Thursday, October 7, 2010

Music is life. Live a fun one. Listen to...?

Bob Dylan is personally one of my favorite songwriters of this last century. So I am already familiar with both the song and the album it is from. The title, The Times They Are A-Changin’, for Dylan’s third studio album is self-explanatory. Many of the songs are regarding political issues such as racism, poverty and of course social change, hence the title. The song, Only A Pawn In Their Game, speaks about the murder of Medgar Evers, who happened to be the Mississippi leader for the NAACP. Due to one’s ethnic background or even mind-set, one may find it hard to believe how poor white people were victims of discrimination in a different way than blacks were. But if you take a look at my earlier post where I speak about the government being the most influential factor in most if not all of these countries and our own personal issues. The song explains how common poor white people were in a sense, manipulated to enforce white supremacy throughout everyday life alleviating, individual political figures, the government, and the laws passed, from the blame. This song, although hard to imagine, should be able to appeal to both audiences, being whites and blacks. Blacks at the time might have been more understanding about the message than whites at the time or even African Americans in our current time. But the audience who should really listen and critically analyze the message this song is telling are the ones it speaks of, poor whites. The problem is that most of time they are just to brain washed, for lack of a better word, to see things for what they truly are, equal. And if they are taught to hate someone because of their skin color from a young age just the same way we are not given factual information regarding the civil rights movement then they, just as I or better said, we must seek truth on our own rather than confide on someone who we are told, has the credentials to give us “knowledge.” 

Myths, Myths, and more Myths!

I agree with all of the myths Reed points out to. The myths are the following; that the movement was single handedly started by and led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that the movement suddenly and spontaneously emerged out of nowhere, the exaggeration of the role played by whites, and finally that the only real opposition came from ignorant, pot-bellied southern sheriffs who had ties to the Ku Klux Klan. Perhaps the most common myths in my opinion were that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. single handedly started the civil rights movement and that the only opposition came from people who were part of or had ties with the Ku Klux Klan. However, these are vital points that would have completely changed history and peoples mind set.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was more of a spokesman than an actual activist. He spread the word and he was the best at knowing how too. From an early age one learns about this man, his great “I Have a Dream” speech, and many other facts but what we don’t learn about or at least hear much of is the role African American women, students, and over all common working people played. It is of importance to challenge this myth because it is these types of myths that help us lose sense of our self. If we learn of only an important leader, such as Dr. King Jr., to have single handedly led such an important and radical movement it leaves us with the doubt that no one ordinary common folk would be able to. This is the first challenge we, individually must all face but there are more to come.

The second challenge would be that we are taught to think that only the common white population, African Americans would be neighbors, are to blame. How can a civilize white American working for the government not be able to see that segregation is wrong, that the unfair treatment given to blacks even after the civil war is still not civil. The fact is that we are not suppose to question authority, the people who actually allowed the Jim Crow Laws to be enforced and who did not show sympathy towards African Americans. The people who, until they realized how hypocrite they appear to the world fighting against a dictatorship in communist Soviet Union, did not start to give blacks the rights they have now.

The civil rights movement was in actuality, “a fundamentally radical, grassroots, decentralized, mass-based, often women-led movement of thousands of black people (and some white allies) bent on forcing a deeply racist society to grant them freedom, dignity, and economic justice.” (Reed, 5) I believe it is of the most importance to not only challenge these myths but most of what is generally taught to us from a young age, which is written history for us. We are supposed to trust our said teachers because they are suppose to know how to separate truth from myth and educate us with real information. It is not a teacher’s fault that what is written and demanded to be taught in textbooks is not the whole truth but a variation of it. You see, the government knows and was part of the bigger picture and has no intention to educate its people with factual information so that we don’t question them, authority figures. They do it so sleek and cunningly, they make it seem as if they had good intentions and supported blacks the whole time. This is all part of democracy, when “fair” justice is in the hands of not so fair people, mainly politicians, it shifts the power. So instead of democracy actually being democratic, it turns out to be a myth just like what we have learned about the civil rights movement. Democracy really is more a set group of intellectual people controlling the herd, that being us, the general population, in order for us to give consent to certain individuals who we think we voted on based on our current needs, wants, desires. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain

The main challenge for an African American artist in general is “this urge within the race toward whiteness, the desire to pour racial individuality into the mold of American standardization, and to be as little Negro and as much American as possible.” You see, at this point in time African Americans either embraced their culture and color or were ashamed of it. The higher one is on the social pyramid the more likely one is to suppress their “blackness” due to an image they must portray in order to try and fit in amongst whites. This is what occurs after years, decades of racism and then segregation. One becomes detached of oneself, of their culture, tradition, language, beauty and freedom. Starts believing that they, whites, are right and that you deserve every beating or disrespect imaginable. However, this is all wrong, we have it all wrong and we allow this to happen again and again. Perhaps it is not as obvious as before but just think about what is now happening in the United States and immigration laws. People, Hispanics, are being beaten and deported for being “illegal.” But what makes a person illegal? If one were to put politics to the side, nothing would. And in Theme for English B by Langston Hughes as well he says, “Sometimes perhaps you don’t want to be a part of me. Nor do I often want to be a part of you. But we are, that’s true! As I learn from you, I guess you learn from me--“ Many times we don’t comprehend why things are the way they are and certain things are beyond our grasp. We lose sense of what is real, true, but in essence we know many other things. We know we are human, we know we can rationalize and we can understand right from wrong so why not apply it? Why not be “American” and let this land be of the free?