Hip-Hop’s New House Rules

“See the things that irritate me about race and color is it seems a lot more colored people are racist than whites now. It seems as of years of feelings from colored people regarding racism is now turning into them being racists and not white people anymore. I am a white guy with a lot […]

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“See the things that irritate me about race and color is it seems a lot more colored people are racist than whites now. It seems as of years of feelings from colored people regarding racism is now turning into them being racists and not white people anymore. I am a white guy with a lot of black friends and we talk about this all the time. Nothing is owed to the people of NOW, they were not affected by things that happened a long time ago, so why are the feelings of mistakes by white people held to such a degree of hate and it does not allow anyone to move forward.”

TL, a reader of illseed’s rumors

Hip-Hop was built by Black people. Now, that is something I want to state up front only for clarity’s sake. That’s not a braggadocios statement – it just is. So, let us be clear – Black people created this art and, as it went grew and gained momentum, others became apart of it. Some of these people were early bird visionaries, others were late, but eventually it became the multiracial melting pot we see today. That being said, Hip-Hop, as revolutionary as it is, is not the Civil Rights Movement.

When purported “outsiders” entered the Civil Rights Movement, some were generally people with a genuine interest in the overall well being of “Negroes,” who at the time were subjected to all sorts of injustices from a lack of voting rights to safe living conditions to violent racist acts to discrimination. Others merely had an interest in maintaining the integrity of the Constitution and the accompanying laws of the land. Many were young, devoted, vigilant, and at least on some level – sympathetic to the Black struggle. These White people often endured horrific conditions themselves and were victims of brutality and even murder.

Times have changed.

Unlike the Civil Rights Movement, the typical non-Black Hip-Hop fan (or the Black fan for that matter) doesn’t concern themselves with the politics of race like their 60’s counterparts. They have finally achieved equality, in that the word n#### is distributed equally among the whole culture. In fact, if Hip-Hop was considered a house, you could say these newer representatives comes into the house with no real historical reference for both the word, and the conditions attached to it’s usage. Those times are considered relics; old news.

I’ve witnessed the racial dynamics of America in my own way. In the 80’s, I saw a disproportionate amount of Black children shepherded to Special Ed classes(guilty only of having bad parents) and prevented from having a quality education, so when my parents moved me out of certain classes – I knew something was up. Later, I would see the KKK rear an uglier form of racism locally. Racism was always a black cloud that partially blocked the sun’s brightest rays.

Nowadays, I see a changing face in Hip-Hop. Gone are the fresh, White friends I had grown up with on Run DMC, the Fat Boys, Boogie Down Productions and Public Enemy. Gone are the days of intellectual discourse. Gone are the days of the educated consumer. Now we have a cult of victimhood. Now, in the era of political correctness, we have a situation where it’s impolite to bring up the issues that actually helped fuel the beginnings of Hip-Hop.

These days, I have been called a racist more times than I’m comfortable with for merely raising the topic of race. I’ve been called racist even though it’s quite normal for a White person to call me a n#### (or n#####) in my face, a hate word that has been Optimus Primed into one of endearment. Now, I am a n##### if you love me, and a n##### if you hate me. Go Figure?

Stranger, as my reader so eloquently stated, some Black people are now considered racists without even taking into consideration the violent and discriminatory history of America towards our people, including the destruction of our family, the truncation of association with our history and lineage, and the refusal of this country to grant us the rights as citizens while we pay the same taxes and work as hard as anyone else. What these outsiders forget, is that we let you come into our house. Even though some of you use the “N-word” more than we do. Even though some of you aren’t concerned with our people, only bobbing your head to our music. Even though Hip-Hop music constantly bears witness to the self-hatred, rampant social dysfunction, drug issues, misogyny and a laundry list of other woes.

“Our status is the saddest so I care where you at, Black” – Chuck D, “Louder Than A Bomb”

More recently, I’ve been suppressing feelings of pseudo hatred towards my own Black people. Saddest of all, some of what can be said about so-called “outsiders” can also be applied to so-called “insiders,” who I still deem sell-outs. These are the Black people that only support the degenerative parts of Hip-Hop, while the White guys at the famed Black August concert recite dead prez lyrics word-for-revolutionary-word. (In fact, these people even buy the music like the 90% buying power of the mainstream audience.) These are the Black folk that couldn’t care less that their kinfolk and fellow humans were washed out of their homes and lives during Hurricane Katrina. These people know the staggering statistics of AIDS in the Black community; yet keep it business as usual.

Perhaps most disheartening is that these Black people are unresponsive to the preservation of the music that feeds so many families, employs so many people, and has sparked the rise of a new class of millionaire, both Black and White. None of them care, I do declare. Whether you are Black or White, this is a house – the house of Hip-Hop.

If you visit somebody’s home, you need to know and respect the social mores of the culture and the people in that culture. I’m not going to enter a Jewish or Muslim home and request a ham sandwich. You are inside this house at our grace and are welcome participants. But the laws of the crib are organic and some of the amendments are immutable concerning the creators and maintainers of the culture. The way you feel in the confines of Hip-Hop, is how minorities feel under the yoke of America. The difference is you can leave Hip-Hop at will, but we can’t (or refuse to) leave the house.

If you enter my home and tell me that its inappropriate for me to think that slavery still impacts my community, you must educate yourself or get out. While others in the house might allow you to call them a n#####/n####, I don’t. I’ll ostracize you if you refer to me as such. Inside the house is plenty of wrangling and we don’t need more division from those that simply don’t concern themselves with people inside it.

And I’d rather see it burn to the ground than it for it to become a dilapidated shack.

This is our voice. This is our network. And this is how we communicate, style and interact on our terms – for better or worst.

(Part 2, I will address the older Black Generation that kicked us out of their house and now want to tell us how to act in the house we built for self.)