Wednesday, April 11, 2007

it's a tough job, but ...

I kind of got in trouble with the kids' therapist at work a couple weeks ago. The kids are not supposed to have CDs containing foul language. I confiscated a CD that had the words "nigger" and "bullshit" because it seemed clear it had not been edited properly. I think "bullshit" probably was mistakenly overlooked, but it seems the therapist (who burned the CD for one of the kids) thought it was okay to leave the word "nigger" in one of the songs.

I understand that within the hip-hop culture, "n-----" is not necessarily considered a derogatory term. But by the same token, other profanities, like "f---" and "sh--" are also used in casual conversation and are not considered "rude." While I know it doesn't *sound* right, a large part of what we're trying to do is to teach these children middle-class values.

Of course, middle-class culture comes with its own vices as well as virtues, but it seems that our vices, by and large, do not cause nearly as much damage to the social structure. From a spiritual point of view, it is true, a stereotypical Soccer Mom may be just as much a sinner in God's eyes as a heroine junkie father who beats his 6 year old son and treats him like a slave--in fact, the Soccer Mom may be even more damned because she would never accept the fact that she's a sinner--but at least the Soccer Mom's kid is probably not going to end up in jail for beating his own children to a bloody pulp.

I'm in a pretty pessimistic mood right now because the whole incident with me confiscating the CD has blown way out of proportion in the mind of the severely traumatized and violent 9 year old to whom it belonged. The worst thing about it is that he no longer directs his aggression against staff (like me) but rather, toward a fragile, abused 9 year old girl who knows just how to play the part of victim, oh-so-perfectly. Ugh. What a depressing job. The only way not become totally embittered and filled with sorrow all the time is to deaden one's heart and pretend that it doesn't matter.

1 comment:

BenjyWay said...

I would like to take a moment to point out that the word generally used in hip-hop culture, as you say, is actually spelled "nigga" and in some cases "nikka," as opposed to the derogatory, due to its historical implications, word "nigger."

Incidentally, it's only socially accepted for Black people to say "nigga," though other races, if they feel the need, are allowed to use "nikka" to refer endearingly to their friends/acqaintences.

I certainly don't disagree with you that it's vulgar, but society would say that it is not a profanity unless the "er" is pronounced, which it generally is not, at least in the Hip-Hop and Rap I've heard (quite a bit, as Mariam enjoys it very much.)

Perhaps worse than the use of profanity, however, is the glorification of rape, murder, drug-dealing, infidelity, robbery, drug abuse, and violence which, as I have found, are the essence of most rap.

Which artist(s) and titles were on the CD in question, by the way? Though they're certainly the exception, a lot of raps are actually quite socially uplifting, family-oriented, and well within the bounds of middle-class values.