An Honest Conversation About Race (Through Hip-Hop) Part Two: Racial Profiling & Police Brutality

Fuck Tha Police – N.W.A

While denouncing the justice system and its agents, N.W.A put themselves in the roles of judge, prosecution, and plaintiffs. They swear to tell the truth (and nothin’ but, yo!) before the trial of a bunch of LAPD cops apparently accused of being redneck, white bread, chickenshit muthafuckas. Clever and playful satire, which, perchance, speaks to a loss of faith in the law in the African American consciousness; if not only the total evaporation of ingenuity in music since the group’s debut. In contrast with the moves made in so much rap music produced more recently, and particularly on this subject, the pigs are very rarely treated so humanely.

Every year since 1993, Gallup has surveyed Americans about their confidence in a number of their country’s key institutions. What their data demonstrates is that the level of confidence black Americans have in the police is consistently ten or more percentage points lower than the national average, and about half as much as white Americans have. Confirming our earlier conjecture, the loss of confidence among African Americans, when compared with whites, has strengthened over the years. In 2020, the results of Gallup’s confidence survey showed the largest disparity between black and white confidence in the police ever with a 37 percent gap; the difference in levels of confidence in the criminal justice system came in at 13 percent, after averaging three percent between 1994 and 2019.   

Ice Cube testifies, essentially and statistically truthfully, that he has got it bad because he is brown. Only he is mistaken in chalking up the cause of his frequent brushes with the law to envy and racism. A more likely cause is conveniently given on Straight Outta Compton’s following song, “Gangsta Gangsta.” Where Ice Cube starts:

“Here’s a little somethin’ about a nigga like me

Never should’ve been let out the penitentiary”

Then goes on to assert,

“Takin’ a life or two, that’s what the hell I do

You don’t like how I’m livin’? Well, fuck you”

Lucidly and poetically demonstrating that the po be poppin’ cuz nigs be noggin’. Police, and people in general, tend to be much more suspicious of black men not because they are bigots. They have merely picked up on a pattern: black men are responsible for more than their fair share of crime: a fraction of the 13 percent being responsible for 45 percent of all the violent crime and 25 percent of all property crime committed in the US in 2019 alone. This neatly explains their overrepresentation among those who are incarcerated. A realization that is sure to make one think, “How much “police brutality” would a dindu take if a dindu truly dindu nuffin?”

Therefore, we urge African American men not to go ape shit or bananas when corner store clerks perk up as you enter the premises. Resist the urge to chimp out when ladies are clutching their purses more tightly in your presence. Do not wil’ out when the cops stop you on the road. Say to yourself, in your heart:

Fuck those damn bleeps

With skin the colour of the ground,

Shit and other stuff that’s brown

When they ain’t stompin’ out chinks, 

They’re outbred by Spics

Being made into a smaller minority with less political authority

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