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December 01, 2004

We Need More Rap By Rich White People

A friend of mine grew up in Chester, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Chester is mostly African American, although many of the police are white.

My friend once told me a story about a time he went to a McDonald's and all the (black) kids behind the counter were talking about a big police raid the night before. "Man," one of the kids said, "the police were after them like Israelis after Palestinians."

Ha ha! Excellent. We see yet again how people with less power are usually more politically sophisticated than 99% of those with money and white skin.

I thought of my friend's story when I read this BBC article that mentions a right-wing Israeli rapper calling himself "MC Subliminal." I'm going to run right out and get his album, because history teaches us the best art comes from the most powerful members of any society. After all, who can forget the seminal rap album, Straight Outta Darien, Connecticut?

MC Subliminal is a descendant of this proud lineage, with his clever wordplay about how Israel is "still dangling like a cigarette in Arafat's mouth." Wow! That works on so many levels! For instance, there's... well, at the moment I can't think of any level on which that works. Unless he means Arafat was addicted to Israel and it finally killed him. But I'm sure the depths of Subliminal's skillz will soon become apparent to us all, unless he has to take time out from his career to pilot attack helicopters over Gaza. And even then he can write a song about it, a song which will speak deeply to all of us who pilot attack helicopters.

Posted at December 1, 2004 08:14 AM | TrackBack

"Ha ha! Excellent. We see yet again how people with less power are usually more politically sophisticated than 99% of those with money and white skin."

That was sarcasm right? You can't be serious, especially based on what the kid behind the counter said.

Posted by: Jon Davison at December 7, 2004 08:24 PM


First, my compliments on your first name.

Second, I am indeed 100% serious. People with less power anywhere are generally far more sophisticated about how their society and the world works. And what that kid said was, while not exactly right in every particular, was far more astute than almost anything written about Israel/Palestine in the elite US media.

Let me give you another example. During the run up to the invasion of Iraq, I had a job where I researched the WMD question. I sort of went nuts, and learned every last detail about it. Once I was absolutely certain I was right, I bet someone $1000 that Iraq had no WMD.

I was really proud of myself. I started telling everyone I know about how smart I was, and how I was going to take this guy for $1000.

Without exception, everyone I know who's white thought I was crazy to make the bet, because Iraq obviously had WMD. Everyone I know who's black didn't see what the big deal was, because they thought it was obvious Iraq had nothing.

One person I told was this friend from Chester. He's black. And as I started going into detail about all this incredible research I'd done, he said: "Uh huh. I figured that out too. Except I researched it by sitting on the couch and eating Cheetos."

I was irked by this, because I wanted recognition for being so smart. I asked him: "But -- but how can you think that without really examing the issue in all its different facets, and, and..."

There was a long pause. Then he said:

"Wow. You're REALLY white."

Do see get the point of this?

Having less power, having the crap kicked out of you for 500 years by the people who run America, makes you realize these people lie ALL THE TIME. But if you have more power (in my case, if you're white and middle class), you've been treated nicely enough you become blind. Even when there's a giraffe standing right in front of you, you can only figure out it's a giraffe if you carry out a detailed study.

In retrospect, it's AMAZING anyone is surprised Iraq had nothing. All you needed to know was US history, and to have some common sense. But people with more power generally don't know any history and don't have the sense god gave a walnut.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at December 8, 2004 04:22 AM

Although it seems your "review" is somewhat one-sided, you do bring up some very valid points, which made me think twice. Do you write about random issues like this often? I just might bookmark this page..

Posted by: Johnny Dandolla at February 13, 2005 08:03 PM

definitely check out DAM, the other rap group mentioned in the article...


Posted by: david at March 4, 2005 08:11 PM

I don't get what the f**k u people r talkin about but u ain't makin no sense, f****t **s white b***h

Posted by: at August 1, 2005 02:02 PM

wow...why would you even take the mother fuckin time out of your life to write this

Posted by: at August 29, 2005 09:16 PM