Hip Hypocrisy Hop

Posted on Monday, 16th May 2011 @ 09:25 PM by Text Size A | A | A

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Assata Shakur, Zayd Shakur and Sundiata Acoli were pulled over on the New Jersey Turnpike by state troopers Werner Foerster and James Harper in 1973. A gun was discovered in the car, and the three were ordered to step out, and place their hands on their head. The three members of the Black Liberation Army began firing and Acoli, according to testimony from Harper during the trial, shot Foerster with a .38 caliber automatic pistol, then used Foerster’s own gun to “execute him”. The three fled, Zayd Shakur dead or dying and Assata Shakur seriously injured, leaving Foerster dead on the side of the road. It was a horrible crime.
I have never been a black person in America. I have never had to use a different bathroom because of my skin color, I have never had a member of my family killed because they were black. I have never been threatened or beaten because I did not move to allow a white person by. I have no clue what it must have felt like to be black in the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s. And neither does any other Caucasian. We can have empathy and cluck our tongues and read the history books, but we have no idea what it felt like. I have no basis for judging any black person who looks at the above crime and thinks some things may not be what they seem. I wasn’t there, I’m not black, I have no right to say anything. I can only hope that justice was served, and that Mr. Foerster’s family received some closure with the conviction of Acoli.
Our First Lady, Michelle Obama held a poetry celebration at the White House a few days ago, and among the notable poets, lyricists and writers invited, was a man with the stage name of Common. Common is a hip hop artist, an actor, write, poet and philanthropist, who gives time and money to numerous children’s causes. The poem he read was gentle and beautiful, filled with hope and joy. And it was completely overshadowed by a song he wrote years ago about Assata Shakur.
Fox News, especially, went completely insane with this information, calling him a “cop killer” a supporter of “cop killers”. Assata Shakur did not murder trooper Werner Foerster, Sundiata Acoli did. Acoli is 73 years old and still in prison. He will never be released. So, how is Common writing a song about the feelings he has regarding the treatment of Assata Shakur supporting a “cop killer”? It’s not. However, Ted Nugent, whom Sean Hannity considers a friend and defends with every breath, screamed out during a concert, while waving a machine gun in the air “Obama-suck on this!” Nugent then invited Hillary Clinton to ride one. Sean Hannity was one of the many members of the Fox News cavalcade of talent who called Common a supporter of cop killers, they interviewed New Jersey state troopers, who all said that President Obama and Michelle Obama inviting a “cop killer” supporter like Common to the White House was an insult to police all over America. Huh. So, when Richard Nixon deputized an extremely stoned Elvis Presley, was that a slap in the face to the BNDD (Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs)? Or the US Marshalls? When Eazy-E showed up at a White House dinner, and met George Bush, what did that say to police officers? Especially since Eazy-E had a song actually ABOUT killing cops. Or Ozzy Osborne, who visited George H. W. Bush in the White House. Or the medal awarded Johnny Cash who sang about shooting his “woman” and killing a man just to watch him die. Eric Clapton’s been to the White House and he has a song simply titled “Cocaine”.
For God’s sake. Jobs? Nope. 916 laws and bills written specifically to endanger the health and welfare of women. A flipping week of Fox talent calling Common a cop killer supporter, and saying it was “tacky” (pot meet kettle) for the First Lady to invite him to participate in this celebration of poetry. Hannity defending Ted Nugent. Not one peep about Johnny Cash or Elvis Presley. What is the blaring difference in each of these situations? We now have an African American president. Or, as one congressman called him, an “urban” president. Or as many, many Tea Party sign holders have called President Obama, “the porch monkey”, the “lyin’ African”, the “ni**er in chief”, etc. Common goes to the White House, and suddenly President Obama hates cops.
Look, I realize that the right wing has no idea we’ve broken their code. They have no clue that we know what “ethnocentrism” is. (It’s the belief that your race is better than everyone else’s.) We know what you mean by “rural”, or “birth certificate” or “un American”. We get it. You mean black. I’ve been screamed at (well, in a virtual sense) for articles I have written about Grady Warren, and the blatant racism of the right. Scream away. What happened the days before, the day of, and the days following Common’s appearance at the White House is proof that when a WHITE president invites a stoned rock star to the White House to pretend to be a Deputy Marshall and honorary member of the BNDD, there are photos circulated calling both Nixon and Elvis “great Americans”. When a WHITE president bestows a medal upon a man who sang about death and drugs and murder, it’s cool because it’s Johnny Cash. When Ted Nugent invited two presidential candidates to eat his gun, that’s freedom of speech. When President and Mrs. Obama invite, among many poets and artists, Common, to the White House, it’s practically treason. Here’s a thought. Why doesn’t the right stop bitching that we have an African American president, and tell their elected Tea Party officials to create some damn jobs. Maybe we can write a poem about it later.


Erin Nanasi

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