Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rise up Hip Hop Nation, Wise Up: The Choice is Yours

As always, I'd like to begin by offering peace and respect to my sisters and brothers all across the globe living their lives the best they can; especially in times that just seem to get harder with each passing day. Right now, my own life is very hectic and trying, but I had to take a moment to write this piece. With this historic election now less than two weeks away, there is one message I feel must be expressed clearly: The result of this one election will not change world dynamics, but it will change our role in future possibilities.

When thinking of the appropriate title for this essay, Black Sheep’s classic record came to mind. And for us, the choice is critical, the choice will have long lasting effects, and the choice is clear:

On November 4th, we either put the first nail in the coffin of white supremacy and white nationalism…or we put the final nail in the coffin of our own relevance in national dynamics.

While the result will also have important effects on the economy, wars, culture issues, and other political issues, this choice will most significantly speak to this broader historical consequence. I’ve written in previous blog entries that this race is all about race. An ever growing list of code words has been developed to "other" Obama (muslim, terrorist, socialist, liberal, leftist, anti-american, inexperienced, elitist). The message is the same = he is not white….despite his white mother (Remember the one drop rule).

For many whites in this country, an Obama presidency is absolutely unacceptable because it undermines the entire reality they have created in their minds. The Emperor has no clothes. We’ve known this truth, but many in this country are still not ready to see it. And many can’t handle the truth. That is why we have the lynch mobs coming out of hiding and back to the forefront of Amerikkka. So while it is true that African Americans and youth are invested in Obama and a loss would be felt deeply by many (see: The Fire This Time), I have argued that the possibility for social upheaval and violence may be more likely with an Obama win than loss.

I teach at a college in South LA (serving cities of Inglewood, Hawthorne, Watts, Compton and South LA). Discussing the election with my classes, I discovered a mixture of those that are following the election and those that are not. Those most excited tend to be older African Americans. Some are even planning block parties to celebrate the historic moment if Obama wins and becomes the first African American president.

Younger students, the hip hop youth, are less passionate about the election. While some are excited about the possibility of a black president, they are also into a lot of other things and not “following” as closely.…Many being realists from low income communities are naturally cynical about the political process and would not be surprised by a stolen election or Obama loss due to racism. Most know their lives won’t be affected directly so they are not as personally invested as older students. So while they are wearing Obama t-shirts and many will vote, if Obama loses, they will go about their business November 5th no differently than they did November 3rd. So I don’t see hip hop (black youth) taking it to the streets if Obama loses, although I know it doesn't take much to start something...I was actually in LA when the Rodney King verdict came down and while the buzz was incredulous that even with "taped evidence we still got got" no one expected what they would see hours later and days after that...fires all around the never know, someone might start something and it won’t take much to escalate, especially given the hard times... but I do believe that there is more chance of a "violent uproar" by white nationalists with an Obama win...some folks are just not ready....

At a sociology conference this summer, many voiced a concern that an Obama win would symbolize the end of racism in many people’s minds (that we had “overcome”), despite the reality of a completely racialized society. What now seems to be more likely is that an Obama win will expose more than anything in recent history how far we have NOT “come”. And for that reason alone, all must understand the real stakes of this election. This truth must be exposed and addressed boldly in order to really progress toward a more just society. If Obama wins, the scab of an American sore that was never treated properly will finally be off and the real healing can begin. This is what is at stake.

If Obama loses, white nationalism, and the political party that is sustained by it, gets a reprieve and will use that power to make sure no such “close call” happens again anytime soon. Think Prison Industrial Complex and disenfranchisement will be taken to another level…anti-immigrant sentiments stoked, Patriot Act expanded…If the masses (of people of all backgrounds) inspired by Obama can even get over such a tough loss, they will be so well controlled, their efforts to challenge the status quo will prove most difficult. An historic opportunity would be lost and irrelevance could be the true result of election night returns. The next two weeks will probably just get uglier with desperation setting in, and white nationalists protecting their interests by any means necessary. Are you (hip hop) ready to do the same?

So you can get with this:

Yes We Can Obama Song by

Or you can get with that:

Read article here:

The choice is yours. So Rise up Hip Hop Nation…and VOTE for your future relevance.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your first article and how you clearly articulated that this upcoming race is all about race. The world needs Obama, not just Blacks or people of color; he represents strength, intellect, and wisdom. He has a vision that I believe exceeds the expectations of the majority. I want to be apart of the reality he has begun to create, which is why I am voting EARLY!

Dr. Wright
Black Hip-Hop Culture
Fall 2008

drdr said...

I agree that the election is important, but I am not sure that I see the election is such stark terms. I have my party shoes out and am ready to celebrate an Obama victory. If he loses, I will blame racism. However, I cannot believe that the election alone with signal the end of a future of possibilities. I am fighting (and praying) for Obama, but I have to believe that a better world is possible. Otherwise, I don't think I could get out of bed.

adrian said...

My fear is that if Obama loses, all the young voters he got excited to vote will lose their want to vote and get political in future elections. Many people are handing the election to Obama right now but I think they underestimate the underlying racism and discomfort for those who are "different." We don't need a win in this election, we need a landslide. We need to have no question about it, have it so Obama could give away states and win it. A win like that would not only solidify his win, but it would also shake up the republican party and hopefully change the way they're doing business in Washington and hopefully how they run elections too. It really says something about the parties to notice that while Democrats are focusing time and money to get people to vote, Republicans are focusing time and money to get courts to stop certain people from voting or nullify votes that have been cast.

Anonymous said...

My fear is that Obama will win the people's vote and not the electoral votes needed to be elected president. Our political process is so twisted. It does not trust that the choice of the masses is the correct one. Am I crazy or is this process misleading?

Anonymous said...

Tina, you make a good point that many hip hop youth today are excited about the chance for an Obama win, but not as dramatically or passionately involved as the older generation. I personally am hoping that Obama wins and I for sure will be crying, laughing, and celebrating with my family, because I understand it will certainly put a hole in white supremacy structure of our society. However if he doesn't win, I will take in the reality and unfortunately live November 5th as if it was just another day. Not because I don't care, but because it wouldn't surprise me if McCain wins because of the racial structure we live in.
I feel that the young generation isn't so pumped about the election because we don't know how or what it was like to constant protest. After watching a documentary (A Letter to the President) it spoke about how the first hip hop generation was at most the children of the civil rights generation, so that fire for progress and protest was there. I think that most youth 18-25 years of age today have no real recollection of overcoming struggle. We are the generation poisoned with the ideology of a colorblind society and that "everything is supposed to be the way it is because that is how it always was."
But this should change. And an Obama win or lose will put the fire in most people including the hip hop youth to at most see and understand the foundations of our country is only about white privilege and it is up to us to keep fighting against it.
-Jamila Madden

Anonymous said...

Hey Tina,

You're exactly right about this election. I pray for peace regardless of the outcome - with so many in despair, this is definitely not a time for mass violence and confusion, given any outcome of the election.

See ya girl, Sunita

Uncle Mordecai said...

I too enjoyed your article on the election. I however do not share your view that if Obama does not win that we will put the final nail in the coffin of our own relevance in national dynamics. We as Blacks/African Americans/Peoples of color are stronger than that and will continue to push forward. We have no other choice.

An Obama loss will mean that this nation is not ready for a well qualified person of color to run this nation. A loss for Obama will once again show that race does matter in the United States.

It is exciting to hear about the record number of people voting! This in itself is a success. Obama has already made history! He has gotten people passionate about once again voting. (Although some of those votes will not e for him)

I look forward to November 4th and also have on my dancing shoes in anticipation of the first Black President of the United States!

T-Naz said...

My fear is that the ignorance within society will get the better half of the nation. For example, there's this clip, which I highly recommend EVERYONE to watch. It portrays the overall stupidity that spreads throughout this nation. It definitely can raise your blood pressure...

Obama isn't all about color. He's about change, especially during a time where is it most necessary. His color, is a minor detail in comparison to the immense change and unification he's GOING to bring to the nation. He's got composure, style, intelligence and authority. He exceeds in credentials and shouldn't be viewed in any other way. If a veil of ignorance had come into play, Obama would prevail through, hands down!

In addition, I don't even think McCan't should run since he's not even a natural born citizen! That man NEEDS get steppin!

Tanya said...

You are correct! I feel that even if Obama does win this election he actually might be loosing. The nation is not currently in a good place and whoever become president is going to have to deal with all the issues at hand. I'm actually scared that Obama could be assassinated if he wins, which would be a very tragic thing because I believe he is a man who can bring the CHANGE we def need right now! I think there could even be a second civil war if he wins, because so much racism still exists in our country today. I really hope that he wins because in some way it will mean that America is read for change and ready for progress. My vote is for Obama and I don't care that hes black hes the right person for the job! It is incredibly sad to know that people are still judged by the color of their skins and not the contents of their character.

Tanya Fruehe

King Curry said...

Peace & Blessings

Thank you, T, as always for your thought provoking words.

I do concur with one of my fellow resondants that in order for Obama to win, he needs a landslide. Its obvious that the Republicans are ALREADY contesting next Tuesday's results.

I wish we didn't need to still look at racism as a factor. I wish it was truly about leadership skills and diplomacy. Unfortunately, there in-lies some of our continuing challenges. Regardless of who (and the level of legitimacy involved) next week, we as people of conscience still need to hold them to their words and ensure that it was not all lip service to get the gig.

As for the good Senator specifically... Yes, its historic to see SO many excited about voting. Yes, its historic that a man with any direct Afrikan lineage be a major party ticket. And there is arguable historic value to what David Allen Grier said a recent edition of his Comedy Central show (i have not seen it enough to determine if it is respectable) that the 'white' candidates are the ones with criminal records and 'baby mama drama.'

All that said, lets not lose site of the fact that while both Senators have honorable qualities... One party is running a man who has an inspirational orratory style and life story. Who is accomplished, intelligent, a good Father, a faithful Husband and who by most accounts seems to sincerely be in politics for the right reasons. While the other ticket is running a man who has already been involved in ethics scandals, has already sacrificed his principles for electibility, sacrificed his marital commitment for money and when expected to choose his second-in-command he picked someone who's greatest strengths are that she is more conservative than thou and she gets a different kind of rise out of many fellow conservatives.

I say all that to say that were it all about qualifications, this election would be a no-brainer.

Not saying there are not well qualified third party candidates, but for those who are just looking at the Dems n Reps, there it is. Be looking for each and everyone reading this at a polling place on Tuesday.

One Love,
Curry Kid
It could be argued that there may be other candidates who are better qualified