Monday, April 23, 2007

The Black Minstrel Show Continues

The following is a post from co-blogger Sonya. She comments on a 60 minutes discussion between Anderson Cooper & Thug rapper (& Cancer to the "Black Community) Cameron Giles. They discuss the issue of "snitching".

Cam'ron: Snitching Hurts "Code Of Ethics"
Rapper Also Tells Anderson Cooper It Would Hurt His Business

(CBS) Rap star Cam'ron says there's no situation — including a serial killer living next door — that would cause him to help police in any way, because to do so would hurt his music sales and violate his "code of ethics."

Cam'ron, whose real name is Cameron Giles, talks to CNN's Anderson Cooper for a 60 Minutes report on how the hip-hop culture's message to shun the police has undermined efforts to solve murders across the country.

That doesn't make a bit of sense.

"If I knew the serial killer was living next door to me?" Giles responds to a hypothetical question posed by Cooper. "I wouldn't call and tell anybody on him—but I'd probably move. But I'm not going to call and be like, 'The serial killer's in 4E.'"

Giles' "code of ethics" also extends to crimes committed against him. After being shot and wounded by gunmen, Giles refused to cooperate with police. Why?

"Because … it would definitely hurt my business, and the way I was raised, I just don't do that," says Giles.

Pressed by Cooper, who says had he been the victim, he would want his attacker to be caught, Giles explains further: "But then again, you're not going to be on the stage tonight in the middle of, say, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, with people with gold and platinum teeth and dreadlocks jumping up and down singing your songs, either. We're in two different lines of business."

A sellout by any other name...

"So for you, it's really about business?" Cooper asks.

"It's about business," Giles says, "but it's still also a code of ethics."

Excuse me for a moment while I gag.

Ethics? I call it moral bankruptcy. Inordinate selfishness. Absolute ignorance. What has taken hold of the psyche of a significant number of black people is a pathology so profound that it defies all logic and understanding.

I expect that at some point in the future there will be a lightbulb moment for those who have adopted the code of the lawless and thoughtlessly made themselves willing victims of the predators in their midst. But until that time comes, too many decent people will bear the brunt of the damage resulting from the ignorant rantings of Cam'ron and his kind.


Cross Posted from Make It Plain

My thoughts:

I don't think there is any hope for the Black community, with this kind of mindset being so pervasive.

It's embarrassing to me as a Black man. Especially when I see so many Black folks defending this nonsense.

Ethics? I call it moral bankruptcy. Inordinate selfishness. Absolute ignorance. What has taken hold of the psyche of a significant number of black people is a pathology so profound that it defies all logic and understanding.

You hit the nail right on the head. Blacks are activily taking part in their own degradation and destruction...and it defies all good sense.

You also mentioned a lightbulb moment might come.... but that light should have lit up in the minds of black folks a long time ago. Look at what is happening in the major metro areas across this country... especially in places like DC, Philly, St. Louis, New Orleans, Houston.... & other places where crime & gang activity is way up. The school systems and other institutions in some of these urban areas are also in disarray. How bad does this have to get before a light goes off?

I honestly believe that these light bulbs are blown. It is time for someone to change the bulbs. The problem is... I don't know if that is even possible....because the skulls of Black folk may be too thick... they are stubborn.

They listen to the rappers more than they listen to their pastors, or their teachers.
Cam'ron mentioned something very profound/revealing...when he stated "the way I was raised, I just don't do that,".

As far as i'm concerned, this is the key. PARENTING. This is why Bill Cosby was right. And this is also why he got such a huge backlash.... because people did not want to look in the mirror.

Good parenting in the so-called "Black Community" is basically non-existent. Parenting in Black America is certainly inadequate. There are always a few good parents who do a great job...but I am referring to the masses of households. Black America is in a crisis when it comes to parenting... this is one of the key sources to all of this poisoning of the brain that we see with Black youth.

This is why Black youth are so out of control (and I see it all the time). This is why they struggle in school...why they are prone to trouble, why they have run-ins with Police. They are not used to boundaries....No one ever set boundaries for them growing up. Therefore they do not respect authority and lack discipline & a sense of responsibility. So they lash out when someone finally sets boundaries for them (usually when it's already too late).

What will turn this thing around? Because I just don't see lightbulbs going off for these people. The Black community is constantly hitting a new low...and each time it does... the light bulbs do not light up.

Recent light bulb moments where lights failed to turn on:

1. Black women and AIDS.

2. The Black drop out rates

3. Black rates of incarceration

4. Katrina

5. and now Don Imus

And there have been several others. But the light bulbs just don't seem to come on, no matter how bad things get.

One of the first steps will have to be rebuilding the concept of family within the so-called "Black Community". A sense of values and morals has to be brought back. And good parenting will have to be key. Other ethnic groups know the importance of parenting...and as a result, youth of other backgrounds generally don't have problems that are as severe as those faced by Black and Latino youth.


Anonymous said...

This "code of ethics" is a code of sorts, but one that is being upheld by the black community for reasons they have come to misinterpret. Your words seem to come from a place of great ignorance as well. This tradition of not trusting the police comes from a long timeline of the police and the government not protecting the well being of not only blacks, but minorities and lower class citizens as well. This sentiment is a popular one among all of those groups, but because out of these oppressed people, blacks have had the most success in making this "code of ethics" known.

Furthermore, Black youth are extremely used to boundaries!!! Hence, the sub-culture of hip hop that was developed as a way to be freed from those boundaries. The original hip hop culture was viewed as a "threat to society" simply because it was a forum that Black youth used to mobilize socially and politically. Therefore, it became villified. And the white majority capitalized off of this angst and aggression, and hip hop's purity was bastardized. What was pushed to the forefront and thrusted into the mainstream was the worst of hip hop and it's representatives. Hip hop would never have been so popular based on the sales of black people alone. There is an international fan based made possible by hip hops modern day minstrel shows. These stereotypes were re-defined and then adopted so black men could cash in on ridiculous pay outs. This is what the youth, black, white, chinese, and others aspire to imitate.
But this is the nature of culture evolution. Traditions are often followed and developed out of misinterpretations and misunderstandings of very real conditions. Cam'ron, unfortunately, speaks from this misunderstanding of how the "no snitching" rule came into play. It once very much protected the innocent. It is a legacy of slavery, when slaves tried to escape and plan revolts in secrecy. Then it carried into the Jim Crow era, on to civil rights, into the Black Panthers and on to the eighties. It was survival and still is in many places of the US. In places where the government has allowed lawlessness, where shots are heard but the police never come and when they do come they fail to protect families that may very well put their lives and families lives in danger by cooperating with police, "no snitching" is necessary.

The idea that "better parenting" would fix all evils is blanket generalism. Whole mindsets, institutions and generational belief structures must be rebuilt. Education will lead to better choice, develop into better lifestyles, transform into better parenting, and a ripple effect of positivity will occur. However, even that statement is more optimistic than reality. Anderson Cooper's question was slightly ridiculous in its context. These artist's (and I use the term loosely) are prepped prior to going on these shows and putting Cam'ron on television on a show like 360 with a very specific demographic and m.o. was to purposely further villify the "dangers of black people and their hippity hop music". Where is your outrage at this? I'm sure they handed cam'ron an agenda and he simply responded, "Imma keep it real," not even understanding the actual meaning of that phrase alone.
Absolutely, the Black Minstrel Show continues, but WHY???? Why do we need to keep seeing the "threat" as opposed to the consequence?

Anonymous said...

And by the way, I come from a very strong tradition of excellent parenting within the black community. I attended predominately black schools and 95% of my classmates went on to get scholarships in some of the nation's top private high schools and colleges, including myself. Our school was based in East New York (on of the worst neighborhoods in New York in the early 90's). So, I will state that based on fact and statistic parenting in America as a whole needs to be re-examined. Once again you are making blanket generalizations.

Brian said...



I understand that Blacks and other minorities have historically not always trusted Police...But that mistrust of police because of old civil rights oppression began to wane a long time ago. What your guy Camron is talking about is rooted in something completely different.

I don't recall Blacks in the 60's and 70's selling their communities down the River as a family value or racial tradition. Give me a break!

And some of the most successful neighborhood watch programs, and most successful Weed and Seed programs across the Country have been led by Black folks... people in neighborhoods who decided they had enough of your drug dealers, prostitutes, crime, violence, etc.

Spare me that old civil rights nonsense about not trusting the police. You are attempting to use that as a cover for something completely different with the "stop snitching" nonsense. These are two different kinds of mistrust and they spark different behavior...and I would say, that the mistrust you are referring to, rooted in Civil Right Oppression is not as relevent today. Neighborhood policing initiatives (as well as the increase in minorities working as police officers) wiped much of that old mistrust away. The mistrust we are seeing today is rooted in fear perpetuated by urban terrorists - the gangs, drug dealers, and the Rap culture that has taken over many urban neighborhoods across the Country.

So these are two different kinds of mistrust.

1. Mistrust fueled by old civil rights/racial oppression - while this still is largely irrelevant's impact is small when compared to the current problem. Most Black folks WILL talk to police, if they aren't being threatened by your urban terrorists. (It's almost like the notion that Blacks aren't patriotic... it's nonsense). Blacks want safe schools, safe neighborhoods, etc... like anyone least that's the case for decent, hardworking folks, esp. those with families.

2. Mistrust fueled by fear of urban terrorists and the problem that (mostly Black males) have with the criminal justice system.

These are two different kinds of mistrust...separated by a generation or two (although racial mistrust does exist today)...but the impact of #1. doesn't come close to the impact of #2. They are rooted in different things...have different social contexts.

But i'm not surprised that Civil Rights folks would try to use one to make excuses for the other. Classic apologist nonsense.

That argument doesn't work for me.