Who Likes Thin Mints?

The following critique is based on “Ed-Ucation” On the album Chronic 2001, by Dr. Dre featuring Eddie Griffin, and block quoted below.  If you can’t handle the language of this serious discussion, then now is the time to avert your eyes.

Aw, they say uh… a Black Man is a pimp. Well let me tell you the biggest pimp on planet motherfuckin’ Earth, is her momma. It’s her momma that told her, "Get a man that got a good job girl! Make sure he got a good car girl! Make sure he can take you out and buy you somethin’ to eat, girl!" What happened to just fallin’ in love with a nigga with a bus pass –just cause you loved a nigga?
But I’m the pimp motherfucker! I gotta be the player!
Biggest hoes, on planet Earth are walkin’ through the motherfuckin’ neighborhood!
You knew when you got with the nigga he already had a woman. You knew he already had a family but you fucked him anyway!!! And then when you thought you was gon’ lose the nigga, you went and got pregnant –didn’t you bitch, didn’t you?!
The ole’-keep-a-nigga-baby!
And then when the nigga ain’t around, what do you tell the child? "Aww that nigga ain’t shit, that’s why yo’ daddy ain’t here; cause that nigga ain’t shit."
How ‘bout being a woman, and tellin’ the kid the truth, that: yo’ momma, you was a hoe?
Tell the kid! "Momma was a hoe, I was weekend pussy. I had you to keep the nigga, it didn’t work out, that’s why he ain’t here –but he a good nigga ‘cause he take care of his REAL family. I was just a dumb bitch, tryin’ to keep, a nigga that I wanted."

 

Let us take the time to reflect on what comedian Eddie Griffin had to say about the current state of the dysfunctional Black family in his epic piece on the even more epic record, Chronic 2001 by Dr. Dre: Wow. Where do I begin?

Eddie begins his tirade by explaining that the complexity of the Black Family can be traced to the instructions that little girls get from their black mothers. While there is some inherent truth to the matter that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world, I believe that Eddie Griffin also negates the instructions that little boys might be receiving. Surely, all little black boys can’t be orphans in this cycle of detrimental instruction?

The materialism that Eddie Griffin rails against is put in stark opposition to love, and also the construct of marriage for socio-economic gain. Such a wide-spread model would lend itself more readily to such criticisms if it were not for the fact that it is not somewhat rooted in natural law and Darwinian thought. I wonder if Eddie Griffin would agree that the stereotypical selection criteria for black males (fat ass, big breasts, and cute face) are somehow above the base characterization that he posits for black females.

Eddie Griffin doesn’t waste any time explaining that love, being the expressed ideal, is hardly a consideration if one were to affirm the stereotypes of either sex. Instead Griffin is willing to make the leap that black males have such a need to defend themselves from such a vicious mother-daughter conspiracy that the only solution is to embrace pandering. The degradation of the black female is complete when Eddie acknowledges that prostitution is rampant and that the associated loose moral code is responsible for high single parent birth rates.

Paradoxically, even Eddie Griffin purports that the black female moral code is so corrupt that it only allows for the prospective gain for the otherwise unwanted pregnancy. In his speech, only women that have realized that they are still unlikely to garner the favor of siring males for having their children are able to realize that errors were made. The root of these mixed emotions can be traced back to the times of chattel slavery in the United States where the emasculation of the black male was utterly complete as he was powerless to stop the capitulation of his family at the hands of a white master.

On the one hand, having a child should be the most significant moments of parents’ lives regardless of the potential for upward mobility as a result. On the other hand, Griffin reinforces the concept that such lofty ideals such as fidelity are often ignored in the black community in lieu of petty materialism. (In hip-hop terminology, this is the "jump-off," in recent vernacular the nomenclature groupie suffices.)  Perhaps the general idea that the construct of marriage was created to better provide for offspring due to the fact that it has the tendency to promote a cohesive family units is under attack?

Griffin boils it down in crass terms as “the-old-keep-a-nigga-baby” scheme in which loose women will have a child for anyone that they believe could be a gateway to a better life for themselves. While such craft and guile could apply to virtually any race and any point in time of history, it is most damaging right now in the black community given the astronomical single parent rates and given the trifling number of black males heading households. This stark reality is the biggest clue that Griffin is engaging in rhetorical satire. The suspension of disbelief must be applied and suddenly the double standard is blurred.

If only it were true that so many black males had enough to offer that would warrant their women the incentive to ensnare them, but this isn’t reflected in reality. In today’s society black women are outnumbering black males in the key, usually economically indicative, statistic of college admissions. Couple this with the fact that a black male as a “pimp” or “player” is decidedly undesirable for a myriad of reasons and that they often have little to do with financial gain for the females and you can see the losing battle black women are facing. Griffin reconciles this fact by assigning the blame back on women, tongue in cheek, by stating that most black men are likely to take care of their “real” families when this is obviously not the case. Such mythical families never seem to materialize in the lyrics of hip-hop or otherwise in the recent oral tradition of black diaspora. 

Now I know that this song came out in the year 2000 and here I am writing about it and discussing it a full nine years later, but you need to understand that this all comes from a place of great historical reference. Both the Chronic albums by Dr. Dre were explosive in the rap scene and influential to millions of black people, not to mention groundbreaking works. The problems of the black community cannot be solved overnight but some would argue that hip hop hasn’t done enough to exonerate itself as a sole source evil in the corruption of our youth. This masterpiece is a recent shining example of uplift. Eddie Griffin did an outstanding job of drawing attention to the ills of the black community while also providing quality entertainment. To borrow a word from hip-hop icon and pioneer, KRS-One, this work is a very strong piece of edutainment. I don’t believe for a second that Griffin, a comedian, wants you to take his words seriously and as gospel.

I believe that Griffin’s genius is evident in the fact that he has it on one of the most classic hip-hop albums of all time, over beats that are deliciously funky, pumped right into the ears of the people that probably need to hear it the most. The Signifying Monkey is ever ready to draw attention to societal ills and personal deficiencies, and much like the old Negro fable, Griffin is safe in his tree of black pop culture and flinging shit. Some people may say that the whole entirety of Griffin’s exposure is airing dirty laundry but when you have even higher profile comedians accused of enacting similar or worse offenses in real life, who is to say that it wouldn’t be aired anyway?

President Barack Obama is going to be all over this topic, though.  I fully expect him to address it in the first year of his first term.  And to whoever said that learning and entertainment couldn’t be married, isn’t very smart.  Why else do you think that I have bombarded you with pictures of pretty women all over my web site?  (Don’t get mad, but we’re doing a mixed bag today.)  The racist folks used to say that if you wanted to hide something from a nigger, all you had to do was to put it in a book… 

Man, it’s a damn shame but I laugh to keep from crying.  Would you like a thin mint?

  

  

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