CBS’s “60-Minutes” reran a story that first aired last April. The topic: Snitchin’. Or shall I say, the topic is really about how impressionable kids in some cultures throughout America are readily adopting a philosophy that says refusing to help police authorities solve crimes of any kind is cool.
The scariest segment of the show was when five black kids, ages 14 to 19, sat together and explained why they wouldn’t share information with cops – even if they were eyewitnesses to murders, rapes or robberies. Why? Because rap artists (so-called musicians) with street cred in the black community have generated the concept that helping the po-leese is like tattle telling on their brah-thers.
It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I’m not a fan of the rap music genre. I also don’t groove to country music, heavy metal, or anything associated with opera. We all have our dislikes.
I’m also my own man, which is to say I’d never allow a musician’s lyrics or commentary guide my life decisions. If a rapper wants to further perpetuate ideas of persecution by legitimizing the use of words like “nigger” and “ho,” and at the same time, idealize the worn out concept that ALL white cops are out to “get” minorities based on the color of their skin – go right ahead. I’m not listening. Likewise, I don’t need to hear other artists, like Bono, espouse his personal beliefs on me. He can have them, just don’t rub them in my face.
I have my own values. I’ve formed my own opinions. I don’t appreciate anyone using a bully pulpit to politicize their position. And who on God’s green earth made celebrities experts on the War in Iraq, the AIDs crisis in Africa or the genocide in Dafur? Millions of words have been printed or said by far smarter people than a L.A. or New York City celebrity twice removed from his or her own reality.
I’m fed up with this persistent woe is me attitude. If you don’t like something, do something (writing lyrics about killing cops doesn’t count). What would those who preceded our generation think of this nonsense?
Can you imagine sitting down with Martin Luther King Jr. today and hooking him up with the latest rap song on your iPod? Do you think for an instant that activists who began important movements in their lifetimes would appreciate the extremist slants the movements have taken in recent years?
Activism is part of every generation, every culture. From the time Neanderthals persecuted each other to the era of Adolf Hitler’s plan to create a master race. Ideas are born and ideas die based on how people conduct themselves and how those philosophies are adopted and carried out. Some see great success and some see quick death.
But nothing good can come from this next generation of young adults who embrace a lackadaisical stance on their role in society. No good will result from people who ignore their communities, close their eyes when they instinctually know the difference between right and wrong, and stop caring about others who don’t live within the ‘hood.
Snitchin’ as a concept, a philosophy, a way of survival won’t help anyone no matter what the rapper du jour thinks or says. Ideas like this turn back the clock on progress that began decades ago, they don’t advance it.