Thomas Chatterton Williams on "Losing My Cool"

November 14, 2010

Thomas Chatterton Williams is a young writer who grew up listening to hip hop. His scholarly father instilled in him a passion for reading books. He tells Jim Fleming that when he went to college, hip hop began to lose its appeal. His memoir is called "Losing My Cool: How A Father's Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip Hop Culture."


I was truly disappointed to hear this story on KALW. It showed, yet again, how far we still have to go in America in eliminating institutional racism. I get tired of time and time again when someone who is well "educated" still fails to see that the very system that "educated" them continues simply perpetuates the idea that being "White" is better. That Jazz is more sophisticated than Hip Hop. When these are all a matter of taste and NOT quality.

Mr. Williams fails to mention the whole large movement of Rap that is about consciousness raising and the positive lyrics that do exist, yet gets no air time and little promotion. Why? Because of systematic oppression, to continue to point to the false idea that Black is negative. Don't buy into the hype because Hip Hop started a HUGE important movement and there are plenty of people out there doing positive things with it.

We as Americans need to get past this ideas of separation and polarities. Life is full of gray areas and people deserve the respect of being seen as complex individuals. We need to continue to challenge ourselves by rejecting stereotypes, questioning our stupid repetitive thoughts that often don't have real bearing on the situation. See each moment for itself and then maybe we can move forward. Race is purely an ideological system created to oppress people and this is another example. I for one just couldn't listen to this story without calling it for what it is, Uncool (to put it lightly).

i understand ms. ybanez's frustration. i find it frustrating to be told by mainstream culture what my culture is, and, in the 1990s, i was told my culture is hip hop, gangsta rap, etc. they are no more a part of the african american experience than a carl van vechten noivel; instead, they were created by businessmen to make money. to fall into the trap that rap, hip hop, and the like are "african american culture" without acknowedging that our culture moves far beyond the commercial and the ghetto is to inject a general myth og inherent inferiority. why must we parrot the ideas about ourselves that people wishing us no good say about ourselves? not merely "uncool," ms. ybanez, it is down right cold.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.