This I Believe

Matthew - Briarcliff Manor, New York
Entered on June 1, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: prejudice
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My Life, the Movie

This year has been my welcoming party to the life in the passenger seat. Every weekend my friends and I go out to eat, go to parties, and above all we listen to hip-hop; the most hated and controversial genre of music. The music takes us away. When I listen to the heavy bass with loose lyrics I feel one with the car and the people around me. However, this music is frowned upon by the general public, and particularly frowned upon when listened to by a Caucasian audience. Why does this music have to be stereotyped black and uneducated? All styles of rap have a musical basis whether it is a repeated beat with a complementary bass or a lyrical foundation with an orchestral accompaniment. Other genres may be appealing to the aesthetic sense, but hip-hop is a modern beat; a sound that can be shared with friends in an environment where you don’t feel the need to turn the volume down.

Why does a white male like me have to be ridiculed for liking such an appealing sound? Since when does skin color affect your taste in music? Rap, although amazing, can influence your social standing. I have been placed in by my peers in the “poser, trying to be black” pool. The judgments of others don’t take a toll on me, but why do people have to act negatively towards someone that decides to be unique. In my town it’s all about money, cars, and wealth. With those aforementioned assets comes the music. It is assumed that you listen to Dave Matthew Band or Jack Johnson. Yet, my upbringing has taught me differently. Coming from a less affluent society, taste in music was a choice. Who you associated with predisposed what music you would adhere to. My group of friends included two well-off white boys and one middle-income black boy. Now guess how I became addicted? You were wrong; my black friend fed off of us. Six years ago was the age of Napster and accepted piracy. We were explorers and our treasure was the rap that came out of my computer. I recall installing a CD burner into my computer in order to transfer the music into my mom’s car so I could hear the bass. From a young age, rap was been embedded in my blood.

When I hear comments like, “Why do you like rap music, you aren’t black,” I shrug them off. Ethnicity cannot determine the intangible things in life. Discrimination against a Jewish white teenager for his predilection in hip-hop is completely unwarranted, and those who make such comments are insecure about their own roots in what music they jive with. They feel like they have something to prove by making an example out of a white boy who takes pleasure in his music. I play the French horn and listen to classical composition as well, but I like to diversify myself in every spectrum of life, particularly my love for hip-hop.