Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dangerous librarians

Is this a gang sign?

Anytime we run a story about rap music in the paper, some extremely white people in Columbus get very upset. Mainly, they seem to have noticed -- and I don't want to alarm anyone with this, but -- most rap stars appear to be black. Or extremely tan. Seriously, someone actually explained that they weren't racist because they'd met "one or two good black people." Convinced me.

Now, I hate rap music about as much as the next extremely white guy, but, hey, to each his own. I also hate classical music, but I don't complain when Yo-Yo Ma comes to town his big ol' upright bass and the giant fiddle bow.

Most interesting among the complaints was about this photo of Yung Joc, who is one of the rappers appearing along with T.I. at the Civic Center on Friday night. He said we knew what this photo meant and what it stood for. We said, er, no we didn't.

"It's a gang sign!" he said. "There's gonna be a drive-by shooting now."

Well, I never knew that about the "shh" sign. Those librarians back home who flashed this gang sign at me often during my school days must have really shot some folks up around Macon County. So, to Mrs. Etheridge and Mrs. Martin, I apologize for every time y'all had to flash that gang sign at me. I swear, if I'd have known y'all were that dangerous, I'd have kept my mouth shut.

Man, if Columbus would just book more hip acts like Barry Manilow, these kinds of controversies would never come up in the first place.

1 comment:

Bebe Bahnsen said...

Good post. I grew up in Americus (centuries ago) when racism was indescribably awful. Years of living other places, mostly in Atlanta and In D.C., made it possible for me to hope that we were getting beyond the worst stereotypes. Columbus, I must say, has the worst racial relations (I could find a better phrase but I'm lazy) I've encountered since childhood. Keep up the good work of reminding folks that we can and must do better.