Friday, June 27, 2008

The Hip-Hop Generation

Like the saying goes, never discuss politics at the dinner table, the same could be said of discussing race in politics.

But today is about breaking those taboos and - I hope - creating a safe environment where people can express their views frankly, and in a spirit of unity. We need to be sure that we are on the same page when discussing these issues.

That said, the books I am going to recommend I have read myself and found both illuminating and surprising. If the topic of race and politics in America is interesting to you - for negative OR positive reasons - then I believe you owe it to yourself and to the people you engage with to be informed in as many ways as you can about the topic.

The first book I would like to recommend is The Hip-hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture, by Bakari Kitwana.

In recent debates here on Partybuilder, I have often seen references to "young blacks" and "hip-hoppers." This book delves into the public policies and cultural psychologies of those born between 1965 and 1985.

In this book, author Bakari Kitwana does a brilliant job of laying out compelling and well-researched evidence of racially biased laws, as well as looking frankly at cultural issues like misogyny and self-perception.

Kitwana has also done extensive research on underground economies, and generational differences between those who grew up under the banner of Civil Rights, and those people who grew up in a post civil rights generation.

The book concludes with an eye-opening discussion on the changing forms of activism in a post-civil rights era, and devotes the final chapter to showcasing Hip-hop generation activists and the novel approaches they are using to help our culture progress.

This is en eye-opening book, and may change the way you look at everything from republicans to crack cocaine. It is a must-read for anyone interested in how youth culture - and hip-hop culture in particular - factor into larger cultural issues of economics, class, gender, and race.

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