Monday, April 23, 2007
Tonight's 60 minutes piece from Anderson was by far the best one. His reporting seemed to be more in depth and he interviewed quite a few people on both sides of the issue.
For those that missed it, his segment was about snitching. According to the CBS website, "In most communities, a person who sees a murder and helps the police put the killer behind bars is called a witness. But in many inner-city neighborhoods in this country that person is called a "snitch."
In the piece, they talked about a shooting that happened while Busta Rhymes was making a video on Feb. 5, 2006. Israel Ramirez, was shot and killed with over 25 people reportedly witnessing the murder. None, including Busta, came forward to talk to the police to help solve the crime. Even after two years, Busta refuses to discuss the matter with the authorities to help them catch the person that perpetrated this horrible crime.
As Geoffrey Canada, a nationally recognized educator and anti-violence advocate, said "You know, I just think of him, being shot, falling down, probably thinking, 'This might be it.' And I just wonder, who held his hand? Who caressed his head? Who told him, 'I'm gonna be here?' Who stayed with him? Who made sure this man just didn't die alone for nothing?"
Watching Anderson's story made me wonder how one's career, or money or pride is more important than someone's life? Anderson posed an interesting question to rapper Cam'ron. He asked Cam'ron if he would go to the police about a neighbor if he knew the person was a serial killer. His response was that he would move but wouldn't tell the police because it would ruin his street "cred". Frankly, I think that's morally disgusting. Do people that have the same attitude as he does think about how this effects not only their very own community but their own friends and family? What if it were them or their family that was the next victim and no one would come forward with information.
I think it's a bit of a cop out (excuse the pun) to say that telling the police about horrendous and horrible crimes will hurt their careers or make them look bad in their own community. Why not report these things as an anonymous person? You are not required to give your name or contact info to the police if you give a tip. Sure, that's a simple solution but until people step up do the right thing kids will think it's okay to continue this. I find it disgusting that someone can let people get away with crime. The bad part is that these criminals who pretty much get away with any criminal activity are killing, raping and wounding mostly people in their own community.
As much as the rap and hip hop community don't want the blame I think a lot of the blame lies with them. Saying that the corporation is making money off them and find it okay is a very weak argument. If some big companies could make money off prostitution, drugs or killing people they probably would and DO. That doesn't make it right. The big corporations don't have to live in the inner city and neither do most rappers. They get to live in crime free million dollar neighborhoods while their fans live with this day to day. I think these artists need to realize they are role models (like it or not) and that until they present a good example to youths they lend a hand in making their own community far less than it could be. Not all under privileged kids will get the chance to go on to become rappers or famous people, most will be poor and stuck in the same situation their whole life. They are the ones that will have to live with these murders and criminals because people won't come forward. If they had better role models maybe this wouldn't be the case.
I know it's a much bigger problem than just this issue and I hope that things like the Don Imus incident and others will continue to open the dialogue and allow everyone to discuss this and find solutions.
To read more about this story or watch some videos of Anderson's piece go HERE.
More 60 minute caps by Phebe: