Power And Stereotypes Essay

856 words - 4 pages

Drugs, violence, and crime, the life of the stereotypical criminal black man. People’s perspectives on stereotypes like these can be influenced and changed. Bob Ewell, from To Kill A Mockingbird, greatly affects his community. Lyrics in mainstream hip-hop often seem to promote violence and crime, but often it is the artists’ mouthpiece to reveal how these stereotypes are still in place and have impact on the black community. In both hip-hop and To Kill A Mockingbird, we see how these characters with access to money and power have the ability to influence others’ views based on stereotypes. Those with access to traditional sources power can affect change in society.
Those with access to traditional sources of power can affect society by utilizing their status to influence the perspective of a stereotype. Jay-Z, with his prestigious empire of wealth and international impact, is a perfect example of this sort of power brokering. Jay-Z has become a cultural icon to the black and minority masses, having seen him grow from a young hip hop rapper to a music and film producer, actor and extremely successful entrepreneur. Through lyrics, both his own and of other rappers he produces, he manipulates his massive fanbase to support his movement to stop the racist stereotypes put in place against blacks and other minorities by the (typically white) elitist leaders of business and politics. For example, Jay-Z blames his childhood experience on Ronald Reagan, who was President from 1981-1989, which was during the crack epidemic. Through the following lyrics from the rap Blue Magic, “Blame Reagan for makin’ me into a monster” (“Blue Magic”), Jay-Z highlights to his listeners the oppressive actions of the elitist leadership. His use of “me” in that lyric symbolizes all the young black men who were forced to deal drugs on the streets, including himself. Jay-Z publicly stands up to racist stereotypes against black men and other minorities by voicing his thoughts and opinions in his music. In his song “99 Problems” his lyrics mockingly tell of when he got pulled over by the police. He raps, “I heard ‘Son do you know why I'm stoppin' you for?’ ‘Cause I'm young and I'm black and my hats real low?...’ ‘Are you carryin' a weapon on you I know a lot of you are’ ‘I ain't steppin out of shit all my paper's legit’ ‘Well, do you mind if I look round the car a little bit?’ ‘Well my glove compartment is locked so are the trunk in the back,...

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