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Final Blog

As a final blog, I wanted to comment on the last full book we read by Keith Boykin. I was impressed with the amount of work that went into digging up all of the facts and statistics that went into Boykin's arguments on the spread of HIV/AIDS and its connection, or lack thereof, to the down low and to African American women. His arguments gave insight into the real important aspects of the transmission of AIDS; it's about protecting yourself, regardless of your partner's status or identity. We need to stop hiding behind labels and labeling other people by accepting the responsibility of talking about sex. Sex education needs to be more than abstinence only and it needs to be a requirement of schools. With better education of EVERYONE and open discussion about sexual acitivities and knowing how to get tested and protect yourself, the whole "down low myth" will disappear, whether or not people still continue to live on the down low. Living on the down low has little to do with the spread of the HIV virus. We need to be advocating for better sex ed. for schools and easier access to protection for safe sex as well as easier access to clean needles. Prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS is a more pressing issue than stopping drug addicts because dirty needles obviously do not stop the addiction. We need to start changing our focus and work to make a difference instead of placing blame.

Comments

Since I can’t start my own topics, I decided to post on this one, even though I am not writing about our final book, it is my final blog post.

I really enjoyed going around the room yesterday talking about what everyone had individually got out of the class and learned during the semester in this course. I feel like I have learned more in this course than others, mainly because I can take all of this to the outside world with me, out of just academics like many of my classes are and use it in daily life.

I don’t ever share articles I read in classes, or chapters I read in other classes with friends or family, but I frequently found myself sharing articles with people and having discussions on them. I have found myself looking up the organizations that Tricia Rose had listed in her book and looking up information on them and also looking for similar books to The Prisoner’s Wife when I go to book stores, as I couldn’t put that book down. She went through experiences that I had never thought of and I really liked seeing her point of view on things.

I learned a lot in this class and I plan on trying to continue learning more on some of the sexual politics of hip hop by continuing to read and going to some of the events on campus. I really enjoyed this class and like how everybody shared their opinions on every topic and how after doing the readings we discussed them pretty in depth, so if there was ever a part I didn’t understand, after the class discussion I understood it much better. I had respect for hip hop before this class, but that was more for just the music aspect of it, but now I have respect for many more things involved in the hip hop generation.

(I can't start my own topic either, and this is my final blog too)

I've really enjoyed the class. For me, the thing I liked the most was thinking about hip hop in a more academic way.

It's easy to point out what's wrong with hip hop (and commercial hip hop), but this class has given me a lot of ideas. I listen to hip hop, and before this class I always felt conflicted about being a consumer of music that can contain such problematic images and messages.

Taking this class made me realize I'm not the only person who feels like that (yes, I know that sounds a little obvious). Hearing about how even commercial hip hop can carry different meanings for different people really made sense to me.

I also have a much wider knowledge of where to find hip hop that is more socially responsible. It's hard when something is underground and you don't know about it - I now have many starting points where I can begin to look for hip hop.

Lastly, before this class I didn't really know how many people wrote about hip hop critically, or did anything to change it. I mean, of course I'm aware of protests and complaints about hip hop, but I'd never really bothered to look at what sort of activism people are getting involved in on a day to day basis to change things in hip hop.

Again, I liked the class, and I think that everyone brought honest and important things up in class - which was really great. Often I feel like in college we just discuss things to death and don't link issues back into our own lives and lived experience.

I want to comment on the comments that were really blogs.

I would like to mention that this class has really exposed my white, heteronormative ass. For the last five years I have been on a path of trying to challenge my undeserved privileges. Thankfully this class has brought me to a deeper understanding of it.

I mentioned in class that I live in north. I have been here for just about a year. I have always been proud of myself for living in a neighborhood that most of my friends (who happen to be white) will not go. Which is totally silly and pompous of me... Anyways, I constantly have to check myself and the thoughts that run through my head on a daily basis. These thoughts seemingly come out of right field for me. I mean, I know they are rooted in my racialize white thinking as a kid but who would have thought they are still alive and strong.

One place were my thoughts thrived was within hip hop. I have always thought hip hop is only about the beat. It also exploits women, reverse money and pimps. Politics of respectability really started to debunk some of those thoughts. Why do I think less of the black guy walking down the street because he is wearing clothes that are four sizes too big for him? Why do I get annoyed/mad at my neighbors upstairs for drinking out on the fronts steps. And why is that annoyance rooted in fear?

For some reason, studying hip hop and all that goes with it, really challenged me on a level I wasn't expecting. I am truly thankful for that!