firebreath613: (realshirley)
I started writing about this, and I thought I'd share.

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/Issues/2006-08-30/news/feature.html

My housemate who is a part of the RPS Collective is pissed. She's mostly pissed because the whole article is so divisive and doesn't come up with any solutions. It seems to me it was written to be inflammatory. He did make a really good point about the Chronicle labeling the neighborhood as full of "hookers, homeless, and drug dealers" - something I complained about. But the Chronicle isn't the voice of the artists.

You can't accuse people of crimes without checking the facts. It irresponsible to make off-hand insults, to generalize and to characterize a movement that embodies many voices, objectives and goals as one perspective.

For example, if I wrote about hyphy and talked about how it's all about going crazy and shooting people up, then I would be making the same sort of generalizations he does. But everyone I interview says, yes, that's a negative faction, the anarchy/riot mindset. But for most artists and kids, hyphy is about jubilation and fun and dancing. The negative story would miss how Mistah F.A.B. devotes so much time and energy hanging out and listening and talking to kids at Youth Uprising, the get-out-the-vote campaign, and giddinesss of the dance battles.

It's such a tired and easy thing to target hipsters and artists. Sure, many are clueless. Others really care about Oakland and want to include black artists and the old residents of the neighborhood. Many work with at-risk youth and are involved in socialist organizations. Mama Buzz and RPS offer free classes and services every day practically.

If you think someone has failed to be inclusive or consider their community, you call them on it and then you ask them why or what they think. If someone accuses someone of a misstep, you go and ask the accused what they have to say about it. If someone is self-absorbed and thoughtless, it will come out in your reporting.

He made valid points about the careless naming of the gallleries like LoBot and Ghost Town and the self-absorbed nature of the artists who come in and start something without talking to their neighbors or including black artists. But it just came across to me like promoting segregation. Do we want a society like that? Where there's a black town and a white town? I mean, why was there no talk about working together? Obviously there are a lot of deep, complicated issues about race, real estate, gentrification and privilege, and those aren't going to get sorted out over night, but I don't think segregation is the answer. People of different races need to know each other, and talk to each other, to eliminate "the otherness" that feeds racism and discrimination.

What David Downs didn't ask was why did Oaklandish and the Oakland Box get closed down? I know both of those organizations worked with the emerging art scene, and the police came in and cited them with code violations. Why do hyphy parties get shut down by cops? These things are much more interesting questions. Why is the CITY supporting white-owned galleries and parties, and not black-owned ones? Where is the infrastructure support the for the black creative community? The institutional discrimination is more interesting to me than "These people are making art and throwing a party, how annoying."

I didn't realize I had so many opinions. But yeah, I think he missed the mark. He almost got there, but not quite.

In other news, my pal Gerry is in a reggaeton video. Click on "Fuego - Me Gustan Todas." He's the Asian bookie.

http://edwindecena.com/

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firebreath613

August 2010

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