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“It is of vital importance to be careful of what goes into the subconscious mind. Words and thoughts that are repeated often get stronger by the repetitions, sink into the subconscious mind and affect the behavior, actions and reactions of the person involved.” -Remez Sasson-

Blacks are not exempted from this process –UVCC-

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What do BET, VIACOM, and the hip-hop culture have in common? the snowballing trend toward promoting promiscuity, emphasizing material gain, and encouraging self-destructive behavior and attitudes. These same trends have been conveyed in BET’s “Read a Book” video.

The “Read a Book” video promotes a desire to instill healthy values in a particular age group. The video’s primary purpose is to encourage children to read books, practice excellent hygiene, and invest in real estate. Although this is a commendable and much-needed intervention by the hip-hop world, the packaging—approach—and satirical presentation of the video causes deep concern.

Over the past, almost three decades, pride, dignity, and self-respect have been absent in much of hip-hop music, particularly in rap songs. Self-respecting values have been substituted for unrelenting profanity, glamorizing violence, and debasing women—all of which reinforce the historical intent of the n-word. The same copious use of profanity and sex consumes the “Read a Book” video. The civility, elevating and uplifting of one’s mind is being overridden with self-mutilating and degrading attitudes and behaviors.

One may ask why BET and VIACOM are promoting this kind of self-destructing, mental genocide throughout the African-American community. In a statement, BET said, “This video is a great example of how animation can convey complex messages with great clarity and humor. It’s a brilliantly done satire and we greatly trust that our audience will find the humor and message in the piece.” BET, which supposedly represents the pride of a culture, finds no problem in the piece. The racially-offensive and provocative composition is poorly delivered and condescends the African-American community.

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The African-American community is not the only victim of these obnoxious, mind-manipulating abuses. Back in the mid-90s, Michael Jackson attempted to use the “H-“ and “K-words” in one of his songs. The Jewish community was up in arms. First Amendment rights or not, they were not going to tolerate such disrespect.  Jackson abided by their wishes, removed the words and tendered an apology.

Additionally, rap lyrics have contained messages directed toward killing the police and abusing the President of the United States. These groups realize the inherent disrespect conveyed through song lyrics, and refuse to tolerate any such contempt.

In the end, though, the only group that has not elected to fight for their pride and respect, but to tolerate, permits, and find humor in completely disrespectful acts, is the African-American group. Accepting and promoting glorification of violence, sex, drugs, and profanity as a lifestyle leads to an unhealthy, broken and unproductive environment. This same acceptance and rationalizing with defiling behaviors and attitudes serves as a breeding ground for trouble, despair, discord, discontent and afflictions of grave consequences.

Studies show the condition of poor, young black men has worsened in the past decade despite the generally strong economic conditions of the 1990s. According to the Justice Department, the ranks of professional black men have exploded over four decades—78,000 black male engineers in 2004, a 33 percent increase in 10 years. However, 840,000 black men are incarcerated, and the chances of a black gender serving time have nearly tripled in three decades.

A black man is six times more likely than a white man to be slain; the trend is most stark among black men 14 to 24 years old. In 2002, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that African-American men were implicated in a quarter of the nation's homicides, and accounted for 15 percent of homicide victims. During this same period, black males accounted for a mere 1.2 percent of the population.

Though the hip-hop culture may not be the sole cause of these problems, it is certain that the culture promulgates, cultivates, and contributes to the self-mutilating behaviors, attitudes, and lifestyles of the African-American community.

Language has been and remains an effective means to marginalize minorities. Consider the persistent and incessant use of the n-word. The term is a discreet, deceiving form of psychological, social, and spiritual abuse; the n-word desecrates the sacred memories of hard-fighting African-American ascendants. After almost 400 years of conditioning, a community of people have become immune to, or accepted, the adverse implications and negative effects the term, and all it encompasses, imposes on their mind state, and ultimately their life’s success.

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For more than 250 years, blacks in America were physically subjugated.  Fast forward to the 21st Century though the physical chains of subjugation have been removed, the mental chains remain intact. The road to true freedom passes through the hallow halls of a healthy, wholesome and invigorating mind-set. Such a mind set must be fed and nourished with uplifting thoughts, which elevate one’s mind.

Certain aspects of the hip-hop culture do not uphold the intrinsic value of the African-American community nor do they respect its rich and rewarding history. Rather, this part of the culture and its ideals steer a large number of black youth down a dead-end path of self-destruction. BET, VIACOM and the hip-hop culture must be immediately made aware of their mistake and the serious effects it has on the African-American community.

A greater appreciation for what the mind can achieve and overcome must be enacted. The minds of blacks are just as fertile as any other; however, failing to understand the seriousness and consequences of what’s fed into the subconscious precipitates a recipe for a downtrodden, oppressed and tyrannized form of existence. 


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H. Lewis Smith is the Founder/CEO of the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc. and the author of the book Bury that Sucka, A Scandalous Love Affair With the N-word.

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