American Black Isolationism

I consider myself fortunate in some ways to have spent most of the first decade of my life, as part of the experiment in living Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream of equality. That the experiment seems to have all but failed is starting to seem more and more obvious, but to say we should give up on repeating reaching for the goals of equality in some way would be a mistake. It’s just kind of hard to see the way at the moment.

I grew up during a time when Motown music and Staxx records were putting out some great music, music that anyone could identify with, independent of whether they were young or old, black or white. The music was good, it dealt with topics everybody could relate to, and so had universal appeal. I guess the seventies was sort of the transition period, where the whites were mostly driven out of the MLK, Jr experiment, and then came the eighties, and the rise of rap music, with its edgy, in your face to the point of outright offensiveness came along. Black music no longer had universal appeal, and I suppose that was by design. Suddenly black music was about animosity towards whites, street cred, whatever. It was music that by design was exclusionary.

I’ve heard it said that rap music’s embrace of the N-word was sort of a way to rob the word of its power, but it’s clear to an outsider that the word still holds tremendous power. It holds a place similar to anti-blasphemy laws that sharia law folks propose: One set of rules for believers, another for outsiders, and woe be those who don’t follow the rule.

A lot of folks seem to be making fun of this Jeantel friend of Trayvon Martin, (Martin was killed after purportedly coming up behind George Zimmerman and viciously beating him). I think the people who say “she represents “blacklish” or whatever, basically black slang life, are correct. I think Trayvon Martin is also a pretty good representative of what black isolationist culture has created. I don’t feel a lot of sympathy for this Jeantel girl, I mostly feel pity. She seems like a typical person raised in a culture that habitually treats whites with derision and disdain. I pity her that the dreams of MLK, Jr were swept away by a culture of violence, guns, bitches, and ho’s. But that’s the culture black America chose for itself. Whites were largely excluded from that conversation. Considering that whites are often the targets of animosity and violence in this culture, you’ll have to excuse them for not wanting to take part in a culture that fosters hatred toward them, I guess.

update: Found this to be interesting, and perhaps tangentially related:

http://buildameworkshop.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/conversations-of-color-the-cult-of-blackness/

update 2: Reciprocal Determinism in nursing: http://blog.ultimatenurse.com/horizontal-violence-in-nursing/

 

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4 comments on “American Black Isolationism

  1. lauren says:

    so, did I get this right? you’re saying that popular music is the only source of reaching racial harmony/understanding and that because you didn’t like disco or rap, it’s ok that racism exists?

  2. motownmutt says:

    I’m not quite sure how you came to that conclusion, so I’ll have to go with I don’t think you got that right, whether through my inability to communicate, or through your deductive reasoning.

    I’ll try to summarize: There was a period of time where black musicians created music for everybody. Relative to today, I’d say there was more cultural harmony back then. Then there was a point in time, where they decided to make music that did not have universal appeal. Much of the racial discord I see today, I attribute toward that turning inward of the culture.

    Another thing I might look at someday, is how the entertainment industry influences one or another particular demographic. If there’s money to made, and people to be exploited, they often are, often at the expense of our culture.

  3. motownmutt says:

    As I live somewhere where the battle flag is a relatively common sight, I’m considering writing a post analogous to this one that could be seen as Southern White Isolationism.

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