Race and Crime (Blaming it on hip-hop)
I saw a disturbing topic on the news yesterday night. One of the higher-ups of the St. Paul police (I believe he was the chief) was blaming several unsolved murders and violent crimes on...hip-hop. His rationale was that hip-hop promotes "anti-snitching"--not telling if you know something about a crime. He claimed hip-hop portrayed the police as the enemy. Although you may be thanked by the police, you will have to deal with the "real law," the law of the streets and you'll probably get hurt/killed for telling.
My issue with this is that the story itself was constructed showing images of black male after black male being searched by the cops or handcuffed but I'm fairly confident that they didn't mention race once as an issue or topic, they successfully avoided it by just saying "hip-hop" and showing pictures of black men. It was a successful attempt at making race similtaneously an issue and a non-issue.
Just like we've discovered a million times before with Marilyn Manson, and countless other genres, songs and artists, it is not the music that makes people violent, silent, etc. it is society. I could easily say there are countless raps about being good citizens, standing up for what is right, etc, but I won't. It isn't the issue. I will say rap is a cultural expression, agency against a dominant power (which hasn't always been fair and just as the cops claim they are being) and creative-expression. The news clip made it seem like hip-hop was part of a glorified gangster way of life and completely neglected many of it's positive attributes. It is just interesting to me how the story manipulated the truth. It didn't mention that the communities could feel silenced not because of rap music, but because both communities in question are poor, inner-city and almost all people of color. With those statistics it is often dangerous to involve authorities, who stayed uninvolved until the violence reached outside the community. Maybe the cops need to re-examine the way they "deal with" the inner-city rather than blame hip-hop. The story really reiterated the fact that there are so many lingering problems between when it comes to justice, race and class, so many ways to manipulate the story and avoid the reality of the situation.