I'll confine myself to addressing the points you made to me, because there's way too much other stuff going on in this thread and it's confusing me a little.
But there are so many other aspects of black culture to be proud of--don't you think it's interesting that the most widely emulated aspect is that of blacks in a poor economic position?
Forstarters, I don't see why economic status has anything to do with it. I don't believe that those in a higher economic position necessarily have more worthwhile things to say than those in a poor economic position. If you're talking about "high" culture versus "low" culture, then it's interesting, maybe, but certainly not surprising. That's pop culture for you. Crappy reality TV shows are more popular than Sakespeare or Beethoven, aren't they?
Maybe we could say that there's a " lowest common denominator" element in pop culture which makes it so appealing to so many...you don't have to think about it too much. I could talk about the quality of pop culture and the direction it seems to be headed, but I won't because it will make me sould old. You look quite young from your picture, so maybe you should wait a few years before you start sounding old.
And I don't think this is flattering. Should my mother be thanking pop culture for thinking that the way she had to grow up was cool? I don't quite know how to explain this.
Okay, I'll try to explain what I
mean. Your mother's story, from what you've told here, doesn't sound to me like a sad story. On the contrary, it sounds like an affirming and inspirational story. She grew up in difficult circumstances, worked hard and was able to lift herself up and offer her daughter a good education. I grew up in relatively fortunate circumstances, but I have some memories I'm not very fond of, and others I am. That's life, I guess. Everybody has sad stories and happy stories. I imagine that the ghetto, like anyplace else, has negative stories and positive stories, scary stories, funny stories and just plain silly ones, too.
I don't have much experience with the ghetto, but I've lived in developing countries in South America and Africa. I've been in India and other places where there is much poverty, probably more acute poverty than that of inner cities in the US.
Yeah, poverty sucks, but if I have to think about Africa or India or South America, my recollection is primarily that these places are happy places. Happy in the sense that people there smile, sing, laugh and love a lot...probably more than people in most millon-dollar neighborhoods I've been to.
That's the human spirit. There is joy in spite of suffering, and there is beauty in the middle of the s**t. Money won't necessarily make you happy.
So, sorry for being long winded, but my point is: when one tells a story of life in the ghetto or any other poor place, I don't believe one is necessarily obliged to present the people who live there as being pitiable. I don't believe that it's necessarily offensive to the people who live in those places to portray their lives in a manner which is more positive, lyrical, humorous or even "cool". We shouldn't forget that life in those places is tough, but that story is also told and I'm sure most people are aware of it. Not too many of those kids who wear baggy clothes and talk "ghetto" would choose to move to an actual ghetto, I'm sure.
Early rap tends to represent the fonder memories, while current rap tends to glorify the bad things--the crime, the drugs, and the role of women.
Yeah, I can see that. I'm not much into the gangsta rap myself, but hey, some people like it. I do think a lot of its' appeal is probably with teenage males, and it's precisely the sensational, the shock value, and the macho posturing which makes it appealing to them. Just to look at some of the videos, and it's guys who ride around in flash cars looking cool with lots of scantily clad women swooning all over them. Not everybody's cup of tea, I guess, but I was once a teenage boy myself so it's not that hard for me to see the appeal.