No. 618



For the sake of our children and grandchildren, especially for future generations, I hope you will really tune me in today, because I have some positive thoughts to share with you that could make a real difference.
Right from the top I am talking about the lyrics and music of the rap and hip-hip culture that has been eroding our basic family values that have served our nation well for more than 200 years. This lifestyle and culture was brought to the forefront soon after the 2007 national Women’s Basketball Tournament, when radio broadcaster Don Imus made a very derogatory comment about the Rutgers women’s team. There was such an outcry that it cost him his job, and I might add, rightfully so. While this is a very sad situation, there were some things that came to light that might be the catalyst to help us make some much-needed and overdue changes.
From the very beginning I will confess to you that I am not an expert on rap or hip-hop, but I have read a few of the lyrics and they are disgusting, to put it mildly. If you want to verify this, just go to and type in H. Rap Brown and you will see what I am saying is true. For the uninitiated, hip-hop is a cultural movement that began among urban African-Americans in New York City in the early 1970s and has since spread around the world. Soon after its beginning the natural forces of economics took over and the motive for writing and producing this stuff turned to profit. Thousands of people got rich from producing this trash and are still getting rich. But the Don Imus incident turned the spotlight on them and apparently some effort is being made to clean up the image.
This is certainly not meant as a put-down of the African-American community. What came to light is the fact that millions of educated African-Americans are even more incensed than those of us who are merely spectators. These good people recognize that this culture is demeaning to women and causing great harm to all their people. The most significant thing I heard in all the discussion that followed the Imus incident was made by an African-American columnist with the Kansas City Star who was being interviewed on television. In reference to the whole discussion of Imus, rap and hip-hop he said, “My parents taught me better than that.”
I’m here to tell you, that’s the key, and also the reason our nation became the most powerful, most successful in the history of the world. When you have parents teaching their children family values like honesty, telling the truth, hard work, proper etiquette and language skills, cleanliness, good hygiene and, above all, respect for other people, you have a better family, neighborhood, community, state and country. That’s not hard to understand, but many young people never got this message because their parents never taught them. What we need in America today are more good parents who will teach these values to their children and grandchildren.
One of the things we must do, and our elected officials must help us, is to minimize the negative impact of the movies, television, video games and especially commercials we see that advertise various products and services. In a free country we know how precious our right is to vote, but what many people do not realize is that we actually have two votes. We can vote at the ballot box, but we can also vote with our pocketbook. Many times each week I see major companies who advertise their products and services using the most sleazy, raunchy, crude, sexually explicit and downright disgusting commercials you can imagine.
Whether it’s a fast food restaurant, tire company, automobile company, clothing company, cosmetic company or any other private business, all they care about is the bottom line. To be sure, these commercials do not promote family values. Being from the old school, it’s hard for me to understand why a company would produce a commercial that is going to alienate a good percentage of their prospect base. We have a lot of commercials produced locally that are just great. The truth is you don’t have to resort to sleaze or sexually explicit content to sell products and services.
As a result of this awareness, I started a practice that you may wish to consider. I call it “making mental notes for decency.” When I see a commercial that is highly offensive to me, I just make a mental note of it and, given a choice, I just don’t shop or trade with these folks. If enough of us would do that, before long they would get the message and begin to change. Sometimes it takes a sad story like the Don Imus incident to make us more aware of what has happened to our country. Like that fine columnist from Kansas City, I’m grateful that my parents taught me better. As a postscript, Don Imus went back on the air December 3, 2007. Stay Tuned.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book: “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)