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Great Whitlock Column

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by PalmettoStatesport, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. ondeadline

    ondeadline Well-Known Member

    Whitlock is a compelling columnist. As an SportsJournalists.com poster, however, he lost quite a bit of respect from a lot of us by outing another poster.
  2. Almost_Famous

    Almost_Famous Active Member

    <i>If you don't have a job, aren't going to school, aren't from a stable home and dwell in a bad neighborhood, crime becomes an appealing career path. These are young men, who for a multitude of reasons, were never put in positions of success. The crack epidemic, dwindling manufacturing industries, teen pregnancy...you name it.</i>

    Just a question (probably not answerable): why don't [whoever 'you' is] have a job? why not going to school?

    The multitude of reasons listed above are fair speculation. Don't disagree with any of them. But I also don't understand why, if someone wants to throw gangsta rap into the hopper, it is being dismissed.
  3. Jemele Hill

    Jemele Hill Member

    Sorry. Didn't mean to sound snippy. Wasn't trying to pick a fight. Now you can tie a developing pathology in hip-hop to influencing an already existing problem, but the economic and educational disenfranchisement seems to be larger issue. Remember, the music is merely the mirror. The guys that rap about their background -- be it in a positive or harmful way -- are illuminating circumstances they've lived through. Case in point: Regardless of whether 50 Cent ever picked up a microphone, it wasn't going to change the fact he'd been shot multiple times or lived the life he used to.

    Where the problem comes in, as Jason alluded, is when so many people are making so much money off peddling damaging pathology and through images and songs, they instruct a people to revel in ignorance.

    Still, the more important and difficult work lies in fixing the factors that lead up to where we are now. I had the pleasure of meeting a woman last week whose son was murdered last year in Miami. She seemingly had done all the right things as a parent. He was home from college on break, was picked up by his cousin at the airport and the car he was riding in was shot up. Her son became a statistic at 24, too. Turns out the cousin's girlfriend's jealous ex-boyfriend was the one who did it.

    There is something terribly wrong when a decision as minute as getting into the car with your cousin can cost a young, black man his life. Sean Taylor's "crime" was being home when he wasn't supposed to. Darren Williams' "crime" was hanging out with his teammates on New Year's Eve. I wish banning, or limiting hip hop was the problem because that's simple to fix. But there's a lot going on here. I hate for a person's lost life to be a wake-up call, but I hope that's what this becomes.
  4. Believing that music is any more than an expression of feelings and social dynamics that already exist puts you in the boat with those Southern sheriffs who banned "jungle music" in the 1950's.
    Bite me, said Elvis, and we were off.
  5. Jemele Hill

    Jemele Hill Member

    I don't want to make it seem as if my family is the test case, AF, but I'll use my little sister as an example to answer your question about how someone can so easily be satisfied and lulled into not being productive.

    My little sister is 17. She's never had a job. Her older brother is 20, and he's worked one place -- Subway. He doesn't have his high school diploma. He's got a record for marijuana possession, which will be expunged if he meets the terms of his probation. My little sister's uncle is 30 years old and living at home. Her aunt, who my little sister is living with because her mother died unexpectantly, is working class, supproting a son and boyfriend that don't want to work.

    I try to do my part. When I covered Michigan State, I brought her to stay with me on several weekends. She's been to Orlando to visit me. I try to put her around as much pictures of success as possible. I stay on top of her about her grades, and luckily this year, the light finally went on as far as that's concerned. But it will still be an uphill battle because she's spent three years goofing off and now that she's interested in college, she's seeing what that goofing off cost her. I just thank God she isn't pregnant.

    But I'm one voice and one picture. The majority of pictures in her life, the majority of people she has contact with on a daily basis, are those who never aspired to go to college, never aspired to be anything, really. If in your immediate world, you see the same image over and over again, the same type of decisions being made, how can you possibly have any chance of wanting something more?

    My sister, brother and I were not raised in the same household, as they are my father's children. And that's the difference in how we all turned out. My siblings were in a household that accepted and condoned average and below average behavio. My mother, despite a multitude of economic struggles, would not accept less than my best. Despite our shared impoverished circumstances, my mother's message was to not return from where I came, to be better than she ever was. My siblings receive the opposite message, which is, this is all you're going to be.

    Unfortunately, that's a reality for far too many young, black kids. How can they desire success when no one around them gives them that desire or that picture? They soon become comfortable in their own circumstances, and as strange as it may seem, begin to prefer inadequate circumstances. Then they wake up and want to get ahead and find the only options available are illegal methods and their life takes on a twisted, "by any means necessary" mantra.
  6. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member


    I think you are discounting personal responsibility. My father didn't want me to do this. Didn't like my choices. I made it because a) I was determined to and b) got some lucky breaks on the way.

    It's easy to blame upbringing. That way, no one has to say, "It's my fault."
  7. Jemele Hill

    Jemele Hill Member


    You misunderstand. I'm all for personal accountability, but it starts at home, FIRST. To some degree, we're all an extension of the values that were apart of our upbringing. If you aren't brought up with certain values, it makes it that much more difficult for you to attain them as an adult. That doesn't absolve you of your choices, but it does shed light on why and how you made them.

    Maybe it's just me, but there is a part of me that feels sorry for the young men who stand accused of murdering Sean Taylor. Trust me, I hope they get the stiffest penalty, but damn, something went really wrong if you are that young and that much of a criminal. That their ages range from 17-to-20 is heart-breaking. They are certainly responsible for their actions, but someone, somewhere, failed these guys for them to wind up like this.
  8. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    My point is, they are equally transparent. The validity not questioned. Both stories, Whoopi Goldberg's and mine, both are true. But, they're not the rule. More than likely, they're the exception. And, when using anecdotes -- especially historical -- to support one's argument, tends to lend credence without framework. Truth to an exception.

    I'm not saying Louis Gates is wrong. Yet, the loss of manufacturing and textile jobs in America not only affects African American and black Americans. It affects middle class Americans across the board.
  9. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    Partly. And, partly, they failed themselves.
    There are thousands -- tens-of-thousands? -- of young black men in that neighborhood, with similar rearings, that didn't make the decision to first burglarize that home then shoot a man to death.
  10. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member


    I don't feel sorry for them, not at all. And, admittedly, I don't know anything about the four suspects' upbringings. Is it possible they came from somewhat solid families? I don't know.

    While my family life was not always fun, I've been through nothing compared to many of the NBA & CFL players I've dealt with. So, I concede that point on some level. But, many of those players chose to make something of themselves against difficult odds. These four had a choice, too.
  11. pseudo

    pseudo Well-Known Member

    Some background info to add to the discussion...
    A poster on our site did some digging, and came up with two hits on MySpace:
  12. Almost_Famous

    Almost_Famous Active Member

    It's not that anyone is right or wrong ... it's just all subjective opinion.

    I just think when you say "Now you can tie a developing pathology in hip-hop to influencing an already existing problem, but the economic and educational disenfranchisement <b>seems</b> to be larger issue" you are essentially offering your opinion on something that cannot factually be backed up. You think it's a larger issue, and that's fine ... but that doesn't make your argument right and the hip-hop one wrong (or vice versa). I personally think it's all about the parents, and how their raise the child, but I'm sure a dozen people can find 10 instances of serial killers being raised in seemingly fine households.

    The stats were listed earlier were interesting, but also open many, many more questions (more that probably won't ultimately net an answer).

    IMO, it's about perception. Sometimes, perceptions can be shaped by what you see and read in the media or by what you are exposed to. Might you have a different view of the hip-hop discussion if you lived in a city rather than the burbs? If you happen to ride the NYC subway on a regular basis (especially when the kids get out of school, or are going to school) you may agree or disagree. If you are on the subway on the Upper East side or in the Bronx you might agree or disagree.

    just one guy's opinion
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