Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Taxes and Hip Hop

So, what do taxes and hip hop have in common, you may be wondering. For me, it's the anger I get in the pit of my stomach every time I see my paycheck and recognize just how much money is taken out of it to go to "programs" that are supposed to help people. Take that anger and then read this article. See the connection?

I suppose I've stood in too many lines where the fatherless family in front of me is adorned in clothes that put my wardrobe to shame, cell phones abuzz and food stamps at the ready. I never want to scream more than in the above situation.

Take Ted for example. "Ted Robertson doesn't mind spending more than he can afford to emulate his favorite rappers. He wears $500 Japanese designer jeans and $200 Air Jordan sneakers."

Here's the part that really kills me: "It doesn't matter that Robertson is being reared by a single mother in a household with two younger siblings and that on most days, he says, there isn't enough money to go around."

Yes, why worry about finances when you know that my paycheck is going to subsidize your housing and food? Why not buy the $200 sneakers?

And respect? The dictionary would have you believe that "respect" is, "being worthy of pride." Yet this article tells us that worthiness has nothing to do with it. Nor does paying your bills or having an honest job. All that matters is the look: fancy cars and designer clothes.

That's certainly the case for Dorian Crawford, 15, a sophomore at NOVA.

"The rappers have what people want. They have money, they have cars and the houses that everybody wants, and the jewelry. That's what all the kids want," says Crawford, who gets money for hip-hop clothing and CDs from his mom. "Hip-hop is about the way you live. It's living the good life and having money."

I wonder what part of living the good life and having money entails getting an education and going to work five days a week.

I was recently arguing with some young, misguided liberal friends of mine who honestly believe that Republicans are cold hearted because "they don't care about the poor." I tried explaining to them that not wanting to give my money away does not mean I don't care about the poor. Let's face it, what is the worst part about any ghetto in America, let alone Milwaukee? It's the violence.

Food? Check. Access to education? Check. Housing? Check. In what other country can the poor boast these kinds of things? Not many. It's the violence that makes these places intolerable, not any lack of necessities. If I honestly believed that taxing more would solve the problems in the inner city, I'd be all for it. This article just goes to show that instead of helping to fix the problems, it's only enabling a culture that promotes the very thing that needs to be eradicated: violence. What's the number one way to solve all of these problems? In my opinion, it's education and a culture that embraces education.

Taxes really irritate me. It's not so much the loss of money, really. I guess if I actually believed that MY hard-earned dollars were going to help someone, I wouldn't be as bothered. I've just seen too many hands with food stamps that are connected to feet in Air Jordans.


At 7:12 PM, November 29, 2006, Blogger Chris said...

Outstanding post, After spending years working in the "Hood" in Gary IN and Milwaukee before I got my sweet stay at home gig I used to see this all the time.

You left out the people who get killed because someone else feels they have a stronger need for that pair of Air Jordon's or That Wu Tang Hoodie then the current owner and if they have to kill for it so be it.

At 8:32 AM, November 30, 2006, Blogger sliverthetomcat said...

I say we get some of our hard earned money back and start making Hip-Hop clothes!

At 9:21 AM, November 30, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think that I have $500 invested in my entire wardrobe let alone a single pair of jeans...


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