America Is the Melting Pot Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Slaves' newly acquired freedom, Booker T. Washington's teachings, and the Horatio Alger model, which asserted that the individual molds his own destiny, influenced this form of personalized music. According to historian Lawrence Levine, "there was a direct relationship between the national ideological emphasis upon the individual, the popularity of Booker T. Washington's teachings, and the rise of the blues. Psychologically, socially, and economically, Negroes were being acculturated in a way that would have been impossible during slavery, and it is hardly surprising that their secular music reflected this as much as their religious music did." (Levine, Lawrence W., Black Culture and Black Consciousness) as a consequence, it was the emphasis on the individual that influenced the blues personalized form of song" (McElrath). Blues music opens doors for other music to emerge from African-Americans such as rap and hip-hop. With that, the African-American culture has greatly impacted history through music. Even though from the below graph seems to show hip-hip and rap sales have decreased some, African-Americans have an impact on the music industry since it has reached a diverse group within the last decade, which makes it historically influentional.

The "hip hop culture" has permeated popular culture in an unprecedented fashion. Because of its enormous cross-over appeal, the hip hop culture is a potentially great unifier of diverse populations. Although created by black youth on the street, hip hop's influence has become worldwide. Approximately 75% of the rap and hip hop audience is nonblack. It has gone from the fringes, to the suburbs, and into the corporate boardrooms. Indeed, McDonald's, Coca Cola, Sprite, Nike, and other corporate giants have capitalized on this phenomenon. Although critics of rap music and the hip hop culture seemed to be fixated on the messages of sex, violence, and harsh language, this genre offers us a paradigm of what can be. The potential of this art form to mend ethnic relations is substantial. In the 1950s and 1960s the "Beat Culture" challenged the status quo in ways that unified liberals and prompted change. In the same vein, the hip hop culture has challenged the system in ways that have unified individuals (particularly youth) across a rich ethnic spectrum (Reese, 1998).

Since hip-hop has had some positive effects on youths, it has some positive effects on women because it shows them as sexual empowered women." Hip-hop music can not only have an affect on the way a woman views her body but it may also reinforce a sense of sexual empowerment. Female rap stars like Trina, Lil Kim and Foxy Brown have never shied away from sexual themes in their music. While their revealing clothes and explicit lyrics have been the subject of some criticism, they have all defended their images" (Ford, 2004).

By examining the African-American culture, it is apparent that race is about a social construct rather than biological since society has a different set of rules for each racial group. Furthermore, there is no alternative conceptualization of race that I would advocate because it is a social construct. This is due to the fact that society has defined what is expected of each racial group, which has nothing to do with biological aspects of being while, and black that is being presented in American history. Despite the struggles, African-Americans have contributed to the foundations of some of American events through culture and music.

References

McElrath, Jessica. The History of Blues Music.. retrieved April 3, 2008, at http://afroamhistory.about.com/od/bluesmusic/a/bluesmusic.htm

The Effects of Hip Hop Music on Today's Youth. Retrieved April 3, 2008, at http://media.www.msuspokesman.com/media/storage/paper270/news/2003/10/31/Perspectives/the-Effects.Of.Hip.Hop.Music.On.Todays.Youth-547432.shtml

Ford, Sabrinia. (2004). Hip Hop and Women's Sexuality. Retrieved April 3, 2008, at http://xpress.sfsu.edu/archives/editorials/001990.html

Reese, R. (1998). FROM the FRINGE: THE HIP HOP CULTURE and ETHNIC RELATIONS. RETRIEVED April 3, 2008, at http://www.csupomona.edu/~rrreese/HIPHOP.HTML

Sources Used in Documents:

References

McElrath, Jessica. The History of Blues Music.. retrieved April 3, 2008, at http://afroamhistory.about.com/od/bluesmusic/a/bluesmusic.htm

The Effects of Hip Hop Music on Today's Youth. Retrieved April 3, 2008, at http://media.www.msuspokesman.com/media/storage/paper270/news/2003/10/31/Perspectives/the-Effects.Of.Hip.Hop.Music.On.Todays.Youth-547432.shtml

Ford, Sabrinia. (2004). Hip Hop and Women's Sexuality. Retrieved April 3, 2008, at http://xpress.sfsu.edu/archives/editorials/001990.html

Reese, R. (1998). FROM the FRINGE: THE HIP HOP CULTURE and ETHNIC RELATIONS. RETRIEVED April 3, 2008, at http://www.csupomona.edu/~rrreese/HIPHOP.HTML

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