6 Derailment Tactics Used To Silence Criticism of Hip Hop/Rap
1) “It’s not the ONLY thing that is misogynist!” Now this one cuts two ways since it is in the vested interest of White supremacy to pretend that rap and Black men, by proxy, are the only men capable of misogyny. This racism is more see thru than Saran Wrap since we live in a White supremacist capitalist patriarchal society. It’s a rape culture. Misogyny is everywhere. HOWEVER, even when a person (especially a Black woman) is providing nuanced critique and she is silenced with the "well ‘everything’ is misogynist, so might as well applaud misogyny in rap" statement, it is unacceptable.
2) “You didn’t critique it ‘before!’” No. YOU did not listen before. Further, to pretend that people were not bothered by certain hip hop or rap songs prior to social media because people did not “see” their tweets since Twitter did not exist or because they did not blog is so ridiculous. There were AOL chats, conversations, papers for school, discussions among friends, and curating choices to find hip hop and rap artists or songs that did not make people feel as attacked. There are writers like dream hampton who provided nuanced critique on hip hop for decades. There are plenty of Black women whose opinions were IGNORED until this Rick Ross moment, and now some people are angry because there are Black men who are ALSO not pleased about Ross and are anti-rape culture as well. Patriarchy, sexism and misogynoir are why Black women’s outrage means less unless Black men are involved as well.
3) “But ‘evil warlords’ ‘over there’ are raping women and that is worse than song lyrics!” Because American imperialism is “spreading democracy” and any rejection of it is “terrorism,” yes? Please. I wrote about the “othering” of evil when it comes to rape. It is SICKENING how some American men and women can pretend like men who rape in “third world” countries are savages but men who rape in America are either being lied on or gave a woman what she “deserved.” Further, I can walk and chew gum. I can speak against rape culture on a multitude of planes, as I have always done. Rape culture involves art (i.e. song lyrics, comedians), media (i.e. shaping news stories to favor the rapist not the victim), the police (i.e. the low arrest rate of rapists, victims forced to recant) the government (i.e. anti-choice, misogynist legislation), citizens (i.e. the culture of victim blaming here) and so many more facets. I discuss them often. The LIE that people like me “just” got mad about Rick Ross and rape is willful ignorance.
4) “If we (as in Black people) don’t ‘stick together’ on this, White people will judge us!” FUCK the White gaze, first of all. Secondly, what kind of nonsense is it that I should applaud Black men raping and destroying Black women’s lives (and their own lives in the process) in the name of some twisted form of hatred, that people have mistaken for “unity” and “love?” To prove what to White supremacy? That we enjoy destroying each other so that they don’t have to bother (though they always bother to), and then them “not having to bother” is equated with “respect” for us?
5) “Well Black women buy rap too, so that means that they accept anything a rapper says at any time.” As I wrote in Critiquing Hip-Hop/Rap Music - When The Call For Nuance Is A Call For Silence, "Many Black women have just as much difficulty completely divorcing themselves from some Black music that is misogynist as they do from some Black men who are misogynists. This cultural difficulty is not permission for rape or violence." Certainly living in a patriarchal society means that regardless of race, both men and women can proliferate patriarchal ideals, as bell hooks explains so eloquently in Understanding Patriarchy. It impacts all of us. The idea that I endlessly applaud rape if I listen to any rap music at all is ridiculous and inherently White supremacist (as I allude to in #1). Further, some of these phony “conscious” rappers have suggested by not engaging in capitalism in the way that they suggest (buying their music) means that we condone rape in “mainstream” music. It never occurs to these limited, either/or thinkers that some people own BOTH styles of hip hop and rap or NEITHER. NOT buying their music and making them as rich as mainstream artists does NOT mean that Black women or Black people overall are all applauding rape culture.
6) “Your outrage is ‘fake!’” How is this determined? By looking at my static Twitter avatar? What is “real” outrage? Whatever someone with privilege decides it is? I read Pedagogy of The Oppressed and hundreds of similar texts, so I know about this game already. Further, the claim of “fake outrage” is a SILENCING tactic where a response is critiqued to get the person not to speak up AND to re-instill the idea that only “appropriate responses” are acceptable ones, especially when what is “appropriate” is always deemed to be silence and nothing else.
Like I wrote before, I am not interested in all hip hop and rap, all Black men or all Black people being thrown under the White supremacist capitalist patriarchal bus where we are the scapegoats for all the ills of society. Why would I want this unless I did not love myself, my culture and my people? I do. But…I am not going to sit quietly in the name of Black patriarchy and pretend as if taking a nuanced look at some of the art and media that we consume and that is created can’t ever be done, regardless of the reasons against it—whether worry over the White gaze, protection of the status quo, which includes rape culture, or intraracial “loyalty” to destructive misogynoir, homophobia, classism, and patriarchy.
All love starts with nuanced critique. All nuanced critique starts with love. I am not interested in hatred…or silence.