Lynne d Johnson

 

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07.31.04 02:40 PM

questions about blackness arise...

in teaching the sociology of group behavior with a focus on racial and ethinic realtions, a lot of interesting topics come to the fore. a lot of heated debates are had - and a lot of contradictions about America and race end up on blast. today's racism is not yo' momma's racism, nor is race, yo' momma's views of race from the past. of course some old views still uphold. color, genetic code, culture - what exactly is it that makes blackness. consider this fact as you realize that, especially in america, no one is truly black or white, in biological terms that is.

the past couple of weeks of class have been interesting. a week ago, i lead my students in an emotional debate over John H. McWhorter's essay, How Hip-Hop Holds Blacks Back. Surprisingly there were really no opponents or proponents of his piece. There were more middle-of-the-road arguments presented. yet eyes became wide opened this past week when hashim shomari, Chief of Staff for New Jersey State Senator Sharpe James, author of From the Underground: Hip-Hop as an Agent of Social Change, and one of the organizers of the National Hip Hop Political Convention, stopped by. Shomari had the students believing that hip-hop was definitely building its political clout.

where these hip-hop arguments and discussions of race conjoin, is at the epicenter of course. the praxis for hip-hop critics who deem the music and culture as a detriment to black folx, such as McWhorter and Cosby, illuminates this fact all the more.

and as i'm steaming with questions about racial identity, questions about race and politics, and hip-hop and blackness, i come upon the Rhetoric and Race blog, which I haven't visited for quite some time. And there is this question posed there: "can a "Black" person who passes for "White" be "racist" or not???" and there are barely any comments there. you must read the entire post before you deal with this question though - an experience and revelation brought it forth. i'm just surprised it isn't on anyone's radar yet when it's been up there since july 25.

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