VIOLENT AND VULGAR RAP LYRICS
What happened to censorship?
“Then shall we allow our children to listen to any story anyone happens to make up, and so receive into their minds ideas that often the very opposite of those we shall thing they ought to have when they are grown up?”
Plato, The Republic
While Plato may not have had rap music to contend with, he posed a question that could be a leading concept for a society concerned with the impact of today’s music on its kids. In truth, Plato would note a archetype shift from a culture that put their family’s social, emotional, and spiritual well being as primary; to a society that is enslaved to whoever or whatever nets the mighty dollar gets to make decisions regarding what is right for our youth. Let us begin with censorship. Most freedoms are taken for granted, because they always seem to be in effect. Censorship keeps freedoms in check, or so it should. There are some things that are not suitable for the whole population. Children should not be exposed to vulgar or violent media. The young impressionable minds of our youth should not be exposed to media that promotes relaxed morals, risky sexual behavior, substance abuse, and the glorification of being a violent criminal. There are a lot of arguments regarding censorship, pro and con. I am willing to bet that those opposed to censorship of vulgar music do not have small children, specifically daughters. There are a lot of reasons to support censorship to protect our youth and our future. But those in control, those making major profits from the offensive media, only have their fat bank accounts to protect-not our precious children.
On the following pages, I am going to submit some evidence that shows what effects rap music has had on our youth. I am also going to show you some examples of how this insult to our children’s minds, growth and healthy development has been allowed to continue. And finally, since the power’s that be are so hard to stop-I am going to propose a solution that we, as citizens, parents, and teachers can do to help gain some of our power back in educating our youth. The federal government and the states have long been permitted to limit obscenity or pornography. [ (Deflem) ] While the Supreme Court has generally refused to give obscenity any protection under the First Ammendment, pornography is subject to little regulation. However, the exact definition of obscenity and pornography has changed over time. In fact, federal obscenity law in the U.S. is highly unusual in that not only is there no uniform national standard, but there is an explicit legal precedent (the "Miller test") that all but guarantees that something that is legally obscene in one jurisdiction may not be in another. In effect, the First Amendment protections of free speech vary by location within the U.S., and over time. The “Miller Test” has 3 basic guidelines for the trier of fact:
(a). Whether 'the average person, applying contemporary community standards would
find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the *prurient interest,
(b). Whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct
specifically defined by the applicable state law.
(c). Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or
scientific value. (The First Amendment, Miller vs Californie,1973)
An great example of the ambiguity of the Miller Test was during the 2Live Crew obscenity trial in 1991. Legal scholars have argued against each and every decision the Judge Gonzales made when he used to Miller Test during the first trial when he ruled in favor of the plaintiff and found 2Live Crew guilty of violating obscenity laws. First, it was argued that the Judge’s determination of the relevant community and its standards was overtly subjective. The Judge decided upon a geographical concept of community, but this was inappropriate...
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