Monday, May 21, 2007
From The New York Daily News...
Thugs make a killing at society’s expense
By Stanley Crouch
When we look back on this era of especially muddled thinking we will celebrate Harlem’s Geoffrey Canada for not being afraid to step out by himself and pin the tail on the donkey of hip hop for aiding and abetting the criminal culture that oppresses so many so-called minorities in our country.
I was most impressed when Canada came out against the way that hip hop celebrates those who refuse to inform on criminals, otherwise known as snitching.
Kansas City journalist Jason Whitlock says of this trend that the most popular hip-hop recordings now promote what he calls “prison values,” or the criminal vision that comes from the dark world behind bars, where the siren song of those who make the streets so mean was once heard most clearly and influentially.
As Canada told Anderson Cooper on television recently, advocating the refusal to cooperate with police is saying something very destructive to black youth.
“It’s like we’re saying to the criminals, you can have our community. Just have our community. Do anything you want, and we will either deal with it ourselves, or we will simply ignore it,” Canada said.
If one looks at the level of urban oppression that is shown in the national rise of homicides committed with guns, Canada must be taken seriously. The black and Latino victims constitute the largest numbers of the murdered. The epidemic rise of murders with firearms in Newark prompted James Ahearn to write, “Typically, shooter and victim are both black, male, young, with arrest records, uneducated, with dim life prospects. The killers act with careless indifference to the enormity of what they have done, or to the likelihood that they in turn will be cut down, in retribution.”
As they display the gilded imbecility of “bling” while riding in the most expensive cars and living in gated communities, the rappers who promote the idea that informing to the police is some sort of sin have become another menace to society.
They have expanded upon their identities as buffoon thug minstrels so that they could now easily be considered the most dangerous Uncle Toms of the moment.
This may be hard for those who can never accept the idea of black people having anything at all to do with their group’s oppression. The young are dazzled by the vulgar finery of the rappers while the black middle class is overly impressed by the riches of these young men.
Once again it is obvious that the civil rights establishment has fallen asleep at the wheel by failing to stand up for the rights of those they purportedly represent. The civil rights establishment should be no more concerned about being called old-fashioned than those whom Southern white racists accused of being “outside agitators” during the 1960s.
Ironically, what we now have is an urban version of the Southern violence that gave such a bloody reputation to the members of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizen’s Council. Gangs like the Crips and the Bloods are exactly the same — ever ready to murder and intimidate the witnesses to their crimes.
Albert Camus once wrote that he preferred to look his fate in the eyes. For too many in the black lower class, their fate is to be murdered, mutilated and brutalized by contemptuous street gangs and by the criminals who have been made into an elite by the worst of hip hop. It is time for all of us to look that fate in the eyes and move to change it by whatever means are as legal as they are necessary.