Jamie Freeze Baird
December 20, 2011
(Another) man down
By Jamie Freeze Baird

On Friday, December 16, a rap artist known as Slim Dunkin was shot and killed at an Atlanta recording studio. He joins over twenty other rappers who have been murdered in cold blood — most of them shot to death. Apparently, rapping takes a toll on your health.

A while back, I wrote a column about Tupac Shakur's "legacy." He's heralded as a hero by many people, despite the fact that he was a murderous thug. And I'm sure Slim Dunkin will be memorialized as a great rising artist, despite the disgusting lyrics he rapped. Dunkin's music is full of misogyny and violence. (For a mild example, look at the lyrics of his popular rap "Man Down").

Sadly, these lyrics are infiltrating the minds of juveniles, and the lyrics are personified. I've worked with many inner-city juvenile offenders. Typically, they can't read at their grade level, but they know all the words to popular rap songs, and their goal in life is to be a rapper. Is it any surprise that the youth of our country are in such dire straits if they idolize men who rap about violence, disrespect of women, and hatred of authority?

Not all rap lyrics advocate violence or disrespect, but the overwhelming majority do. Some might argue that rappers are simply describing life or their upbringing. That doesn't explain lyrics like, "better cooperate or you get the whole clip" and "pop that ho."

Folks glorify rappers and turn a blind eye to the influence they have on youth and the destruction their values bring to communities. Rapping may be viewed as culture, but if people want to reject violence, gang activity, disrespect of women, drug use, and hatred of authority, they need to start rejecting rappers like Slim Dunkin. Teaching the next generation that violence and disrespect towards women and authority is not the way to solve inner-city problems or right the wrongs of the past. Instead, it perpetuates the cycle of poverty, gang life, and violence. It's time for change.

Consider the numbers.

According to recent statistics, 72% of black children are born to unwed mothers in the United States. Black poverty rates are the highest of all ethnic groups in America. Almost 10% of young black men are in prison. An August 2003 Bureau of Justice Statistics analysis shows that 32% of black males born in 2001 can expect to spend time in prison over the course of their lifetime. For black males ages 12 to 19 years old, homicide is the leading cause of death; accidents are the leading cause of death for others in this age bracket.

The black community has been adversely affected by the values and attitudes found in most rap lyrics. The black community doesn't need reparations, more apologies, more affirmative action, or more subsidies. The black community needs heroes and entertainers who aren't thugs. The black community needs songs that don't glorify violence and misogyny. The black community needs people who are willing to break the cycle and teach young people how to succeed. Rap lyrics won't get the drug pusher off the street. Government programs won't stop gang violence. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton won't end poverty. Change must happen from the ground up. Each person must determine that they won't be a victim — that they will rise above circumstances and environments. That's real change.

Is it too much to ask for rappers to stop rapping about "Man Down" and start manning up to good values and strong leadership in the black community?

© Jamie Freeze Baird

 

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Jamie Freeze Baird

Jamie Baird received battlefield experience in the war of ideology while attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While earning her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History, she served as Vice President of the College Republicans and was the lone conservative opinion columnist for The Carolinian, UNCG's student newspaper. After surviving college without becoming a liberal, she graduated in 2009. Jamie received her Master of Arts in Government, with certification in Law and Public Policy from Regent University in 2011, where she was also active in the College Republicans. You can contact Jamie at jamiebaird12@gmail.com with questions, comments, rants, and snide remarks.

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