'm a Man" card too soon if you think that all they need is what they got at home to make it out here. you're wrong. and that's the same attitude teachers have in Jackson. "It's not my kid, I just work here", then immediately point fingers at the parents who mostly likely work 2 jobs even with a degree and don't have the help at home(and at school) to keep everything togehter. Stupid in America: How We Cheat Our Kids", it will examine rather American kids are simply stupid or are the schools failing I bet it proves the educational system is failing them. I think this is the story where they compare American students to European students. the European kids are killing ours in progress statistically. it's an all out shame.

Author
JSU
Date
2006-01-13T16:23:29-06:00
ID
71237
Comment

I can not agree with a logic of which society advocates any and everyone have children and if the parents are screwed up all of said society must then be forced into being accountable! Certainly if a child has been born of ill equipped parents society will be held responsible to a greater or lesser degree because ultimately the child is an innocent victim. There will never be an equal and fair society if the majority of said society advocates there not being individual accountability where certain issues are concerned. “KRhodes- If you were to have a kid while economic times are good (when you could afford one as you claim) and then an inflation hike happens via Greenspans' constant interest rate hikes, there is nothing you can do except to do what you can to maintain your standard of living. You can't just go turn your kid in to the local foster care if dire situations arise. That's cowardice and selfish not t mention negligent. That's what I meant when I referred to "being able to afford a child or or not". JSU, as you should know our debate isn’t centered on unforeseen instances of apocalyptic circumstances.

Author
K RHODES
Date
2006-01-13T17:15:06-06:00
ID
71238
Comment

K, I think we're talking about different things. I don't like the word "accountability" because that implies being sued, or going to jail or such. To me, it's rather common sense that it is up to all of us to help take care of the "least," of the most needy in society. To me, that's the most basic morality you can get to. And it's rather biblical, for those who choose that route.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-13T17:24:31-06:00
ID
71239
Comment

K RHODES: I can not agree with a logic of which society advocates any and everyone have children and if the parents are screwed up all of said society must then be forced into being accountable! And on Yggdras, the Blue-Yellow Planet in Alpha Centauri, I'm sure our mere refusal to become accountable for children who are not properly taken care of would actually solve the problem. But here on Earth, it just makes the problem worse. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-01-15T08:54:12-06:00
ID
71240
Comment

And I agree with Donna on the word "accountability." This is not about whose fault it is. Since we can all agree that isn't the kids' fault, then it stands to reason that they shouldn't be punished for their parents' transgressions, or those of the broader culture. And that means somebody has to pick up the slack. Saying that it's not our problem will only ensure that the slack doesn't get picked up at all. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-01-15T08:57:32-06:00
ID
71241
Comment

I'm sure our mere refusal to become accountable for children who are not properly taken care of would actually solve the problem. But here on Earth, it just makes the problem worse. I should simply change one word in your sentence, K—"accountable" to "help"—and then I agree with your conclusion wholeheartedly. Again, the word "accountability" is typically used by people seeking blame. I am more interested in stopping the problems by any means necessary, and helping everyone involved along the way. Otherwise, we end with a society with the same problems and a lot of finger-pointing. Oops! That's what we live in now. That's working great.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-15T12:36:37-06:00
ID
71242
Comment

BTW, even though I too believe that Dr. Gregory was too quick to stereotype hip-hop artists above, and focus on their negative influences and not their positive, I do think the following paragraph is brilliant: I do apologize for the inference that rap infects the minds of gullible youth to the exclusion of other negative influences. Blaming is not my game; solutions are. That is why we cannot either blame parents or look to them for solutions. If they could have done a better parenting job I’m sure they would have. They didn’t because they couldn’t, so there is no point in simply targeting them. I can't say it any better than that. I like the "no point"—the truth is, if you want to fix things, you don't simply look for folks to blame or to hold "accountable." That's what the types of people who simply look at people in a black-or-white, actionable-or-not kind of way do. And it doesn't *solve* a damn thing.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-15T12:41:19-06:00
ID
71243
Comment

Interestingly, 20/20 airing tonight, will have a special report titled, “Stupid in America: How We Cheat Our Kids", it will examine rather American kids are simply stupid or are the schools failing them. I saw it and recorded it, and to me the report was 50% truthful and 50% biased. I agree that there is an issue with some teachers who help their students cheat or ignore problems with reading. I don't think that the US should be compared to Belgium, though. How much do the two countries really have in common? What issues and past difficulties have they shared? What about population size, cultural makeup, etc.? Also, if the school districts did away with zoning, wouldn't that perpetuate de facto segregation?

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-01-15T22:46:57-06:00
ID
71244
Comment

Yeah, makes about as much sense as comparing Jackson to, say, Madison. I really hate lazy thinking.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-15T22:51:12-06:00
ID
71245
Comment

My argument has been only in opposing JSU’s opinion that all individuals procreate with total and reckless abandonment even if said individuals are ill equipped in properly caring for children and was never that of rather society should assume responsibility for the resulting children. All of society is being burden with problems that have all too preventable origins because there is segment of society that encourages those individuals creating said problems in not accepting responsibility!

Author
K RHODES
Date
2006-01-16T02:46:21-06:00
ID
71246
Comment

My argument has been only in opposing JSU’s opinion that all individuals procreate with total and reckless abandonment even if said individuals are ill equipped in properly caring for children and was never that of rather society should assume responsibility for the resulting children. All of society is being burden with problems that have all too preventable origins because there is segment of society that encourages those individuals creating said problems in not accepting responsibility! I think the point JSU was trying to make has to do more with naturally occurring sexual desires, in which people tend to think with their lower halves while "in the moment". I do believe in self-control and looking deep before you leap, but even some of the strongest people have slipped up. So, rather than sewing on scarlet letters, we should still be merciful and help out when absolutely necessary. Sure, some are looking for a free ride, but we can't ignore them all because of a faulty few. If the baby's here now, you can't let him or her starve because of what the parents may have done (not saying you would do that). After all, that very same child may one day grow up to be a true public servant who shows love because someone else showed him or her love. ...judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! - James 2:13 (NIV)

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-01-16T10:58:37-06:00
ID
71247
Comment

well dubois says that the majority of people often do what the current dictates. meaning some people will naturally float, some will naturally sink and the majority will go with the flow. so if the current was to lift them up they would rise. if the current goes down so will they. now with that being said, i make rap music and honestly i really dont like much of it. groups like little brother will never sell as many records as "fiddy cent" because "fiddy" appeals not only to the screwed up way many black people view themselves but also to the screwed up way that many whites think of us as well. so does rap contribute to many of these problems? YES it does! BUT so does a poor education and poor parenting and poor families and a lack of an involved leadership to ease these problems. so of course rap is a part of the problem. but bigger problems created what the rappers rap about. so by disrespecting rap youre only curing the symptoms and not the disease. and thats the truth sho-nuff hehehehehehehe now tell kamikaze i said that!!!

Author
skipp
Date
2006-01-17T10:02:50-06:00

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