Let's fast-forward from the Vibe Awards to the Source Awards, another show where the thugs, gangstas and pimps made their presence felt. There was no violence, but what Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan told the audience should have set tongues a-wagging and the computer keyboards of those columnists critical of Mr. Cosby a-clicking. So far, it hasn't.Amazing. Is Farakhan just pandering or is he simply historically illiterate? I know he's a kook and a bigot, but I would have thought he would have some appreciation for the brave black men and women who have done so much for to fight for civil rights. This generation should have more reverence for those who went before so that they could have the freedom to wear baggy pants and sing tuneless and, frequently, hate-filled music.
Mr. Farrakhan was the recipient of the Source Youth Foundation Hip-Hop Image Award. There's nothing wrong with that. Mr. Farrakhan has been the only black leader of stature to step in and try to end the ridiculous "beefs" various rappers have with one another.
But when he told the rappers and hip-hoppers "this is the greatest generation that we have ever produced," alarm bells should have been set off.
The hip-hop generation? Black America's greatest? The ones who gave us baggy pants that hang down over the butt, who elevated being a thug, gangsta and pimp to a cultural imperative, and who routinely refer to black women as bitches, 'hos, hoochies, skeezas and chickenheads? (Trust me, you don't want to know what a "chickenhead" is.)
Could I be forgiven for thinking that maybe the generation of blacks who fought in the Civil War and helped the Union win might rank higher? How about the generation who endured racism and terrorism while raising the literacy rate of recently freed slaves?
Surely the generation of blacks who fought in World War II – the Tuskegee Airmen, the truckers of the Red Ball Express, the members of the 761st Tank Battalion and the 969th Field Artillery Battalion (the latter two fought in the Battle of the Bulge) – is among the greatest. Those black youth who energized the civil rights movement of the 1960s would rank higher, as well.
So the hip-hop generation doesn't even come in the top four of black America's greatest. What that generation has done is to act with complicity in some of the most vicious stereotyping black Americans have ever had to face in this country. Our black columnists and commentators know that and should have called Mr. Farrakhan on it when he praised the hip-hop generation as our greatest.
And we would have, if we weren't so busy bashing Bill Cosby.
Saturday, January 01, 2005
Gregory Kane thinks that blacks may finally pay attention to the message that Bill Cosby has been trying to get across. However, there are always those who will criticize Cosby for speaking the truth. However, they have no words of criticism for something that Louis Farakhan says that, like Kane, simply amazes me.
Posted by Betsy Newmark at 8:41 PM