There is a false belief(mainly propagated by rappers) that hip hop has been a driving force in the decline of racism. I would like to present an argument that this is indeed false. White Americans in this country have a long history of enjoying and appropriating black culture but still maintaining their racist ideologies towards blacks. Let’s have a brief history lesson of black music in America.
Let’s begin with Ragtime. Ragtime which was a precursor to Jazz and arguably the most popular musical genre across the world during the early 20th century. Ragtime began in the late 19th century in African American communities in St Louis. The most popular composer Scott Joplin, who was born in Northeast Texas. Helped to make Ragtime a popular and viable genre. His most famous piece, Maple Leaf Rag (which I advise anyone reading to listen to on YouTube).
Point to be made from this is while Ragtime a black musical art-form was the most popular musical genre of its era, with many of its black musicians being celebrated worldwide(sound familiar). Occurred during the nadir years, the worst period of race relation(post slavery) in this American history. On average, a 100 African Americans were lynched a year, between the years of 1875 and 1920.
Jazz which followed right after Ragtime was the most popular genre in the world, from the 1920s up into the 1930s. The 1920s was, in fact, synonyms with Jazz, with many historians coining this period as the Jazz age. Jazz could be heard from clubs all the way from up in Harlem to Paris to even Tokyo. It perhaps was the first time that American culture began to have a global presence. While many Whites frequent Black establishment(really only in the Northeast cities and a few Midwest cities) you would have been hard press to any Blacks frequenting White establishments.
I bring up Ragtime and Jazz just to illustrate a historical example of White’s enjoying the fruits of African American culture during a period of legalize racism and rampant racial violence(look up the red summer of 1919). Now let’s get into the modern era.
Hip Hop today is a musical genre that is widely consumed around the world. Millions of youth from various ethnic backgrounds have adopted hip hop fashion, language, and many other of its cultural facets for themselves. Hip Hop in itself is a facet of African American culture. originating in poor African American communities in the Bronx. As way for young inner city kids to express themselves.
This brings me to an important topic, the usage of the N-word(or frankly nigga). The word Nigga is just a simple modification of the word Nigger. A derogatory word used against African Americans throughout most of their history in America.
First, there’s the argument that nigga is an entirely separate word from Nigger with its own meaning and context. This is not the case at all. Some will say that nigga is used as a term of endearment, no it’s not! I’ll present you an example of this
Two black men who are friends greeting each other “wats up my nigga” example two an inner city drug deal gone bad “I’m going to kill you nigga” can you figure out the point I’m trying to make.