How Conservatives Should Talk About Hip Hop

“Conservatives who talk that way don’t just forfeit the chance to influence the social norms surrounding the genre. They reinforce the perception that their views are shaped by little more than cartoonish stereotypes. One needn’t dig deep into obscure rap albums to find ‘human feeling.’ Multi-platinum singles will do. Try ‘December 4th’ by Jay Z or ‘Stan’ by Eminem. All across America, kids are listening to rap lyrics that resonate with them more than anything else in their lives, capturing the way they feel about their absent father or the bliss of a long afternoon spent in the park with friends or how parenthood changed their perspective or the effect incarceration has on their community, or just about any other emotional situation people encounter. What do they think when a man capable of meticulously analyzing Hammerstein expends so little effort grappling with the genre that he doesn’t even grant that it has human feeling? This lack of effort matters.”
This is really a better approach to the conservative view of rap than saying “you’re a disgusting, horrible bigot.” Even though that’s what you really want to say. Sort of relatedly, as the right to gay marriage becomes closer and closer to being a solid reality everywhere, and homophobia begins to die out even in the last bastions of closed-mindedness, the above performance of “Stan” at the 2001 Grammy Awards ceremony just seems more and more like a real watershed moment. And it was just so, so good.