Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I Hate The Word "Gangsta" & Here Is Why

I like words. In the lexicon that is English, there are so many words that by themselves are useless. However, when combined with other words they become something greater. They become a tool for good or evil. Many times they are used for good, like waking people up to threats, empowering them to face that threat, and giving them that forward thought that they’ll need to continue on. Other times they are used to tear down and destroy. They are used to incriminate the guilty or insinuate guilt. Even worse, they are used to divide people, to manipulate entire nations, bringing them to a quick demise, a sudden end by words that are not a correct reflection of reality. These are the words that I hate and avoid.

In today’s modern vernacular, there are words that didn’t previously exist in the afore mentioned lexicon. However, due to their popularity, they have quickly become, or perceived to be, “normal” everyday words. These words will not be found in proper dictionaries such as tend to carry historically respectable names like Oxford, Webster, or Britannica. These words, these slang words are only found on the internet. More specifically on websites like urbandictionary.com, where any Joe Schmoe or Suzie Schmoe, as the case may be, can provide a definition. That being the case it gives those words the same credibility as an article found on Wikipedia. On Wikipedia I found an article stating that Steve Urkel (a fictional television character from the ‘90s sitcom Family Matters as portrayed by Jaleel White) is the current and 44th President of the United States of America. Enough said.

As I stated before, I like words. I like catch phrases, epitaphs, and different and various euphemisms. There is a word that is used that I dislike. It’s not that I hate the word in and of itself. I hate that “urban” meaning the word. This word is “gangsta”. I hate it, utterly despise it, can not stand it. Sure there was a time when I used it to my own amusement and in some cases seriously. However, as a Christian, as a man of evolved understanding, as someone who once was a child with childish thinking but is now an adult having put away childish things, especially that childish thinking, I’ve come to passionately dislike that word and it’s urban meaning. So let’s go through the number’s here:

gangster. Noun: a violent, brutal person who is often a member of an organized gang -- see HOODLUM - Student Thesaurus

gangster. gang•ster. noun: a member of a gang of criminals : RACKETEER - gang•ster•ism /-stschwa-secondarystressriz-schwam/ noun -Merriam-Webster

gang•ster (gngstr) n. 1. A member of an organized group of criminals; a racketeer. 2. A member of a gang of delinquents. gangster•dom n. gangster•ism n. -The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

It all gets pretty redundant after a while. It doesn’t take a genius to see where the term “gangsta” came from. Today people who would take upon themselves the term gangsta are delusional. Many of the “gangstas” I’ve ran into were usually kids, from preteens to the older teenagers (those whose predisposition is to seek an identity). They start them out young much like communist who start their programming with children. This is obviously done for nefarious reasons. The thing that made me dislike the term is the fact that this is promoted as something good to be. This is promoted like is something to be proud of, adored, worshipped. The truth is it is not. Since when has it become acceptable to be proud of one’s sins? Murder, recreational drug distribution, hating people because they are from the north end of town and you are from the south end...this makes no sense to me! What makes it worse is the entertainment industry. They make movies such as Scarface, New Jack City, and more recently, American Gangster and people flock to these in droves. I understand that it is story telling. I understand that these things are taken from real life situations. I even understand the term “art imitating life”. The problem is when life begins to mimic art.

This is where the brunt of my whole problem with the word lies. Recently I read a facebook post about Samuel Whittemore, who at 80 years old killed 3 British Soldiers on April 19, 1775. He was shot, bayoneted, beaten, and left for dead, but recovered and lived to see 98 years of age. My first response in my mind to put on the post was this: “An 80 year old man did that…and still lived 19 years? Dude was GANGSTA!” Then I thought about it. Why would I say that!?! Needless to say, I put something else, because I will not glorify all the things “gangsta”, “gangster”, “g” (or any other variation of the word) stands for.

By they way, many of these people on the music side of the Entertainment Industry, namely rappers, come from well to do homes. Many of them did not rise from the various ghettos around America like they claim to have done so in their music. Many of them come from good homes, well to do families full of professionals such as doctors and lawyers. They went to good schools, gained education from quality institutions, and now get paid to portray a lifestyle for which , many of you are willing to use your EBT cards to emulate. I wish I was stretching the truth here, but sadly, I’m not. So go ahead, point your hat the wrong direction, leave your belt at home, buy your 4 year old Air Jordan’s, and dye your hair the brightest shade of pink on the spectrum, then stand up in public and tell everyone how much swag you currently possess. Then realize how much of a fool you are for living within the bounds of the Entertainment Industry’s “hive mind”. Or…wake up to reality.