Friday, September 5, 2008

I Am Whatever You Say I Am

Biggie Smalls is not the greatest rapper of all time. Far from it. Biggie only had 2 albums and most of the content encompassed sex, guns, violence and partying. If I had to crown an emcee with that coveted title, I would have to give it to Eminen. Marshall Mathers is a lyrical juggernaut with numerous multi platinum offerings boasting varying arrays of subject matter (including but not limited to sex, guns, violence and partying). Not only has Em had to overcome reverse racism, he is also from an area not commonly associated with hip hop, making his ascent that much more admirable. Also, Prince, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix are more or less average artists. Marvin Gaye especially annoys me. Marvin sang like his testicles were under constant duress. All in all, these guys were just not my cup of tea.

The prior paragraph was meant to be inflammatory but it always amazes me how generally accepted views are perpetuated specifically because said advocate’s values are inherited. “I am a Democrat / Republican and I will support whomever the party presents as most qualified”. I am personally unaware of anyone who has ever crossed party lines. Now is it mathematically feasible that all republicans and democrats progress their respective parties agenda at all times? Surely there are democrats longing for fiscal conservatism and republicans who view marriage as a union between a man and whatever the hell that man wants to marry (goats included). Perspective defines our identities and makes it difficult to relinquish ideals, even when those ideals are to our detriment (knowingly or unknowingly). Is it any wonder then why longstanding conflicts arise and persist simply because of contrasting views? I am not sure who is “right” in the Middle East conflicts but I do know that people have been dying for centuries in the name of land they did not create, do not own, and cannot take with them.

Were I a plantation owner in the 18th century, not only would I consider slavery an extremely practical business model, I would’ve probably led the opposition against emancipation. Once you convince yourself you are not dealing with a human being, slavery is comparable to purchasing a tractor to till your soil. We have all secretly fantasized about having our needs tended to by others while the harem feeds us grapes so are we really anti oppression or the moral indignation associated with the act? And if moral practices are man made, who’s to say they were right and just at point of origination? Because I am black, I have to disagree with slavery and its practices or run the risk of being ostracized. If I belonged to another race however, I may not be that staunchly opposed.

Why is it I entered college with medical aspirations and my older brother ended up in law school? A Nigerian doctor or lawyer is about as groundbreaking as an Irish police officer. No offense to my doctor / lawyer friends and family who I am sure will diminish in number as I continually reference them as case studies. It just seems like Nigerians are to those professions what Kenyans are to marathons. Unlike residents of Kenya however, I am not aware of any geographical predispositions that render Nigerians more adept @ litigation and or brain surgery (although arguments between my mom and I growing up could simultaneously induce an aneurism and garner tears of admiration from the Supreme Court). Much like our East Indian counterparts, I believe our career aspirations are indicative of an inherently generational status driven desire to appease our distant imperialist cousins.

Our opinions / values are representative of our assigned identities and a majority of beliefs we subscribe to are learned. Few seem able to transcend or rebuke what they’ve been taught versus what they know to be true. If one cannot relinquish destructive beliefs for fear of identity loss, how can clarity ever come into existence? Several publications, religions, and movies all resonate this message (Matrix, Fight Club, Buddhism, A New Earth to name a few) but we can only embrace these messages once we come to our own realizations. The question forever remains; Red or blue pill?


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