The interesting part of life is that it is not the set of circumstances that you are given that matters, but your response to them. Give the same pressures and same type of opportunities to ten people and you will get ten different reactions. The pressures and opportunities may be identical, but the responses will differ, and in that sense, by living life, you learn quite a bit about yourself. —Susan Miller
Yeah I’m tired of Skippy by now but this dust-up has been so revealing on so many levels. Soon he may wish he’d just kept his mouth shut. Thank goodness the readers of this blog are such an intelligent group and the ones who respond usually provide a wealth of knowledge. I appreciate the challenge at keeping up with you. I think we should start our own critical thinking/social criticism school or something, but I digress. A blogger reminded me of Skippy’s support of 2 Live Crew during their obscenity trial. I know viewing it from a distance without any analysis it may have appealed to the typical African-American emotional reaction of the “white man trying to take the black man down” but it was in fact one of the last ditch efforts at policing aberrent behavior.
If you recall that trial was in 1990 and it was before the onslaught of the filth to come via the gangsta rap and other perverted music with their accompanying videos that would then be played during the day when kids could watch them instead of being listed as adult content and relegated to midnight airings as they had been. It would have affected retailers being able to sell their music and would have given all record labels pause about what type of music acts they would be able to sign. I am also reminded of the fight C. Delores Tucker put up to stem the tide even while she was vilified.
I find it very telling that the RIAA, the same one that cries foul of the “illegal downloaders” actually DEFENDED them and filed a Friend of Court Brief on their behalf. This LA Times article states it was the argument between ANYTHING GOES vs. ENOUGH ALREADY. The group was acquitted but the jury’s contention was their lyrics were akin to parody because that was how black people communicated. There was this rush to defend this group or dismiss their lyrics as part of the larger “black culture” of the “black community”. The argument they are quintessentially black, that black women exist solely to satisfy violent sexual desires or that their lyrics are funny is part of the reason why African-Americans have lost their moral compass and will form a permanent underclass in this country.
If some still question how young boys aged 14 and under could be socialized to become rapists (like the ones in Arizona) if they hadn’t had any previous mental defects then here’s your answer. Yes media does ABSOLUTELY have an affect on the minds of people, particularly CHILDREN who have fewer filters in place. If you’ve parked your child in front of the tv as a babysitter and offer NOTHING to counterbalance the negative images consumed you are training your children to adopt a depravity mindset. Especially when that child is parked in front of the likes of BET.
- MISOGYNY is defined as: HATRED OF WOMEN AND GIRLS. No ifs, ands or buts. When I stated in an earlier post about DBR (damaged beyond recognition) behaviors prevalent in a majority population of African-American males (and many females) and how they hate AA women I got a LOT of denials. Misogyny is directed at women as a collective group. Of course there are nuances where a man might hate women of one group but be able to fawn over women of an entirely different group. Or parse it to like some while still despising others. Other variants include the Madonna/Whore complex. Honor killings, rape, violence and skin shade racism also fall under this.
In the Legal Response to Violence Against Women Karen J. Maschke contends “many do not bust out laughing” like Gates does while listening to 2 Live Crew and she details specific lyrics. I decided against displaying the lyrics here because they’re NSFW and also they’re disgusting. We have to be careful about immersing ourselves in filth when analyzing it. You might like to review the court transcripts along with this essay.
So in his defense of this (what used to be thought of as) explicit rap group, Skippy is saying ALL black men naturally HATE women. Now if we look at the actions from the general population of black men, especially African-American men from the past 45 years what has emerged is the trend of their abandonment and abuse of BLACK WOMEN. If someone can point to another ENTIRE GROUP OF WOMEN this would apply to feel free to keep looking and I’ll wait for you to fall off the Earth since it’s flat. There is no misinterpretation of this. Anyone who wishes to dispute this can do so at their own forum because there will be NO misdirection of this point. Now whether an individual male DECIDES to recognize it and redirect it or squash it is up to that man, but Gates wasn’t offering that caveat. He was using it as an excuse to EXPLAIN AWAY THEIR DEPRAVITY.
Now to be certain there are plenty of women-hating men in the world but again we come to discuss survival and domination tactics. No group can survive without women. So it comes down to other men to police the behavior of the men in their group to maintain a workable model. There is NO such policing going on in the “black community”. Not when you have the “premier” African-American scholar who’s a refugee from his blackness, reveling in his 56% European heritage, married to an average white woman and crying victim when hitting the third rail of white male authority saying it’s okay that these men embody every racial stereotype ever visited upon black men because it’s in their nature to be that way.
I found this great essay by Kimberle Crenshaw (whom I’d like to see nominated for the Supreme Court before Obama leaves office) discussing this case. I don’t agree with everything she has to say – namely the knee-jerk inclination for black women to defend black men who are working AGAINST them – but this was written more than a decade ago. Like many of us who’ve seen the aftermath of the depravity women must resist the urge to think of themselves by race first and gender second in these situations. It should be every woman for herself. Yes, in a very selfish looking out for one’s own interests FIRST way. The antithesis of what most black women do NOW where they GIVE IT ALL AWAY FOR FREE AND GET NOTHING IN RETURN. Or worse are left to fend for themselves when THEY need help.
Thus, Gates concludes, 2 Live Crew and other rap groups are simply pushing white society’s buttons to ridicule its dominant sexual images. I am deeply skeptical about the claim that the Crew was engaged–either in intent or effect–in pursuing a postmodern guerilla war against racist stereotypes. Gates argues that when one listens to 2 Live Crew the ridiculous stories and the hyperbole make the listener “bust out laughing.” Apparently the fact that Gates and many other people react with laughter confirms and satisfies the Crew’s objective of ridiculing the stereotypes. But the fact that the Crew are often successful in prompting laughter neither substantiates Gates’s reading nor forecloses serious critique of its subordinating dimensions. Gates’ use of laughter as a defensive maneuver in the attack on 2 Live Crew recalls similar strategies in defense of racist humor. Racist humor has sometimes been defended as an effort to poke fun at, or to ridicule racism. More simply, racist humor has often been excused as just joking; even racially motivated assaults are often defended as simple pranks. While it may be true that the Black community is more familiar with the cultural forms that have evolved into rap, that familiarity should not end the discussion of whether the misogyny within rap is acceptable. Moreover, we need to consider the possible relationships between sexism within our cultural practices and the problem of violence against women.
Violence against women of color is not presented as a critical issue in either the anti-racist or anti-violence discourses. The “different culture” defense may contribute to the disregard for women of color victimized by rape and violence, reinforcing the tendency within the broader community not to take intra-racial violence seriously. We must determine whether the practices and forms of expression are consistent with our fundamental interests. Although collective opposition to racist practice has been and continues to be crucially important in protecting Black interests, an empowered Black feminist sensibility would require that the terms of unity no longer reflect priorities premised upon the continued subordination of Black women.
Since I know so many take issue with a black woman criticizing a black man (hello Miss Ogyny again) I’ll add some criticism from other black men. Scholar Martin Kilson refers to Gates as the master of the “Black put-down”. Indeed. You are also free to research cultural critic Harold Cruse. During the trial Gates referred to 2 Live Crew as “astonishing and refreshing” and compared their works to that of Shakespeare, Ella Fitzgerald or James Joyce. They were not pushing the envelope of social discourse like Lenny Bruce or George Carlin. They were out to make money by denigrating black women.
In Master of the Dodge: A Reply to Henry Louis Gates, Martin Kilson critiques an earlier Gates’ project but it seems his warning could apply to anything by which Gates endeavors or even perhaps to the man himself.
So I try to advise my progressive Black intellectual peers especially to be wary of “King Gates” strategic offerings – his fish-hooks, if at all possible. And I’d like to address this especially to the up-coming younger generation of African- American intellectuals and scholars, particularly those who seek to fashion a progressive outlook for themselves. Finally, we progressive Black intellectuals especially do indeed have to perform the scrutinizing task in regard to establishmentarian and/or conservative Black intellectuals like Henry Gates, because no one else will. Above all, we progressive Black intellectuals still have a serious Black people agenda to attend to. Namely: Protecting, advancing, and redeeming Black folks’ honor, both here in the United States and elsewhere in the globe.