Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hip-Hop, Mass Media Talking Points # 7

I was assigned to read Part 1 of Jared Ball's article.

On the first page of "Hip-Hop, Mass Media and 21st Century Colonization", Jared Ball speaks of Hip-Hop as improperly portraying a "Black America" as a form of colonization. Ball says that there are three main components to this internal "colony":

1. Black people remain in spatially distinct communities such as neighborhoods or projects.

2. Within these projects, the Black population form the basis of America's cheap labor.

3. Raw materials which include cultural expression and specifically Hip-Hop.

The above-mentioned three tenets of this "Black America," as Ball puts it, is a way of intentionally creating conditions of poverty and desperation that Hip-Hop tends to glorify through its own sub-culture.

So, how does this all relate to me, a 32 year-old white male? Well, I've been a teacher in Providence for the past four years and I really like (sometimes Love) what I do and whom I teach. Prior to this year, I had taught at Oliver Hazard Perry Middle School which is directly across from "The Hartford Projects" on Hartford Avenue. The school was nearly 80 years old and the caliber of students and parents whom I dealt with were definitely on the poorer side. The reason I mention this is because Perry closed this past year and some of the students who would have returned to Perry were transferred over to DelSesto Middle School, as was I. The amazing thing is that DelSesto is less than one mile down Hartford Ave, but it is on the Johnston line rather than the Projects end and believe it or not, that makes a big difference in the student population. Even though some of the same kids from Perry are at DelSesto, it's an entirely different atmosphere- it's "NOT AS POOR." The question is, "Why?" I've pondered the reasons and have even conversed about it with fellow teachers who also made the trek from Perry to DelSesto with me, and we've arrived at a couple of possibilites:

1. Newer School
2. Closer to Johnston= closer to affluence
3. Away from "The Projects"

So, now that I have read a little bit about Hip-Hop and Ball's take on it, it seems a little clearer that it may be a combination of #'s 2 and 3?


  1. Ron!
    we had the same article, I liked how you found a way to relate this article to your own life. I dont think I would be able too? Ball is able to persuade the reader into believeing that it is actually all intentionally done.

  2. Great way to relate this to your own life.

  3. I definately agree with Dante. the relationship to your real life is a great example