Posts Tagged ‘ Urban ’

The Soul of Hip-Hop

I cannot exclaim how excited I am to add another book about Hip-Hop to my library. Not only will The Soul of Hip Hop sit well next to Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, The Hip Hop Wars, Total Chaos Where You’re At (which I plan to someday review), and  others on my office shelf, it will add vital insight to the rich spirituality and faith within Rap music and, more broadly, hip hop culture. Full disclosure , the author, Daniel Hodge, is a friend of mine and I had the honor to have him for a professors while I was studying in Los Angeles.  Nevertheless, I truly believe this book will – for those to take it seriously – provide a strong apology of the compatibility of hip-hop and Christianity. Additionally, Hodge’s analysis will opens us hip-hop to be understood and approached as a culture – with then all the positives and negatives – rather than just a popular phenomena portrayed within popular media.

I just received by book in the mail this afternoon and it has quickly jumped to the top of my reading list. Anyone interested in understanding the depth of hip-hop and its relationship to faith would do well to pick up this ethnomusicological examination.

To get a glimpse of the book find it on google books and check out Hodge’s article on the Fuller website.

Glen Beck & “White Culture”

Why is it so hard for Beck to define White culture – especially when he says Obama has a hatred of it?

What is “White culture”?

My personal take is that there is “White culture” just like there is “Black culture”. But just as within Black culture, White culture is not monolithic, nor should everyone who is White be stereotyped into a rigid Whiteness.*

An interesting characterization of “White culture” -in the shallow expression of culture** – is the Stuff White People Like Blog and the subsequent book Stuff White People Like: The Definitive Guide to the Unique Taste of Millions. If you haven’t seen either they both contain a list of things that typically White people enjoy: farmer’s markets; bookstores; wine tasting; etc (Our of Ur and Urban Faith posted a interesting article about the potential of small groups being a White Christian thing.)

I actually don’t like the book/website because it is limited and Lander, the creator, is making misinformed generalizations. It is really only touching on one section of White America. I think about lower-class Whites, or blue-collar Whites, or inner-city Whites, or rural Whites, the book/website it isn’t really stuff “White” people like, it is stuff a certain level of educated and socialized White like.

But there is something important in the book/website. It affirms that there is a culture typical to Whites – more appropriately various White cultures within a boarder American experience. White folks who deny that they have a culture and assume that  their actions are universally normal hinder actual multiculturalism, diversity and reconciliation because that perspective naturally color-blinds the world.

But again, it is also dangerous to ignore the diversity within Black and White folks  – as well as Asians, Latinos etc.  We literally make things black and white and don’t examine the variations and blending. So many Black folks have to fight the assumption that we ALL like, fried chicken, rap, baggy jeans, the N-word, basketball etc. and fight Being called “White” when we don’t like those things or happen to like NPR. Also, some white folks fight being called a “wigger” ( a common expression I heard when growing up) when they are genuinely a child of Hip Hop culture.

So I return to the original question, what is “White Culture”?

*The conversation is beyond just  Black/White – but Beck’s comments and interaction with the issue of culture was/is mainly Black/White.

**There are deeper culture values that are help differently in different cultures (i.e. preception of eldery, perception of time, gender roles, role of religion etc.). These are perhaps the real difference that divide folks. Which is why people of different ethnicities seem to be able to increasingly feel capable of working together – a fairly shallow exercise – but struggle with worshiping  and living together.

Why the Olympics Shouldn’t be in Chicago

This whole Olympic prospective is stirring. My wife and I have family in Chicago and Chicago-land as well as a great number of friends in the city. On the exterior, having the Olympics in Chicago would be my obvious desire, but there is perhaps something more.

Madrid and Tokyo are disqualified in my mind. Tokyo already hosted the Olympic games in 1964 and Spain got its turn with Barcelona in 1992. Neither Japan nor Spain really needs to host the Olympics again – at least not yet.  Chicago is a GREAT city. Hosting the Olympics would expose the world to the beauty of the Chi and boost Chicago economically – though I wonder if the needy will actually receive much.  However, didn’t the U.S. just host the Olympics in 1996? Now we are not like Spain, our country is considerable larger in size and in population, but still do we as Americans need to host the games again, so soon? I ask why can’t we share the honor of having the Olympics?

I personally, favor Rio. The Olympics have never been in Brazil and have never been hosted in South America. Beyond that Rio is beautiful – it is on the list of “places I wish to go, but probably won’t”.  I can’t imagine a nicer climate, nicer scenery etc. Plus, the culture of Rio is incredibly rich.

As far as capability, Rio recently hosted the Pan American Games and in 2016 Rio will be coming off an experience being one of the host cities for the World Cup.

But perhaps my biggest reason for wanting Rio to get the nod – beyond the fact South America hasn’t hosted and all the other countries in the final four have hosted – is that Rio is a dichotomous place. There is great difference between the rich and the poor in Rio. As a result there is a high crime rate – especially violent crime. As you read this, you would think that these are reasons NOT to host the Olympics, but perhaps three things will happen.

First, the government of Rio will realize it needs to clean up some neighborhoods and take care of the poor in order to be a proper host.

Second, the increased revenue from the Olympics will be a financial opportunity for some lower class folks – construction, vending, hosting, hotels, etc.

Third, the poverty and injustice of Rio will be greater exposed to the world – specifically to Christians – and we will begin to do something about it.

I am not going to complain if Chicago gets the Olympics.  Honestly, I will probably buy tickets to various events – especially if we end up living in Chicago or in Chicagoland.  But thinking justly; Rio should host.

But I am not making decisions, that will happen in a couple hours . . . who will it be?