Frankly, I don’t know I really don’t believe so, as much as I would like to be. If I am not, then I fail to see exactly which cultural niche I might belong to. For that, I might feel sorry for myself. But in truth the reason I’m not Hip-Hop is because of my privilege.
It really does not matter that I have been broke for most of my life. We often had so little money when I was younger that we had to rely on trapping or fishing to feed ourselves. It doesn’t matter that I wholeheartedly oppose the “establishment”. The fact of the matter is that I am not a minority. I am a caucasian male. My parents busted their guts to send me (and each of my three brothers) to university. Regardless of the fact that I bailed on that education in favour of what was referred to at the time as “the school of life“, I am still well educated and in all honesty regret squandering my opportunity at a degree. I may have often gone without food, but in retrospect this was entirely my choice. At the time it seemed to me that I was stuck in a rut, but I was actually just slumming it.
As an educated white male, the world is my oyster. There are very few barriers in my life and they are all in my head. Do not get me wrong, this is not a boast, nor is it a hypothesis, this is a systemic fact. Our entire social system was designed with me and my kind in mind. I absolutely abhor it. It wasn’t ’til I was awoken that I realised that perhaps fighting this system by passively disengaging from it (i.e. slumming it) might not be the answer. To tell the truth I’m still not sure what the answer is. But I know it starts with compassion.
What Hip-Hop taught me in the years that I was it’s faithful servant was that the disenfranchised can create amazing wonders when they consolidate. We are all brothers and sisters and we must recognise the destructive impetus of social stratification. I have sat on the different terraces of this structure, from bogan to bougie, from living large in penthouse apartments to spending nights on the street. And (IMHO) everyone is the same wherever you go. I have no plan set out for exactly how to dismantle the inequities between the “haves” and “have-nots”. But I am very open to the discussion.