Daily Archives: January 18, 2010

The Beat Goes On With Pants On The Ground

I thought I posted this before” The View” came on but just as I was about to post my doorbell rang. When I logged on around 1:30 pm I realized it hadn’t posted. Evidently I missed the program today. They had the General on as a guest. If anyone reads this and knows if ” The View” can be accessed by computer, please let me know. I’d love to see the show.

It turns out, according to Maxine who called me about this, the General was an activist who actually marched with King. The kids should listen to a man like this. He knows how hard it was. I regret missing the show.  

Isn’t modern communication fantastic? This 62 yo man auditions one week for American Idol, somehow getting by anyone who might ask his age, and a few days later,  Brett Favre, who led his team in a bulldozer ride over the Cowboys on Sunday January 17, sings it in the locker room after the game.

Now, any time someone feels the need to gloat over becoming the victor will sing this song and it will become an international put down sung in every language.

We have gone from needing years to spread a song to needing a few hours or at the most a few days. Simon on American Idol was right when he said this song could be big. It probably will be.

The “General”, the guy who auditioned with this rap, intends it as a message to all the young men who walk around in defiance of any sense of propriety with their pants hanging down below their backsides.  Brett Favre uses it to put down his opponents during the victory party in the locker room.

The General was singing to a specific audience. The young men to whom he is addressing the song will simply laugh it off and pay no attention to it, or will sing it joyfully, as an anthem of honor, which is a shame because they are not listening to the message. The young have always had their own fashion to set them apart from the older generation, but this style is going too far.

The young men blame society for rejecting them,  but they are not listening to the leaders within their own community when it comes to advice on how to improve their current situation.

Bill Cosby came under attack two years ago when he tried to wake up the community where this style is so prevalent, the inner city youth, primarily African-American, but also Hispanic. He blames the parents for not setting any standards of behavior or dress. Instead of his community agreeing with him, they attacked him for airing the dirty laundry in public.

In a 2008 interview, Cosby mentioned Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Oakland, Detroit and Springfield, Massachusetts as some of the cities where crime was high and young African-American men were being murdered and jailed in disproportionate numbers. Cosby stood his ground against criticism and affirmed that African-American parents were continuing to fail to inculcate proper standards of moral behavior.[35] Cosby still lectures to black communities (usually at churches) about his frustrations with certain problems prevalent in underprivileged urban communities such as taking part in illegal drugs, teenage pregnancy, Black Entertainment Television, high school dropouts, anti-intellectualism, gangsta rap, vulgarity, thievery, offensive clothing, vanity, parental alienation, single-parenting and failing to live up to the ideals of Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the African American ancestors that preceded Generation X. Cosby criticizes those African Americans who associate his ideals with race treachery.

When I was teaching, I felt compassion for the children who had those older boys as role models. Some of them could not wait until they joined the gangs who dressed like that. To them it was a symbol of pride. Thankfully, the schools had started to instill dress codes so at least during school hours the kids had to keep their pants pulled up.

Maxine usually calls at least once a day. She was right on time right in the middle of this blog. She asked what my blog was about and she reminded me that how a child appears dressed on the outside does not always reflect how they are on the inside. I agreed with her, because that is true, but when a young man goes in for a job interview, the Human Resources director does not take the time to try to  find the nugget of good on the inside. Last week on PBS a man who was addressing this same topic said the same thing. I’m sorry I don’t remember his name. He was saying the young men had to gain enough sense to know when their attire was offensive and would not land them the job.

Maxine also reminded me of the fad of boys wearing long hair. Both of her boys followed that style in middle school and high school and both of her boys, now in their middle and late 40s are doing quite well in their careers. She seems to think that this method of dressing will pass and something else will replace it. The relatives of her sons thought they were both going to roast in hell, and yet they survived. Of course they didn’t have to contend with all the other stuff in their lives that the pants-dragging young men contend with on a daily basis. They had parents to guide them until they more closely fit the norms of society.

This too shall pass. The pants, at some point, will come back up, the gold will not be as prevalent in mouths, the hats won’t be worn sideways,  and, according to Cher, “the beat  goes on”.

The young eventually reach the age when they no longer feel a need to rebel. However, in the communities where this fashion is prominent, other factors combine to produce this generation where the death rates are so high. The attitude of the dragging pants  will take its toll among the young men at an extreme price.  Those attitudes come with a high mortality rate. Hopefully, someone will reach these young men in time.

In the meantime, the bodies of King and Chavez are probably wearing out at an extremely high pace from all the rolling around they are doing in their graves. They did not put themselves on the line so that the next two generations could behave the way they are now. Hopefully, this too shall pass and King and Chavez can finally get some rest. Namaste. Attic Annie


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