Monday, May 28, 2007

"Cool-Pose Culture"

In today's Washington Post, an interesting read titled Black Culture Beyond Hip Hop, emphasizes that black culture is in trouble because it is seen as synonymous with hip hop culture.

Some quotes from the article:

"...hip-hop culture is not black culture, it's black street culture. Despite 40 years of progress since the civil rights movement, in the hip-hop era -- from the late 1970s onward -- black America, uniquely, began receiving its values, aesthetic sensibility and self-image almost entirely from the street up."

"Sociologists have a term for this pathological facet of black life. It's called "cool-pose culture." Whatever the nomenclature, "cool pose" or keeping it real or something else entirely, this peculiar aspect of the contemporary black experience -- the inverted-pyramid hierarchy of values stemming from the glorification of lower-class reality in the hip-hop era -- has quietly taken the place of white racism as the most formidable obstacle to success and equality in the black middle classes."

As I mentioned in a previous post, when I think of hip hop culture, two things that come to my mind are bling and conspicuous consumption (among other things):

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Just thought I'd give you a visual.

Read the article here.

In another Washington Post article, A Parent in Prison, a Void at Home, efforts are being made by a Chicago coalition to provide family programs and support services within the prison system.

The article features the story of Shaun Carr, who was once jailed himself, raising his two daughters while his wife is in prison. Carr is forming a support group for men with incarcerated spouses.

The article sites that in the Chicago area, where there are an estimated 90,000 children of the imprisoned and paroled, a fledgling coalition of community groups and state politicians is developing strategies to create better lines of communication between children and their jailed parents, and to diminish the severe shortage of help.

I would concur that providing supportive services for families in the prison system is important for two reasons: 1) Blacks make up 43.9 percent of the state and federal prison populations but only 12.3 percent of the U.S. population; and 2) children of prisoners are more likely to be involved in the criminal justice system.

Read the article here.


Anonymous said...

By far this so-called article represents one of the most shallow and false explanations for this "rap garbage" I've ever read.

If you understood anything concerning the complex and diverse nature of our culture you could or would not make these empty headed statements.
From its very inception this trash has been elevated to a level of cultural expression to which it does not deserve. This constant attempt to elevate this stupidity as representative of any aspect of our culture is deplorable.

Idiots like this are constantly attempting to misdirect the attention of Blacks in this country from the legitimate concerns and pririties we must address.

Spare me your stupid and shallow efforts and face the reality of the nature of this subculture.
It has been allowed to displace the legitimate and honorable aspirations of a proud and dynamic people.

Johnetta said...

I completely agree with what the above comment. In fact, I went to school with the guy who wrote the Washington Post article. We like to remember him as that guy in the blue velour jumpsuit with the Jesus-piece. I think the whole thing had a lot more to do with intellectualizing his own relationship to hiphop culture back in the day than actually attempting to understand the ramifications of the garbage he's putting out there.

fred said...

I agree with the article in general, but once again I think that cool-pose culture is another distraction from the main issue facing black culture. I think that young people, those who are posing as urban youth and those who are living in some of the rough areas around the country need something to believe in. Our community has failed to provide this, our churches have failed to provide this, and our family structure has degenerated to almost nothing. So why do we blame our youth for being so misguided. Why blame Hip Hop executives for capitalizing on our weakness.

I think many people who point the finger at Hip Hop need to stop trying to treat the symptom, and start addressing the issue. our children need us and we are failing them.