It's easy for parents to get discouraged. But in an online discussion on washingtonpost.com, Parker argued that her loving, determined "old school" parental pressure on her daughters is more than a match for peer pressure and the popular culture: "I just keep playing my music, reinforcing my lessons, repeating my rhymes. My kids will hear whatever on the streets, but not in their momma's house. Ultimately, it's my voice they'll hear in their heads until they grow old. Ultimately, it's my voice that's more powerful."
A few days later, the Post added another reporter's voice to the mix, another example of a black woman who loves the music, but rejects the reigning message. But Natalie Hopkinson saw it in a different, more racially conspiratorial light. She wrote about how she reacted in horror when a middle-age white female professor of hers said her 5-year-old son Maverick was a fine boy and added, "I just can't wait to watch him grow up and see his wonderful career as a rap star."
The horror was understandable, but the edge of paranoia creeped into the article. Hopkinson didn't think the remark was innocent, but "confirmation" of a "conspiracy to destroy black boys," citing an author named Jawanza Kunjufu. (His book, "Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys," is harsher. He calls it "genocide.")
Seeing in a seemingly innocent and admiring remark a desire to keep black men oppressed -- or worse, dead -- is jaw-dropping. Like Parker, Hopkinson wants to do a balancing act, to raise her son to be proud of black culture without buying "the Foul-Mouth Hip Hop Star CD." But her hostility against whites is nothing like Parker's acknowledgment of a cultural problem raging across the races. Parker noted that white children are just as likely to subsidize and memorize the fouler brands of today's hip-hop.
It might be controversial for mothers to fight for their daughters and their sons from a culture that glamorizes garbage. But fighting against the grain of music that places the stamp of "cool" on violent crime, greed and misogyny is laudable work for mothers and fathers, black and white.
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