I have been thinking about the resistance to the idea that words influence actions in general violence in particular.
In reality, the repetition of words is arguably one of the most powerful forces on earth.
Is there a connection between the ways in which rappers and Tea Party members use violent words, and how these words normalize violence against specific groups of people? It is certainly a question worth thinking about.
For example, last December, I along with Crunktastic, Crunk Feminists rep hard, wrote blog posts about Jay Electronica joking about choking women during sex during his concerts, his twenty thousand dollar bet with rapper Nas on whether “all women liked being choked during sex”, his silencing of dissent around the topic at his concerts and how this kind of rhetoric serves to normalize the conditions under which sexual violence occurs to women.
I had to block two people after I wrote that. They were incensed that I made the connection. On the other hand, many Americans don’t feel that there is a connection between Sarah Palin’s words and the violence that occured in Arizona recently either.
Interestingly Davey D wrote on a post on this topic as well in a post titled “If Rappers Can Take the Heat for Inflammatory Rhetoric, Why Can’t Sarah Palin.” I am not certain that rappers “take the heat” for their language. At least not in a public and sustained way since 2 Live Crew. Oh wait, there ways Nelly and Tip Drill…
In trying to figure out why people think about defending positions they know or suspect are dead wrong, I ask myself, “what is their investment in the argument?”
Some people identify with rap music or The Tea Party so, to criticize either feels like you are criticizing them personally.
When talking about ideas and how they shape violence, what we are really talking about is our own willingness to acknowledge how we are complicit in that violence.
Words are powerful, and if you think they aren’t watch what happens when a grown White man calls a grown Black man a “Nigger.” #ummhmm.
Honestly, it was refreshing to see a conversation outside of the feminist blogosphere, where folks were talking about the harm of violent rhetoric.
What responsibility does a person, who has a large speaking platform, have for their language?
Why is it so easy for young men and women to see it as an issue when it comes to race but when it comes gender (men and women) they short circuit?