negro-community

Someone look this up.

Has their ever been a case study done on a once enslaved people? What exactly are the effects of such an act? If you bring a human being to a foreign land, hold it captive for years, then release it into society only to then place that same individual upon the bottom step of your nation’s ladder; what would the side effects be? The human spirit is enough to overcome and endure the worst of travesties, as proven by the resilience of many nations; but there are always side effects. This is new territory we’re talking here. A horrific cultural experiment that no one could foresee the exact outcome of.

Flash forward to present day. Have all of the citizens of America finally melted into the fabled “Melting Pot” we love to display in our patriotic kitchen?

While statistics clearly portray a bleaker story for minorities, who still on average matriculate through poorer education systems and earn less than their counterparts; for the most part life has gone. Life may not always be fair; but you adapt and work hard to advance. It’s the American way. Yet incidences like the current Paula Deen controversy often reveal the scarred underbelly of our society; old wounds reopened as we argue among ourselves.

Hip Hop has become an easy scapegoat to many; and in cases like these, a way to deflect attention away from the issue at hand:

“It’s a double standard. If rappers can say it why can’t we?”

To which I ask; why would you even want to? A word once made taboo by the brutal way in which it was forced on us, that in time after growing accustomed to hearing we began to use ourselves. Backwards perhaps; but as I said, there’s always side effects. Not to mention the added insult to injury in assuming that every Black American, rapper or not, even says the word. As my grandmother once told me, “I didn’t get chased by dogs or withstand being hosed down for you to call each other that word.” I fully understand her logic. Yet as an ’80s baby, I came after the Civil Rights Movement. I have no living memories of our fallen leaders, instead my generation witnessed a new type of struggle; the entrance of crack during the Reagan years and the chaos that ensued afterwards. We didn’t participate in sit-ins, instead we put frustration into lyrics and sold these songs to the masses.

The bigger double standard? The largest consumers of Hip Hop, and we’re talking actual album buying consumers here; are young white Americans. And have been. For decades.

Let that marinate.

It’s not a joke when someone tells you that “white people really run hip-hop”, it’s actual fact from the boardroom all the way down to the pressing plant where most of your leaked albums arrive from. It’s not to say there is a cultural divide in consumerism when it comes to rap music but the biggest selling albums of the past decade, starting with 2003’s Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ were purchased by suburban white teens, twentysomething hipsters before they were officially coined that. It’s generational, the same white kids who fell in love with gangsta rap in the 90s and purchased Snoop (Doggy) Dogg albums are now raising the kids who run out and gobble up anything they can get their hands on.

Therein fact lies the problem. It’s not lyrics being recited that are the issue here, that is something everyone has somewhat grown accustomed to in time. No, what we’re discussing here isn’t a song but everyday life. Or a past life that Ms. Deen apparently looks fondly back upon. Less than a year after Django Unchained made us squeamishly bring up the idea of racial authenticity for a film about a slave turned spaghetti western bounty hunter in the antebellum South, Deen figured it would be “cute” for a “plantation wedding”, knowing full well that the word is generally associated with what? You guessed it, slavery.

“Black people are hypocrites. Why can’t we say it? They call us crackers and honkeys.”

Despite what Racheal Jeantel told jurors while on the stand during the Trayvon Martin trial, don’t believe that “crackers” is common slang for blacks against whites. For one, both of these terms seem like they belong in a bad ’70s movie. Dated. Much like another colloquialism “peckerwood”. Nor are they on par with one another.

Case in point; has there ever been a time in America where a Black man could openly call a his white counterpart a “honky” and that white man have to stand there with a smile and utter nothing more than a “Yessuh?” Don’t worry. I’ll wait. Besides, the history of the word “honky” dates back to the 1920s and 1930s as the term blacks used when they saw white men honking and holler at prostitutes as they walked down the street in Harlem.

Common sense dictates which phrases hurt specific races, so again, why would you even want to say it?

You don’t have to understand the reasoning behind its use; hell as a race even we are divided on proper protocol concerning it, but why further perpetuate its use if you feel so strongly about it. If you label an entire race in an effort to demean them, you no longer have a say in how they choose to address one another. Perhaps Bun B said it best “If you’re mad that rappers can say the N-Word but Paula Deen can’t … tell her to start rapping.”