Tuesday, April 06, 2004

A Ludacris double standard? 

Twelve months ago SCSU�s University Chronicle reported on the controversy caused by this billboard that was posted in the city of St. Cloud by a local radio station.

Many called this billboard disgusting and degrading to women. At the time, SCSU�s Women�s Center started its Community Coalition against Sexism. The group reportedly sent out letters asking companies to pull their advertisements from the radio station and considered boycotting advertisers who would not comply.

Now this year SCSU�s administration has seen fit to allow hardcore rap performer, Ludacris, to hold a �concert� on our campus this Wednesday evening � two days after the start of Passover, and right in the middle of Holy Week. Those not familiar with Ludacris may want to check out some of his more educational lyrics. For example in his classic composition, �Hoes in My Room,� Ludacris waxes philosophical about �pimpin� for hoes,� a �midget hoe,� how �Niggas fu** bitches,� �pussy smell,� �tupper-ware titties,� �faggot Bill O�Reilly,� �chicken-sh**,� �mothafu**in,� and how to �put our foot up the asses of fat, gorilla, monkey-mouth bitches.� [RTWT if you have the stomach for it.]

So maybe you think that feminists on our campus would be at least as outraged by the appearance of Ludacris as they were a year ago by a billboard. Well, apparently not. The head of SCSU�s Women�s Studies Program today posted a piece that claimed to rationalize her decision not to boycott the performance or even to protest the appearance of Ludacris. Try, if you can, to decipher the meaning of this explanation of an apparent double standard.

We can engage in constructive dialogue about misogyny in popular cultural expressions generally, as opposed to isolating hip-hop music as the scapegoat for violence against women and the moral decline this society is facing. I say this because I understand hip-hop to be a rather complex cultural form that is tied to, and embedded in the larger social relations of this society. That is, hip-hop is tied to multinational corporations such as (Sony, Warner Brothers, EMI, MCA BMG and Polygram � only one of which is US owned). [HUH?] I also understand that in Hip-Hop�s potential to be transgressive, [HUH?] in that it speaks to the angst of urban youth, it can also reinforce some of the same social variables found in the larger society: exploitation, sexism, homophobia and violence.

HUH, again? What did she just write? Apparently there must be some deeper than black-and-white issue to analyze here. Or maybe I just can�t force myself to accept the fact that SCSU has now sunk to the level of the state�s University of Diversity and Perversity, on a mission for MnSCU to lower all academic (and now moral) standards to Minnesota�s lowest common denominator.