Archive for April 12th, 2016

Are short Black men more criminal?

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

 

Over at The Unz Review today, Steve Sailer touched upon/backed into something I’ve often noted but never articulated.

 

By “backing into” my observation, I mean that Sailer is hypothesizing a variable for measuring criminality among Black athletes besides IQ.

 

The post, Wonderlic IQ Test Helps Predict NFL Arrest Rates, concerns a study published by a group of psychological researchers seeking to isolate various data points as predictors of “off-duty deviance in professional settings” for NFL draft picks.

 

Sailer naturally points out that the paper extrapolates the IQ data (in the form of the Wonderlic test) for the purposes of his post, and escalates it a notch by hypothesizing the influence that athleticism, as opposed to IQ, has on criminality. Sailer postulates that athleticism deters criminality in Blacks due to the intrinsic cultural and social rewards and auspicious motivations experienced by high level Black athletes. Since the data tend to be amorphous when it comes to defining “athleticism” in prisoners (a good gauge of criminality), he suggests using height as a proxy.

 

As Sailer isolates height as the stand-in for athleticism, he risks muddling the hypothesis by failing to consider that shorter men, due to social stigmas and self-limitations attendant upon reduced levels of self-esteem that accompany being a short man, makes them more prone to violence and generalized criminal behavior. In other words, maybe height is the reward, not athleticism.

 

And who is more harmed, as an ethnic/racial group by diminutive height than a Black man?

 

Every time I see a very short Black man (like my height or so) I feel bad for him. Talk about getting the raw end of the racial stick! Shortness is not equal. I am short, but I am Mexican, and short Mexicans are a dime a dozen. Being short and being Mexican is not a stigma (within the context of the Mexican cohort, though maybe in American society at large it is); you can be a short Mexican and it’s basically a “whatever” submission to normality. I’m a short Mexican…wow. Hardly a stand out physical feature.

 

But when you see a short Black man, you’re riddled with pity and curiosity. One thing Black men have going for them is their physical prowess and height. A Black man lacking these differentiating physical traits is a spectacle, indeed. Here is a Black man that needs to fend his way cognitively like the rest of us. A short Black man is denatured, gutted of his heritage’s calling. It seems short Black men are not usually the happiest or sanest specimens and they seem to predominate in the local police blotter.

 

Sailer’s methodology in which he seeks to parse out Black athleticism via height as a function of criminality may in fact be measuring another, parallel correlation: the fact that shortness, for the Black man, might be an important conduit to criminality, perhaps superseding low IQ.

 

 

Rock & Roll versus rock ‘n’ roll, apples versus oranges, Ice Cube versus Gene Simmons.

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

 

What is Rock & Roll?

 

Specifically, what is Rock & Roll in the context of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?

 

The unlikely pair of Kiss’s Gene Simmons and NWA’s Ice Cube, two iconic senior musicians, have recently been dueling upon this very point. I support Ice Cube on this crucial matter of public interest.

 

Ice Cube believes rap has a justifiable place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; Gene Simmons, not so much.

 

In fact, Gene Simmons has been quoted as saying that inducting NWA into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is like allowing Led Zeppelin into the Rap Hall of Fame. Which launched a new round of verbal warfare.

 

 

Gene Simmons continues his crusade against the inclusion of rap artists in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, saying he will approve of NWA’s induction only “when Led Zep gets into Rap Hall of Fame”.
His comment follows an ongoing exchange on the definition of rock, between the Kiss guitarist and NWA’s Ice Cube and MC Ren. In his induction speech on 8 April, Ren said: “I want to say to Mr Gene Simmons, hip-hop is here for ever. Get used to it.”

 

 

Ice Cube’s articulate reply best sums up what I believe “rock and roll” signifies in modern popular parlance.

 

 

NWA became the fifth hip-hop act to join the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on 8 April, joining Run-DMC, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. “The question is: are we rock’n’roll?” Ice Cube asked at the ceremony. “I say, you goddamn right we are. It’s not an instrument or a style of music, it’s a spirit. It’s been going since the blues, jazz, bebop, heavy metal, punk rock and yes, hip-hop. What connects us all is that spirit.
“Rock’n’roll is not conforming to the people who came before but creating your own path in life. That is rock’n’roll and that is us. Rock’n’roll is NWA.”

 

 

This is it. Rock and roll is an approach, a perspective, a way of musical life, an artistic existence the defies precedent and tradition. It is not defined by the type of instruments of lyrical tone. NWA has every right as Kiss to be considered rock and roll (and take that from someone who dislikes rap on all levels). I think we tend to conflate Rock & Roll with rock ‘n’ roll; rock ‘n’ roll gives us rockers, it gives us fast-grooved heavy guitar riffs and aggressive vocal bellowing. There is rock ‘n’ roll, the music genre;  not to be confused with Rock & Roll, the creative, self-defining rebellion of a particular musical lifestyle.