Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Book Young Black Men Should Read This Year

There are few if any books that speak real-talk to young men, from Generation Y (1980-2000) that relates to the challenges they face daily.
Their collective bond is hip-hop culture which is heavily influenced by more aural than written communication. It shapes their:
  • fashion
  • music
  • philosophy
These are the young Black, Latino and urban residents that make up a large number of the victims and witnesses of the status quo policing strategies wreaking devastation on generations of families in America.

After hearing about Paul Butler on Book TV, I sought out the reviews and discussions of his treatise to see what nuggets could be mined from "Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice" .

Hip-Hop: There's A Message In The Music

The author displays his wealth of knowledge about hip-hop music by citing intimate details from the lyrics of some of the icons of hip-hop. He breaks it down showing how for decades hip-hop artist have used music to tell the stories about the personal challenges they faced and to bring to the forefront of the country’s discussion several of the important struggles of their generation:
  • predatory policing
  • the politics of the drug war
  • the prison state

These are evergreen themes in hip-hop culture and conversations of young Black men in America.

A Book That Shares Truths On Black Men And The Justice System

Prof. Butler thought he had done a good job of insulating himself from ending up on the wrong side of the un-justice system. He assumed, by leaving the ghetto, any law-abiding African American could escape the reach of the injustices of predatory policing that feeds the mass incarceration monstrosity.

Butler sought the rewards of obtaining the best education possible. He studied hard eventually earning an undergraduate degree from Yale, a Harvard Law degree and got a job as a prosecutor, for the Justice Department.

Unfortunately, in his book "Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice" he is able to give us a firsthand account of the American judicial process from both sides of the coin. While he was a federal prosecutor he was wrongfully arrested and charged with assault.

How To Get Johnny To Read

The book’s conclusion outlines what individuals, communities, and governments could do to bring justice back into the criminal justice system. The “seven ways to take back justice” really present one of the few positive ideas toward fairer law enforcement that could possibly change the world.

The author has produced more than just a good read. It’s a book that's ideal for sharing with:
  • brothers
  • sons
  • young men who hang around you
anyone that is interested in shedding the mainstream media's opinion and really digging beneath the surface of hip-hop culture. You will be well rewarded for sharing this book with them. With emphasis on the sharing.

Don’t just hand it off to them like a quarterback does a football and keep going. Use a book as a way to ignite a dialogue, just as you would a log lighter in a fire place. Read a few pages/chapters yourself and together. It'll provide the fuel you need to get them to enlighten you about the songs, artist and the driving forces that motivate them. It will be like pouring gasoline on a fire. You'll have to watch-out for the roaring blaze. Make sure you come back and tell us about it in the comment section.