Washington Calls on All Americans to Push Society in "A Just and Honorable Direction"
St. Louis, MO /Washington, D.C. - Stacy Washington, Urban Talk Radio host and a national spokesman for the black leadership group Project 21, has issued this response to a Washington Post article attacking Washington's contention that music with lyrics demeaning women coarsen and harm our culture:
The Washington Post goes to great lengths to discredit the idea that culture impacts the behavior of the people who partake in it. Individuals will always miss the mark, but what we widely accept as culturally appropriate will raise or lower that mark for everyone.
I'm not arguing that rappers or music artists are running for president. I'm arguing that the acceptance of degrading music as "art" is hypocritical if you're going to judge the private conversations of others differently no matter who they are or what office they aspire to.
Our current expressions of art run the gamut; with utter beauty and fascination at one end and utter debasement at the other. Much of rap music falls at the lower end. To deny that it's having an impact on our children and young adults is to ignore the statistics which show society's decline away from a morally just and honorable direction.
The author says reasonable people will laugh at my assertion. I disagree. For decades now religious groups, parent groups, mothers, legislators and elected leaders have decried the violent, sexually-perverse direction America's music, movie, theater and art scenes have taken. Reasonable people aren't laughing; they're crying in shame.
The Post's Janelle Ross, in an October 12 article now popping up in newspapers nationwide, attacked Washington's observation that hip-hop music affects culture, and that we in turn as Americans, in accepting music and other elements in the popular culture that demean women, influence our elected officials.
"Ross's article appears to give musicians and artists a pass, even as she writes that it would be 'illogical' to claim various works of music, literature and art whose contents were criticized 'had no influence at all,'" said Amy Ridenour, chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research. "Ross states merely that degrading or controversial art, music and literature did not lead to 'the ruination of mankind.' That's a rather low standard! But Ross is ludicrous as well in the way she picks and chooses. Beyonce is compared to Michelangelo. Michelangelo's works have stood the test of time. Beyonce is gifted, but will her art be celebrated in 500 years?"
"Ross even makes the ludicrous claim that criticism of art forms demeaning to women, on occasions in which the artist is black, is the cousin of a 1989 incident in which a white man shot his pregnant wife and told the police an unknown black man had done it, causing the police to stop black men as part of their investigation," added Ridenour. "Ross is focusing on the wrong thing. Stacy Washington is standing up for the CONSISTENT promotion of decency across our entire culture. Washington urges EVERYONE to join in building a culture that goes, as she put it, in a 'just and honorable direction.' It's regrettable that Janell Ross and the Washington Post have chosen to stand for lower standards for some, which inevitably reduces standards for all."
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Project 21 is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Project 21 members have been quoted, interviewed or published in the news media over 40,000 times since the program was created in 1992.