Sunday, April 15, 2007

Dropping the N-Bomb

I believe it's called hip-hop:

If people found radio host Don Imus' comments about the Rutger's women's basketball team offensive, why are people at South Carolina State University lining up to hear similar words from rap artists?

In one song from a performer at Friday's concert, the n-word is used more than 100 times...

WIS asked students at on campus about the concert and the lyrics. One student, Kendra Johnson, says, "The radio host was out of line when he said it. Some rap artists may be out of line, but they don't mean no harm."

They may not have meant any harm, though her comment is evidence that someone is having a pejorative influence upon the young lass's ability to speak proficiently. Alternatively, she could merely be a product of the public schools. And don't forget that this young woman is a university student. Education and intelligence are occasionally related, but they are not necessarily so.

More importantly, whether or not someone intends harm is irrelevant. It could be argued, probably fairly easily, that Imus didn't mean harm either. Whether or not he did in fact harm people, and to what extent they were harmed is the issue at hand. The same applies to the hip-hoppers, who likely possess similar good intentions. I think it's fairly obvious that rap music does have a substantial impact on the "black community" and that a good deal of it is not positive. To what extent rap harms blacks in America is a matter for debate.

Last but not least, the double standard in terms of which words can be said by whom has reached staggering proportions. Even were I allowed to do so, I would refrain from using the n-word because it is a stupid word to use, save in reference to Flannery O'Connor's fine story "The Artificial Nigger" which offers a brilliant commentary on race relations in the deep south. Gratuitous use of the epithet is crass and classless, no matter who is making use of the word. The pea shooter of Don Imus isn't doing a fraction of the damage to the "black community" that rappers are doing.

Of course this is just the opinion of a white fellow who doesn't listen to much hip-hop.


Donny said...

watch out for that dreaded double "that"

A Wiser Man Than I said...

I dropped it like it was hot.