RoQ Riffs!! Are ya’ll good?!?!? It’s The 5th Element Time!!
Ready? Normally, I would include funny pictures and witty, dry captions.. but this is kind of a serious matter. So, if you have ADHD or don’t like reading…….
And now, a real life allegory on perspective and racial privilege…
The other day, at the Coolin’ Out store in Phoenix, I attempted to grab a shirt for my video shoot. Unsure what shade of maroon/red it was, I asked Chuck,who owns the store as well as Coolin’ Out. He said “dude, it’s brown.”
I arrogantly felt his eyes were unable to register that specific hue because — from MY perspective– it’s a dark maroon and being stubborn about it, I (of course) assumed I was right and questioned him *about the color of HIS OWN PRODUCT.* I mean , c’mon.. there is no way MY eyes deceived ME. Still unsatisfied and unwilling to take the word of the person who purchased probably a hundred different sizes of it, I asked a kid in the store.. “it’s brown”; he responded without thought. Eh, coincidence — though, there was a sliver of doubt concerning my own perspective. I decided to ask the kid’s friend, just to verify: “brown”. It was at this point that I decided to combat my arrogance by lifting the shirt up towards the light — it was obviously brown.
Sometimes, we are very sure of our personal perspectives, enough to believe that is in fact true reality. After all, we see life through our own eyes.. we are all just participants in each others individual realities.. and at times, what we perceive is what we know.
Anyways, being a passionate individual ,concerning my beliefs– especially regarding something as second nature as my own sight– it took multiple people to convince me to not only take their individual, yet collective perspectives into consideration, but to also re-examine the object of debate… this time, taking those perspectives into account.
Through that, I discovered the common truth.
When it comes to dealing with the touchy subject of race in America, it’s wise, as well as respectful to take the accounts of others into consideration.
Being told by others of a different cultural make ups that you or your racial group don’t experience social/judicial/economic mistreatment , because THEY are unable to see they are privileged with a much more lenient and compassionate approach in comparison, is so arrogant and insulting. It is much worse when the individual/s is/are confronted by several people, all sharing unique, yet similar experiences,who support the claims of prejudice and privilege within our society.
I mean, this is coming from a passionate person, here, so I get it — sometimes you may want to stick to your guns. But when multiple people introduce you to a common theory, it’s time to start re-evaluating.
I’ve been in a few debates in person, in interviews, and clearly online, regarding this issue. It really causes alarm , seeing how many of these people are “conscious hiphop heads”. The same subgenre consisting of recognizable names such as your Immortals, Mos’, Common’s, Talib’s, Prez’s, Ms Hill’s, etc..all whom are students of artists such as the iconic Public Enemy.
Yet, the overall apathy towards black issues is so immense. It absolutely baffles me.
Let’s just be straightforward, here:
HipHop, in all it’s “universal” glory, is inherently black. This does not mean it is “racially exclusive”.. that’s ignorant and prejudiced, in itself. What I’m saying is it didn’t just “originate” from the black youth demographic of the 70s, this is something contemporary and perpetually connected to African American culture, at the very root of things. The fact that it’s own evolution is shaped by the changing dynamic of black culture, supports this statement.
So, with that said, it really upsets me to witness individuals who have adopted and were adopted by the culture,express little to no empathy towards the continued mistreatment of blacks in america. It bothers me to see people unwilling to be educated on the subject, yet continue to participate and add their individual elements to the culture. It also bothers me to see people of any race that is affected by racial mistreatment , accept these people into the fold of hiphop.
It’s like if I were to stay at your house, turn a blind eye to someone mistreating you, tell you it’s not a big deal, and continue to take up residence. It’s like, you enjoy a life-changing experience, yet don’t care for the source that provided it.
Society (media) subconsciously teaches folks to devalue the very real issue of Prejudice and Privilege. It manipulates people into feeling uncomfortable about bringing up racism. As if talking about it perpetuates its existence..
“it’s only alive because you talk about it”.
This usually comes from someone of white privilege , who hasn’t experienced a life adversely affected, in any magnitude, by the color of their skin. Hell, their race, in terms of specific genetic make up (ancestors’ place of origin) ,is usually never even a factor… white is subconsciously taught to be “normal” ..( which is a reason society designates natural-born, non white Americans with hyphenated national identities: Mexican-American). So if their race is the “standard” , according to the corrupt establishment which shares that common, racial ground; it makes it difficult for most to naturally discern their racial privilege… as there is not much to visually compare it to, unless that person is educated on the subject.
TV is not going to overtly tell you. It will, however, push the superiority agenda through subconscious programming.. but that is a deep rabbit hole.. one I have already discussed.
So, for those adamant about there not being “white privilege”, I encourage you to comparatively assess your life experiences with people of color. Take into consideration that if multiple people are telling you they see something you cannot, you may need to hold that shirt up to the light and reevaluate your perspective.
For those who refuse, I’ve taken a stand against,as they are unwilling to seek education on the inequality which plagues this nation, and are inadvertently contributing to the problem. This post concerns multiple people.
That is part of my solution and I encourage all my brothers and sisters of all walks of life to reconsider anyone in hiphop unwilling to help make this a nation of truly equal people. Now is not the time to be stubborn.
If they are willing to learn, that is great. That is “hip-hop” , and we should embrace them. After all, what is life and education without breakthroughs of clarity? “Ah ha” moments.
I will never give up or compromise, though.
You can help by acknowledging there are issues that need to be resolved.
Alright. My “TyRaiD” is over. Felt it was necessary to bring this up, as I have like-minded supporters to consider.
Alright, RoQ Riffs!! What did you think??? Please comment, if you feel compelled to do so! And remember to be respectful to people’s views and opinions. We are all here to learn.
Until I decide to rear my head here again….
“Live from Phoenix.. THE CULTURE IS BACK!!”