Dr Boyce Watkins: Ferguson police want to kill your son, but not as much as some rappers

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Updated: August 24, 2014
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by Dr Boyce Watkinsdr

As our community seeks to understand the tragedy that occurred in Ferguson, Missouri, this might be a chance to reflect on the life of the black male in America. We all want black men to survive, and most of us are sick of police coming into our neighborhoods, disrespecting us in front of our children and shooting us like dogs in the street. That is what drove the outrage in the police shooting of Michael Brown, the killing of Eric Garner and also the death of Trayvon Martin. In all three cases, you have people from outside of the black community using tactics that are designed to promote the terrorism and extermination of young black men. Most of the time, when black men die, nobody cares.

We can agree that this is a problem, and (using Malcolm’s words) all terrorists should be taken out by any means necessary.

But there are other terrorists from outside our community who do far more damage than George Zimmerman or the Ferguson Police Department ever could. They consist of mostly white media outlets who earn billions of dollars promoting black death, destruction and chaos with no accountability. I’m talking about companies like Clear Channel, who play the same violent music all over the country, promoting and bragging about the genocide of young black men.

wwI’m also talking about companies like BET, owned by a big white corporation called Viacom. These are the companies that give awards to artists who rap about all the Michael Brown lookalikes who’ve had their heads blown off, all for the sake of “keeping it gangsta.” The same way that a cop of often brainwashed to have an irritable and itchy trigger finger that could instantly lead him to murder a black man, we have millions of young black being brainwashed by music to explode and blow another black man’s brains out if he accidentally steps on his Air Yeezys.

Don’t believe me? Ask yourself: Why would BET, Clear Channel and other networks promote an artist (Lil Wayne is the example here, but he’s not the only one) with lyrics like these?

Check out this verse from the song “Gunwalk” (there are others too):

Uh, fuck that nigga, ho ass nigga
Leave that nigga with a toe tag nigga
Barrel so long, you can pole dance, nigga
Run up in ya house, where the dope at nigga
Murder she wrote on a notepad nigga
Light that nigga up, smoke that nigga
Stomp that nigga, roast that nigga
I walk around with this shotgun
And this bitch bigger than me nigga
Don’t open up yo fuckin’ mouth
Cause I’ll pull the trigger like teeth nigga
Shoot ‘em up, then leave niggadd
I smell summer’s eve nigga
We shoot first, it’s better
To give than receive nigga

Now ask yourself another question: If these were lyrics being recited by the head of the Ferguson Police Department, would you stil dance to them?  What if a white police officer, as a fan of hip-hop, were reciting lyrics like these on his way to work every morning?  Would it make him more or less likely to shoot a young black man if confronted by a stressful situation?

Some might say that it’s just music and that music has no impact on the actions of human beings.  Many psychologists I’ve spoken with, including Dr. Monikah Ogando, would beg to differ.  Part of the reason that Madison Avenue spends billions every year on marketing is because they know that the messages we hear in media influence the actions that we take.

When I interviewed the rapper Dee1, who lives among the violence in New Orleans, he said, “When they were playing the music in the car on the way to kill my boy, I know they weren’t listening to long songs or country music.”

dddIs a bullet going through the brain of a young black man more acceptable because it was fired by his own brother? Don’t you think it’s counter productive and downright hypocritical to march, scream and yell about racist police terror, but then sing along to music promoted by racist companies that are seeking to glorify black-on-black terroristic homicide?

Have you noticed that almost no hip-hop artist has taken a prominent stance to speak up on behalf of Michael Brown (Chris Brown and Nelly are exceptions, from what I’ve seen so far), yet they are readily allowed by their corporate masters to produce volumes of music promoting black-on-black murder? How silly we must look to speak up and march when one black man is shot by police, yet remain entirely silent when big corporations are consistently promoting the murder of countless other young black men? Do you think that perhaps the reason the rest of America is insensitive to the death of young black men is because we support artists and companies that love to glorify our genocide? If you don’t give a damn about your own life, then don’t be surprised if no one else does either.

It might be time for us to seriously reflect. The truth is that when you compare the number of black men shot up by police vs. the millions of young black men who’ve been brainwashed to murder each other, there really is no comparison.  Most of this homicide is driven by mostly white companies that either sell the guns we use to kill each other, or make money promoting the music that makes the violence seem cool.  But our sons are the ones who are pulling the triggers, mainly because their parents (us) are not bold enough to speak out about this bullsh*t.

waynessNine times out of ten, a black man doesn’t have to fear the cops as much has he might have to fear his own brother, and that is the unfortunate truth in which we are living. After we march in Ferguson, we might also want to march in front of Clear Channel, BET and other corporations that are proudly promoting black male homicide. Hip-hop has become the ONLY genre of music in existence where so many artists are provided with financial incentives to market the murdering other people within their own ethnic group.

Do you understand how sick this is? Do you realize how silly we look to the world?  Do you realize that this is probably NOT an accident?  Let’s start using our heads.

It’s time to squash this nonsense altogether, it’s getting ridiculous.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the author of the lecture series, “The 8 Principles of Black Male Empowerment.” To have Dr. Watkins commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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