Hip Hop Fridays: Too Much Hatin' on My Generation by Kai Christopher
I have noticed a gap between generations. One of communication.
I see an older generation full of disappointment, and a younger one eager to point the finger.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter, Elder Bernice King, recently spoke at North Carolina Central University.
She advocated nonviolence, was critical of the entertainment industry and hip-hop culture, and said she's afraid this generation doesn't see the humiliation that results when we let entertainers set our values.
She said women should understand they are not "bitches and whores," and men should understand they "are not dogs . . . but princes."
Her words were inspirational or controversial, depending on what side of the fence you live on. They were somewhere in the middle for me.
I wholeheartedly agree with her message that we have a lowered bar today for what we want out of life, but Iíve heard enough youth- and hip-hop bashing to drive me crazy.
Lately I have been thinking critically about the opinions of my elders.
Honestly, I agree with the spirit with which their words are spoken, but after further analysis, I raise some simple questions.
I direct them to those who steadily criticize my generation.
What is your purpose? What is the effect? Is it in line with your purpose?
I feel your effort is in vain when the people you are addressing shut down.
The verbal assault I often hear is normally followed by applause from the older crowd, but the effect on me is not positive.
Your words do not inspire me, they offend me ó and they make me spite you, mostly because of how one-sided and slanted your criticisms are.
Once I am offended, I have to play the defensive side of the ball. While we could have been fighting the injustices of today together, I forget about the bigger picture in order to battle your misunderstandings. I spend my energy on you.
If you want to drive a wedge between the next generation and yourself, then I say, job well done.
The complaining and criticizing are only counterproductive.
I have an idea ó educate me.
If you want to inspire me to stand up and fight, teach me why I need to.
I hear detailed stories of struggles in the '60s. I'm painted vivid pictures, but then all the speaker says about today is, ďthese kids sag their pants and do nothing.Ē
This is true, and this is a serious problem. I acknowledge that the people who are sitting down have no political awareness.
There was a time when racism and injustice were on the news and in your face.
Now the only thing on the news thatís real is the weather, and even the racist people smile in my face.
Everything my schoolteachers told me you fought for, we now have.
No one breaks down institutional racism to the masses.
You canít fight passionately if you have nothing to fight for.
Tell me about Sean Bell, the unarmed bridegroom shot by Queens, N.Y., police with a 50-shot fusillade after his bachelor party. Tell me about the prison system. Tell me about how many of my peers arenít in college and what type of opportunities I have.
Tell me until you are blue in the face. Iíve seen the criticisms until you were blue in the face.
The way I see it, the criticism hasnít worked out too well. So, how about we try something new.
There will be no need for lectures. People who understand that their well-being is in jeopardy will protect it.
At one point in my life, I was the most nonchalant guy I knew. Criticism and complaints flew like the birds. But knowledge, it actually moved me.
Kai Christopher, a student at North Carolina Central University, writes for the Campus Echo. To comment, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. This article was published in The Black College Wire
Friday, January 26, 2007