July 17, 2004

FINE LINE

There's a strange fine line you walk when you're a white girl who likes rap music. One of my students was writing his paper on the FCC and he wanted to use Eminem as an example of censorship but couldn't think of a good way to work it in. I quoted him a couple of lines from an Eminem song that I thought he could use, and he looked at me in awe: "You know Eminem?" We then talked at length about different rap albums, he made a couple of recommendations that I haven't heard yet, and we had a nice time. He even dared me to teach class in ebonics and encouraged me to use more slang! It was a pretty funny conversation, but it was nice that I never once got the feeling that I was "stealing his culture", which is the feeling I often get when I express interest in rap. I told him I especially enjoy the music for the language and that I can relate a bit to Nelly's Midwest tales, but I know that I certainly can't relate to many of rap's messages the way that he -- a young black kid from NYC -- can. I would never pretend to.

Which is why what John Kerry did at the NAACP looks especially foolish and freaky to me. You can express respect and admiration without making yourself part of the in-group. You can share common ground, but there is a fine line you need to respect.

Posted by: Sarah at 04:40 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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1 Um, no, those last two photos look more like the Tiger Woods "yessss" gesture. Try again, rfidtag.

Posted by: Sarah at July 17, 2004 01:39 PM (vMhet)

2 As someone noted on my blog, that particular gesture of Kerry's is a socialist symbol. I agree that the versions your poster mentioned are "YES!" gestures. No comparison. One is to stick your arm in the air in a fascist fashion, the other is to pump your arm up and down with your elbow bent. It's more of a sports fan gesture. What makes Kerry's move significant is he was talking to black people and emulating some old 60s symbol to suggest he was "down" with them. This is a whiter than white rich guy who lives in several mansions and has done diddly for poor people other than, what do you know, champion socialist policies.

Posted by: James Hudnall at July 17, 2004 01:56 PM (FV8Tp)

3 Actually, the picture of Bush and Franks is exactly what I was going for...the "pump your arm up and down with your elbow bent...sports fan gesture." is exactly what I meant to point out. Hence the "War President" remark. See, you tried to frame Kerry's gesture as something done only for the benefit of the NAACP...But the pictures of Kerry giving your the "socialist" salute I googled were from events that both predate and were *not* sponsored by the NAACP. Then I introduce a picture of MLK Jr. using a similar gesture (arm extended straight with a fist), and clearly it is debatable whether he was either militant or a socialist. Then I presented links to Bush and Franks doing a gesture that I think is a silly display of the Warrior Victorious, an embodiment of the Military/Sports mentality of those figures. I am glad you understood me.

Posted by: rfidtag at July 17, 2004 02:33 PM (/qocr)

4 And I stand by my point. This is where I got the picture: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/040715/480/px10407151800 Yes, he WAS at a NAACP even. The fact that NAACP president Kweisi Mfume is standing next to him should be a clue. The MLK picture is nothing like the Kerry picture. MLK is holding a clenched fist to make a point. He isn't raising it up high like the socialist/fascist salute. (the difference between socialist and fascist salutes is the fascists hand their hand open and flat and the socialists made a fist.)

Posted by: James Hudnall at July 17, 2004 04:09 PM (FV8Tp)

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