Unfair generalizations

12 12 2007

Hot off of reading the comments on a blog I frequent, I am compelled to make a few statements regarding generalizations.

1. Rappers represent no one but themselves. They are not elected representatives of all things Black, all things impoverished, all things urban, all things male or all things clandestine.

2. Rapping is a technique, not a message in itself. Shirley Ceasar, Jill Scott, Republican cabinet officials and Kendra the Playboy bunny have all rapped. 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg do not represent all rap music. Take issue with their individual messages, not the technique they use. After all, Jackson Pollack doesn’t represent Picasso.

3. Country music is a style, not a message in itself. Not all country music is sad. There are different types of country music. The Dixie Chicks and Garth Brooks do not represent all country music.

4. Rap and hip-hop are not synonymous. Rap is a technique. Hip-hop is so much more than simple word delivery.

So…BEFORE making a general statement about people, a type of music, athletes, etc. assess who is in that group you’re speaking of and ask yourself if it is really true if everyone therein. Statements like:

“rap perpetuates violence” can’t be true because, as mentioned before, Shirley Ceasar, Kendra and Republics cabinet officials have all rapped non-violent lyrics.

“rap glorifies drugs and money” can’t be true for the same reason.

“country music is sad” can’t be true because of artists like Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood and *ahem* the Soggy Bottom Boys.

“rock music is loud” can’t be true. Try turning the volume down and listening to ballads (Hey There Delilah, Under The Bridge, Gravity) or soft rock (John Mayer, Sheryl Crow).

“rockers only scream” can’t be true. 2 words: Freddie Mercury.

Adding “some” would make each of those statements, and any like them, true.
Yes SOME rap perpetuates violence, but so does metal, rock and art installations. SOME rap is only about Jesus Christ. SOME rock is only about Jesus Christ. SOME rap is only about sex. SOME blues is only about sex. SOME rap is only about drugs. SOME metal is only about drugs. ALL music fits in no one category.

Yes SOME rap glorifies drugs and money, but some glorify their education, their simple troubles and the love of their hometowns including The Pharcyde, Pacific Division, Common, The Roots, Talib Kweli, Little Brother, De La Soul and Lupe Fiasco. 50 Cent, Snoop, Ying Yang Twins and Akinyele represent only their personal views, not an entire community.

Yes SOME country music is sad, but so is some R&B, rap, rock and classical. Life is sad sometimes and music, being a form of expression, should directly reflect the real emotions humans face regularly.

Yes SOME rock music is loud, but so is any music turned up to ’10’. lol

Yes SOME rockers scream, but some have beautiful voices. Listen to Chris Daughtry, Freddie Mercury, Chris Cornell.

My point? Music is a universal language, but it has an infinite number of dialects. What works for you may or may not work for the next person. The fact remains that we have a right to make whatever music or ‘music’ we want and we have a right to refuse to listen to some or all of it. But, making statements about said music (or athletes or politicians), using it as representation of entire groups of people is absolutely unfair. Furthermore, artists (and athletes and politicians) are not perfect and should not be emulated, deified or made exempt from using sound judgment. Finally, generalizations are unfair and ignore subtle and distinct differences amongst fans, followers and supporters of things.

The original post didn’t strike a nerve as much as the comments in response. But I absolutely respect everyone’s opinion. And you just read mine!

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2 responses

12 12 2007
stephanie

did you post this on the blog’s page?! you definitely should!

12 12 2007
coopdeville

Nah, can’t be taking over someone else’s blog! I said just a little, but kept most for myself. For here.

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