“HEY, CHIP! PASS ME SOME SHOE POLISH…”
I’ve always considered most of ‘gangsta’ hiphop, along with the more ribald, sexually exploitive stuff (Nelly, anyone?) to be little more than a corporate-contrived pseudo-cultural safari for suburban and exurban white youth. Most of the videos strike me as high-tech minstrel shows where– instead of having to rely on whites in blackface– they’ve managed to hire negroes to do the shucking, jiving, and dancing.
Sure, the African-American performers might actually be the ones who write their material, and most of them might actually be deriving that material from their own life experiences. However, have you ever seen MTV’s “Making the Video” (or whatever it’s called)? I saw about 45 seconds of one episode, and the sight of all those clean-cut white people behind the camera of a booty video with an all-black cast made me shudder and keep surfing.
I believe this mass-marketed, semi-contrived subculture allows young white people to bask in their postmodern racism and feel cool and hip while doing it. It is a musical counterpart to the world of professional sports, where hard-working, freakishly talented, and physically imposing black men struggle on a televised stage so that throngs of insecure, drunken white men can alternately identify with them and denigrate them (think I’m full of it? Ask Anthony Johnson).
I’m not suggesting that all white people who love hip-hop are racist, any more than I’m suggesting that all white people who admire black sports figures are racist. There is no denying, however, that the racism is there, it is an integral part of the matrix, and it isn’t exactly well hidden.
Apparently, though, the mere presence of negroes is a bit too much for some young white people to take. They’ve resorted to the old Jim Crow version of the minstrel show, only not bothering with that oh-so-last-century blackface.
CocoRacist: You’re So Worldly, How’s Mom’s Audi?