LTTE: Ryan Speaker

Apr 222007

First I would like to commend Mr. Speaker on his attempt to make a point. Unfortunately when he approached the topic he allowed his emotions to take away from his journalistic integrity. The Common / Imus comparison was absurd in that Common’s music is by no means sexist or racist. Comparing the cops to Nazi’s was not a racially motivated action.

What was meant by that metaphor is that in the same vein that the Nazi’s attacked the Jewish with reckless abandon is the same way cops attack Black American men in inner city neighborhoods. You may not agree with this reality but fortunately for you it is one you do not live. It has been well documented that cops unfairly target Black American men in inner city neighborhoods with no justification other than the target looked suspicious. For more on this subject I suggest you Google the name Sean Bell of New York City.

As far as Imus’ comments I personally feel that although inappropriate he should not have been fired … so you have a valid concern in that area. Hip-Hop is a misogynistic industry that is controlled by White American men with Black American men as the performers and young White American men as the largest consumers of the music. The double standard of language you speak of has been present in this country for quite a long time. Hip-Hop is simply the scapegoat for the media in times where one person is penalized for language commonly used by another. The ‘N” word should not be used by any person regardless of ethnicity, background, life experiences, etc. because it is a word that has been used to oppress a group of people for hundreds of years. As a Black American male I do not use the ‘N’ word because I don’t believe in the theory that a negative word can be claimed and reused in a positive manner and because I don’t feel that because I am a Black American I have any more right than anybody else to use the word. The word is horrible.

I will address the fact that you counted twenty-seven uses of the ‘N’ word in Common’s BE album and I question that if you were looking for those twenty-seven words did you catch any of the other thousands of uplifting words delivered such as: “Waiting for the Lord to rise/ I look into my daughter’s eyes/ And realize that I’ma learn through her/ The Messiah, might even return through her/ If I’ma do it, I gotta change the world through her.” Those lyrics are from the title track, Be.

Furthermore how can you condemn Jason Green and Sadie Conrad for bringing such language to CSU when such language already exists at CSU. I have been personally called an ‘N’ word on numerous occasions in my collegiate career here in Fort Collins and therefore it was not like Common was saying new offensive words never heard or said by many of the CSU students that are people of color. I understand that you are entitled to your opinion but you owe Jason Green, Sadie Conrad, ASCSU and ASAP an apology for condemning them in their attempt to bring something new and exciting to the campus. The concert was a great experience that not only CSU students enjoyed but also students from all around Colorado. I know of people traveling from Wyoming, Denver, Greeley, and even Colorado Springs to attend this event. I say you showed poor judgment in this opinion column and better luck next time.

Javon Baker


speech communication

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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