Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Ronald Reagan - contemporary hatred (week 2)

Ronald Reagan's rein as President will always stir conflict of opinions. Was he a good President? Or was he a failure to his country? I guess there is no right or wrong answer, only a general mix of opinions regarding his presidential reputation.

During his rein, he made a countless number of questionable decisions, for example he was known to be a very racist and racially discriminative man, he sold weapons to terrorists and denied it for a considerable period of time, he ran as a debt-hating conservative yet the national debt still raised by 186% during his time in charge, and his attempts to cut back on worker safety regulations. These example and many more are more than plausible reasons for the hatred which fell upon him. 
Naturally, after he left his position at the White House, the hatred calmed down, although it didn't and probably never will disappear. Some people today still blame him for a lot that's wrong the America today.
The mixed opinions on him as a president, and even as a person will always be brought up in debated, which brings me to my choice of contemporary hatred towards his political policies.

Why do (some) African-Americans still hate Ronald Reagan? Rap-Artists and Racial Discrimination...

The main body of my blog post will be drawing apart a hip-hop song Mike Render wrote about America and Reagan himself, which will then lead onto racial issues from Reagan's presidency which persist today, giving the possibly reasonings behind why many African-Americans still have issues with Reagan today.

Rapper Mike "Killer Mike" Render (pictured) has openly expressed his hatred for the former president. His track "Reagan" was the most talked about track on his 2012 album R.A.P. Music. The song finishes with the lyrics "I leave you with four words: I'm glad Reagan dead" which is a very blunt statement to make. The controversial and provoking song attracted vast media attention. As shown in the music video for the  rappers song (linked below), the track uses audio from a speech made by Reagan, where he denies any knowledge of the Iran Contra Affair. In the sample used, Reagan denies claims that the U.S government had been using hostages in exchange for weapons, and Render uses this in hopes to show how the governments have and are continuing to lie to their people. Whilst some people will call out these believes as nothing more than conspiracy theories, there still remains a large number of people who do indeed believe them to be true. In the middle of his track he samples another speech made by Reagan where he states "A few months ago I told the American People I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and best intentions still tell me that's true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not" which only pushes it's listeners to believe the conspiracies and to use as an example of how the government has been lying to them and are not to be trusted.

Throughout the whole song, Render makes statements on the wealth and poverty issues and inequality issues which are still relevant in America today. He says "Will we ever do it big, or keep just settling for little shit? We brag on having bread, but none of us are bakers, we all talk having greens, but none of us own acres, if none of us own acres, and none of us grow wheat, then who will feed our people when our people need to eat". These lines show the feelings that Render among with a significant number of Americans feel today, especially those of ethnic minorities.

Render claims to still feel oppressed, as well as "his people", African-Americans, but also how himself and other rappers are oppressing their own people. Rappers in America generally have a negative affiliation with the public, and are plagued with negative stereotypes including drug abuse, violence and physical abuse, which had come to unfairly reflect on African-Americans as a whole.

But how is this related to Reagan? 

Well Reagan claimed the war on drugs in 1982. Many believe that the war had little to do with the drug issues themselves, as they had apparently been declining until this point, but that it was more to do with racial politics. The idea was thought to be a way for Republics to have racial control on the country, which is a massive inequality problem in todays society. Today there are more African-Americans in prisons/jail than there were enslaved in 1850. It is also fact that African-Americans are given a much harsher sentence for crimes they have committed, than the same crimes that are committed by White Americans.
As well as this, Reagan completely disregarded the welfare of minority groups, as well as terminating a number of the educational resources which had been made available to financially help minorities with tuition fees.

I'm not saying that all of this down to Reagan, it may have had very little or it may have had a lot to do with him in particular as president, but for the minority groups who still suffer discrimination, Reagan was a man in a very powerful position, yet he played a big part in racially discriminatory actions. Acts which happened during his presidency remain to effect the country today. Acts which, had they been addressed in different manors, could have possibly prevented the racial discrimination in American today.


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