[Marxism] Re: Ali G
davidquarter at sympatico.ca
Fri Jul 23 15:59:18 MDT 2004
Quoting: Ben C <minnows at connexus.net.au>
> Einde wrote:
> > No it's not pathetic for a white guy to act black - but some of these
> > white guys from the suburbs are quite pathetic - mainly because they
> > miss the point and pick up a stereotype.
> David Quarter wrote "I agree" in relation to that, just after he wrote
> > Whether it was his intention to be or not (though I imagine not),
> > coming up with character called Ali G. is an unavoidably political
> > act and, I dare say, racist.
> So now the problem is racism against Arabs, not African Americans.
> Having agreed with the initial quote by Einde above, what is wrong with
> satirising these young white guys who copy the twisted stereotype of
> black rapper culture?>>>>
I was criticizing his (S. Cohen's) choice of name for the
character. In my other postings, I discussed the differences with
commercialized rap and old school hip hip. While I see problems
with the characters, I was never debating whether the Ali G Show
per se is wrong and wasteful. I DID SAY/IMPLY that the Ali G
character is one of long lists of examples of individuals playing off
commercialized stereotypes of hip hoppers, which because of
black people's association with this genre of music has the effect
of perpetuating a negative image of black people as a whole. And I
said that for someone who is non-Arab (indeed, Jewish) to come
with a character called Ali. G seems inappropriate, and indeed
racist. I also suggested-- as I'm quoted above by you -- that
Cohen's intentions behind the character may be noble. Having said
that, his intention (as Lou Paulsen points out) is besides the point.
The more pertinent question is what *effect* the character is
having on his audience ( most of whom I imagine are middle class
Finally, I questioned the assumption implicit in some of the
postings in (the Ali G) thread that 'white' people should behave in a
certain way and 'black' people another.
What I have stated throughout this debate might appear
contradictory, but actually it isn't.
Just to summarize my position:
1) Hip hop culture had been transformed long ago from a form of
urban poetry/musical expression catering primarily to young blacks
and latinos to popular music catering *primarily* to surbanban
white teems and controlled by corporate America.
2) The ALi G show plays off the commercialized stereotype of
rappers: as shallow, stupid, illiterate, disrespecful to women, and
hoods and gangbangers.
3) The Ali G. character is one of long list examples of the above
(i.e., of point #2).
4) It seems wrong, and indeed could be construed as racist, for
someone who is non-Arab to come up with a character like Ali G.
5) Whether the Ali G. character as a whole is wrong/wasteful is
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