Hip Hop Patriots

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One of the richest spectacles in the Trent Lott meltdown was watching the vanguard of racial tolerance suddenly occupied by people who under normal circumstances never miss a chance to point out that blacks account for 30% of crime statistics, are over-represented in prison, under-represented in college, and so on and so forth. So consider this statistic, which somehow you never happen to hear from the same sources:

Plenty of critics have suggested that there's a direct correlation between gangsta rap and crime—it glamorizes and normalizes murder, misogyny, and drug-dealing, and so it ultimately causes these things as well. And crime statistics provide a sympathetic backdrop for such theories. "African-Americans are 13 percent of the population but account for 30 percent of all the arrests, according to the FBI," O'Reilly reported to his audience a few years ago. (06/22/99)

But there's another statistic that generally gets less play in the media: black overrepresentation in the armed forces. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, blacks make up 29% of the U.S. Army—and come to think of it, loyalty, bravery, and self-defense are common themes in gangsta rap. But does anyone ever accuse gangsta rappers of inciting a patriotic desire to serve one's country?

This is from Soundbitten's detailed biopsy of Bill O'Reilly's war on hip-hop. This is the O'Reilly opus Greg Beato has been working toward since he covered the skirmish between O'Reilly and Ludacris (the one where O'Reilly named would-be Nobelist Chubby Checker as a rapper). Highlights in this piece include O'Reilly's admission that he's never heard of C. Delores Tucker, his fondness for decapitation rocker Alice Cooper, his obliviousness to rap's spectactular capitalist achievements, and his truly perverse objections to Serena Williams.

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  1. Thanks for the link to soundbitten. Extremely well-documented and well-reasoned defense that places the whole of hip-hop in a context in which it seems not very different from the rest of our culture. And certainly not worthy of the extended and decontextualized demonizing of it (hiphop)that the baboon O’Reilly continues to practice for the sake of garnering ratings. He’s doing it by preying on white fear, no doubt. The Serena Williams thing is just bizarre.

  2. The fact that O’Reilly is a blowhard, first class, does not change the fact that rap is God-awful. Where are the guitar gods of today, alas?

  3. Bill “Lonesome” O’Reilly with egg on his face, eh? About time. This clown is the real-life version of Andy Griffith’s character in Elia Kazan’s classic film, “A Face In The Crowd.” Here’s hoping B.O. goes the way of Lonesome Rhodes…

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