Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Sept. 16, 2003 / 19 Elul, 5762

Mark Goldblatt

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Rap: blood on Blood | A couple of years ago, I was walking through Central Park after a softball game when a young black kid - maybe twelve years old - came up to me. He'd noticed the red bandana around my head, and he asked, "You Blood?"

It took a moment for the question to register, and when it did, it cracked me up; I doubted the gang recruited white middle-aged college professors.

The kid glared back at me and said, "You'd better watch what you wear." Then he wandered off.

That moment came to mind this month with the news that an aspiring teacher was murdered in Brooklyn - according to witnesses, because he laughed at a Bloods member for flashing the gang's signature hand gestures.

Anthony Bartholomew, 21, a new father who was pursuing a career in education at Kingsborough Community College, was shot in the temple during the West Indian Day Parade. The killer, wearing a red bandana around his head, escaped into the crowd.

Gang-related violence, of course, claims thousands of victims each year - a disproportionate number of them, like Bartholomew, young black men. This is hundreds of times more than are killed by police, but if you judged the situation according to the rhetoric of civil rights groups like the NAACP, you'd think rogue cops posed a far greater threat to the average black person's well being.

Donate to JWR

Then again, to confront gang violence, such organizations would have to take on hip hop - which is shot through (so to speak) with gang ties.

Gangster rap, specifically, is woven around the theme "If you disrespect me, I'll kill you." Hence its vicarious appeal to adolescent white boys, seething with Oedipal resentments, and its deadly appeal to adolescent black boys, grasping at the mirage of racial pride.

To be sure, hip hop's pantheon is a pathetic testament to gangsterism: Deceased rap icons Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls were members of the Bloods and Crips respectively, and their mutually fatal rivalry was fueled by gang loyalties.

Veteran rappers Snoop Dogg, P. Diddy and Lil' Kim scatter their lyrics with references to gang violence to underscore their street credibility. And current rap sensation - and multiple gunshot victim - 50 Cent is widely assumed to be a former Blood.

If black leaders ever come to terms with the fact that the gangster is really just the new minstrel, if they ever have to courage to declare that Snoop Dogg is really Snoop 'n Fetchit, that P. Diddy is really P. Sambo, and that Lil' Kim is really Lil' Jemimah, then perhaps the tide of black-on-black violence will begin to ebb.

Until then, the likes of Anthony Bartholomew will continue to die for those leaders' silence.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Mark Goldblatt teaches at SUNY's Fashion Institute of Technology. His new novel is "Africa Speaks". Comment by clicking here.

09/08/03 The Real Lessons: Learning in the schoolyard
08/18/03 Supreme infantilization
06/25/03 Clinton Lit 101: The lessons of History
06/11/03 The Devil & the Gray Lady: All about vogue
04/10/03 Who is in denial?
03/25/03 Student Primer: Truths and falsehoods about Operation Iraqi Freedom
03/12/03: Bitter Taste of Academia: Citrus College incident acidic, but not vicious
03/10/03: Nonfighting Words
03/04/03: Human Shield: Everything you'd expect and more
02/04/03: Finger-Quotin’ Fools: Inside the Modern Language Association
01/23/03: Derrida, Derrida, Etc.: The philosopher as king
12/20/02: The solution to the Republicans' "black problem"
12/05/02: Our 'lunatics' and theirs
10/21/02: The Dowd Rule: Words to read the New York Times by
09/05/02: Other Opiates: What kids know
08/14/02: Middle East pipe dreams
08/05/02: Bugs Bunny, one of the leading intellectuals of his time?
05/23/02: The SAT's the thing
05/10/02: America's newest victims: Persons of Density
04/25/02: On Being Whiteballed: Why my novel is nowhere near your bookstore
04/11/02: Why profs fear testing
03/31/02: If you cannot attack a position on "straightforward logical grounds," what grounds remain? Welcome to Columbia U
03/21/02: Last week, in case you missed it, was a banner week for cheese
03/01/02: Black History Month distorts accomplishments

© 2002, Mark Goldblatt