I’ve considered what angles have been left bare of coverage in the Texas Teen Typhoon. Three seem obvious. 1) Whites will increasingly suffer incursions into what they believed were safe spaces. 2) The police buffer in these areas will recede as officers come to understand that conflict with blacks means career ruination–this leading eventually to armed inter-racial civilian group confrontations. 3) We’re not racist!” has become a debased currency. Though with few other aspects left exposed, I was inclined to leave the topic safely ensconced within the sturdy lips of Tanehisicoates and his retinue of liberal sucklings.
But as way leads to way I happened upon an article about the evolution of broadcast news in Uganda: Rap-orting.
Kampala (AFP) – “Newzbeat” makes a catchy change from a standard news bulletin: Ugandans call the broadcasters “rap-orters”, a youth team of hip-hop artists-turned-journalists rapping the headlines.
“Uganda’s anti-gay law is making news/Some countries have found it befitting to accuse/Uganda of treating gays as German Jews/Nothing to gain from this and more to lose,” rapped the artists in one recent episode.
That song focused on a law signed by President Yoweri Museveni banning homosexuality, which drew widespread international condemnation. US Secretary of State John Kerry likened it to anti-Semitic legislation in Nazi Germany.
“President Museveni says he won’t bow down to the West/Uganda has a right to decide what’s best,” the rap continued.
Hearing the news in hip-hop style may sound strange. But in Uganda, where the press faces censorship pressures and the country’s huge youth population often takes little interest in current affairs, a programme where “rap-orters” broadcast with “rhyme and reason” has become popular.
Rhyme and reason. I’m anticipating some underutilization of the latter. Though given the audience, reason might not be an entirely buoyant program feature. So what are our objectives?
It aims to “promote diversity and visibility for marginalised groups” and “push the boundaries of press limitations” in Uganda, according to Lady Slyke.
Ahh good, promoting diversity. It’s long past time for us to recognize and promote Ugandans of color. They built this country, after all. And despite that fact black Ugandans remain mired in poverty and subject to overt racial profiling. In fact the latter is so pervasive that in one municipality EVERY SINGLE TRAFFIC STOP FOR A YEAR was of a UoC. Most black Ugandans we rap-interviewed feel completely ignored by the distant 100% majority government.
43 year-old Izmak Ranier barely eecks out a living selling an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented urine of howler monkeys. He believes racism is alive and well in Uganda…even in 2015. He claims there is barely enough food to eat in this dusty village some weeks. And because this is a black community, no one in Kampala cares. While motioning at a scrum of 700 children playing soccer with the skull of an aardvark, he asks plaintively “Do you see any hungry whites here?” My eyes cast downward in awkward concession. I feel his indignant gaze and my own bitter guilt wash over me like a brackish pall. And determined to make civilizational atonement, silently pledge to retweet multiple black hashtags–if I actually get out of here alive.
And later as my departing jet merges into the azure sky, I think of the injustice in McKinney…and quietly begin to beatbox.