In the Comments to my first big Hip Hop post, Katterfelto of The Magic Square takes issue with my "pronouncements from the Mount" style. He says:
I'd be able to take this with a little less of a grain of salt if you didn't present it so much as unimpeachable gospel.
Point taken. It's my blog, and I reserve the right to rant. Many of his arguments against my post will be taken up in a later post; this was merely "the opening shot across the bow."
I certainly didn't mean to suggest that every person over thirty hates Hip Hop or is racist, merely that the contempt for Hip Hop I've seen repeatedly (even among friends who are otherwise extremely progressive Lefties) often betrays a subtle and unacknowledged dismissal of the power, intelligence, and creativity of the mostly-black Hip Hop community. This is a form of "liberal racism" that is pernicious and hard to illuminate.
Much of this can be traced to the fact that people over thirty (and especially over forty) tend to consume and trust mainstream news sources in a way that young people don't anymore. In a previous post I covered the general problem with the mainstream press; as soon as they cover something you actually know about you notice how often they get things wrong. The story of Hip Hop has, until fairly recently, been one of demonization and sensasionalism. Only in the last few years or so (when it became clear that Hip Hop isn't going away anytime soon) have serious reviews of Rap and Hip Hop appeared -- and much of the coverage feels like grampa's attempt to be hip for young readers rather than serious, in-depth coverage.
Things are changing; the mainstream media will eventually be overtaken by the Hip Hop generation. I predict that such issues as racism and classism will have a very different face in twenty years, a face I hope to explore further in upcoming posts.