Hip hop is often blamed for negatively impacting American culture, but Chris Broussard, an ESPN NBA insider and the president of Christian men’s movement K.I.N.G., believes critics are missing the big picture.
“Hip hop is a symptom of the problem,” Broussard told The Daily Caller. “It’s not the root cause of the problem.”
Al Sharpton criticized hip hop in the wake of radio host Don Imus’ “nappy-headed hoes” on-air comment. Actress Ashley Judd blamed hip hop and its “rape culture” for promoting misogamy, and conservative talker Rush Limbaugh argued hip hop promotes the use of words like ”slut” and “prostitute,” which he took heat for using last year to describe liberal activist Sandra Fluke. And a Fox News personality John Gibson has suggested the hip-hop culture plays a role in marijuana use and even some deadly shootings, like a 2007 attack at an Ohio school.
Broussard admitted hip hop exacerbates some problems, but stressed that systemic cultural failings are the real issue.
“[Young rappers] are writing about the things that they see and may, in some cases, experience in their neighborhoods,” said Broussard. “Poverty, injustice, crime, fatherlessness, family breakdown — because all this exists in their community, they’re writing about it.”
Broussard cited the results of two studies released in 2013 by the Sentencing Commission and researchers at Brandeis University’s Institute on Assets and Social Policy. Black males typically receive prison sentences that are approximately 20 percent longer than the sentences received by white males who commit similar crimes, according to the Sentencing Commission. That percentage has increased since the 2005 restoration of judicial discretion in sentencing.
“You’ll literally have black people going to prison for crimes that white people are not going to prison for,” said Broussard. “This impacts the family.”
Home ownership is 28 percent higher for white families than it is for black ones, according to the researchers at Brandeis University’s Institute on Assets and Social Policy. Their study revealed that among the households whose wealth grew from 1984-2009, white families’ wealth grew 30 percent faster than black families’ did. Family income, college education, inheritance and unemployment accounted for 65 percent of that gap.
A young white male from suburbia may receive a slap on the wrist for marijuana possession and go on with his life like nothing happened, Broussard said. Meanwhile, a young black male may go to prison, which would earn him a criminal record, cost him a job and disrupt his education — consequences than can lead to fatherlessness.
Bizzle, a God Over Money Records hip-hop artist, recently released the single “Dear Hip Hop,” a letter addressing complaints about the musical culture that commentators like Sharpton and Limbaugh often make.