Who taught you to hate yourself? Malcolm X asked that question 50 years ago, but it is still applicable today. We live in a word in which so many of us feel pressure to adhere to mainstream cultural standards instead of just being ourselves. Are you ready to face the consequences of daring to be who you are 100 percent of the time? Or, will you continue the masquerade? That’s the fundamental question that Heit & Cheri pose in this musical episode of The Axiom Amnesia Theory.

The show kicks off with a discussion about a recent study that found that most Americans have negative feelings toward Blacks and Latinos. You’ll hear an analysis and commentary on songs by Lupe Fiasco featuring Casey Benjamin and Hot Chocolate.

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Segment 1

  • Discussion about a recent poll that found that most Americans have negative feelings toward Blacks and Latinos

    In all, 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-black attitudes, compared with 48 percent in a similar 2008 survey. When measured by an implicit racial attitudes test, the number of Americans with anti-black sentiments jumped to 56 percent, up from 49 percent during the last presidential election. In both tests, the share of Americans expressing pro-black attitudes fell.

  • There are plenty of people who have negative attitudes of Blacks and Latinos and don’t even realize it.
  • The poll doesn’t ask questions about racial attitudes directly, but they draw conclusions on racial preference based on looking at photos of people of different races.
  • Some Black news sites commented that the poll should have stipulated that this is how non-Blacks feel and that the numbers don’t include blacks. This is an incorrect approach, because Blacks and Latinos are also capable of having negative racial attitudes toward other Blacks or Latinos.
  • Aside from upbringing, many of the things that lead people to feel these negative attitudes come from portrayals of those groups in the media.
  • Discussion of Malcolm X’s question asking, “Who taught you to hate yourself?”
  • There are still plenty of self-hating people in the world today–Blacks and others. A lot of it comes from the way people are treated due to physical features, the color of their skin, and the deference to European standards of culture in the mainstream American culture. As a result, people sometimes start to dislike the features that they feel are the cause of their mistreatment.
  • Many of the stereotypically Black features are ones that people in other cultures desire, yet it seems like the same people want Black features without actually being Black.

Song 1: “Strange Fruition” – Lupe Fiasco ft Casey Benjamin

[Lupe Fiasco]
Now I can’t pledge allegiance to your flag
Cause I can’t find no reconciliation with your past
When there was nothing equal for my people in your math
You forced us in the ghetto and then you took our dads
The belly of the beast, these streets are demons’ abs
I’m telling you that setup in them sit-ups is so sad
The system is a slab
Corruption is the swinger sittin high ridin dirty, drag racin into danger
And it’s so clean, pine trees smellin good
With work off in the trunk and niggas in the hood
So I can’t shed blood on any battlefield of yours
I pray the ugly truth comes and shatters your decor
And as it all falls down and tatters on the floor
I shed tears, I don’t know what really matters anymore
Cause I don’t know what really matters anymore

[Chorus: Casey Benjamin]
Many things, strangest things you ever seen
Oh, look at how they swing, would you look at how they swing?
Embedded they go, no eyelids gone low
Or gone by sundown, they’re dodging 5-0

[Lupe Fiasco]
Now as I wander through the city goin mad
I see the fruits of planting evidence instead of grass
A swindled generation with no patience, full of swag
Man, they so impatient with the stations that they have
As long as they look good when they be doin bad
Then the separation from the truth is gettin vast, fast
Be a slave at first or free at last
Double-edged choices make a nigga wanna pass
Double-headed voices from the eagle on the staff
The pyramid where eyes will split the spirited in half
Divided over money
Delighted by the dummyin down of the importance of crowns we’ll never have
That’s why my sounds and sermons are so full of wrath
Baptize your mind, let your brain take a bath
Swim inside the river get delivered from the craft
Of the witches in this business that be livin off your sad
Hatin on your happiness you hit ’em off with laughs
Smile ’til they surrender, then you kill ’em off with glad
Hello evil, I’m back

[Chorus]

  • We have played Lupe Fiasco many times before, and we wanted to bring you another great song by this artist from his new album, ” Food and Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album.”
  • The title and subject matter is a play on the Billie Holiday song, “Strange Fruit:”
  • Cheri loves the music in this song. She says it puts her in the mood to hear something good.
  • Heit’s favorite line from the song is “I pray the ugly truth comes and shatters your decor.” He like this line because everything is set up to make it look good, but that’s not the truth. This is true about patriotism especially, knowing all that we know about the contry’s deeds.
  • It’s hard to look at history and look at the same things being perpetrated upon foreign “enemies” having been done to the people right here in this country. Lupe speaks to this in his opening lines:

    Now I can’t pledge allegiance to your flag
    Cause I can’t find no reconciliation with your past

  • Mention about how the government has done experiments on people. For instance, at Tuskegee and the recently exposed experiments in St. Louis.
  • Cheris favorite lines were “Be a slave at first or free at last” and “Now I can’t pledge allegiance to your flag, cause I can’t find no reconciliation with your past.”
  • Cheri discusses feeling conflicted when it comes to American patriotism. There is so much conflict between loving things about the country and hating things about the country at the same time.
  • Discussion about the spiritual references–good versus evil. There were references to baptism and other references.
  • Lupe also hit on voting in the song with the idea of the “double-edged choices.” This notion of choosing the lesser of two evils is no choice at all:
    lesser of two evils

Song 2: “Brother Louie” – Hot Chocolate

She was black as the night
Louie was whiter than white
Danger, danger when you taste brown sugar
Louie fell in love over night
Hey man, what’s wrong with that?
Nothing bad, it was good
Louie had the best girl he could
When she took him home to meet her mama and papa
Louie knew just where he stood

Louie Louie Louie, Louie Louie Louie
Louie Louie Louie, Louie you’re gonna cry

All right, what’s all this about?
I love her, man
Oh yeah, man, let me tell you
I don’t want no honky in my family, you dig?
No honky in my family

See what I mean
Louie really caused a scene
He did, I tell you
Ain’t no diff’rence ‘tween black or white
Brothers, you know what I mean

Louie Louie Louie, Louie Louie Louie
Louie Louie Louie, Louie you’re gonna cry

There he stood in the night
Knowing what’s wrong from what’s right
He took her home to his mama and papa
Louie had a terrible fright

What’s goin’ on?
Well, we’re in love
Now listen, let me tell you
I don’t want no spook in my family
Get it, no spook in my family

See what I mean
Louie really caused a scene
He did, I tell you
Ain’t no diff’rence ‘tween black or white
Brothers, you know what I mean

Louie Louie Louie ….

  • Heit & Cheri wonder why the group named themselves Hot Chocolate.
  • The is a song about an interracial relationship between a white boy and a Black girl.
  • This song hit the top of the UK charts in 1973, and someone made Billboard singles chart in a cover of this song.
  • Discussion about the use of the words “honkey” and “spook” in the song.
  • Mention of how judges in Louisiana and other southern states have refused to marry interracial couples.
  • Mention of some people’s argument about the effect of biracial marriage on their children being a BS reason to refuse to marry couples.
  • Mention of an article where Halle Berry says that “Being biracial is sort of like being in a secret society.”
  • Discussion about the pressures interracial children feel to choose one side or the other of their heritage.
  • Heit & Cheri love the retro feel of the song.
  • Neither Heit nor Cheri had a favorite line in the song.
  • Cheri appreciated the commentary on race from more than just the white on Black racism perspective. Unfortunately a lot of people have an issue with people who are different than them.
  • Mention of a clip from the reality show that Whiteny Houston’s family is doing. Whitney’s brother Gary told his daughter that she better not bring home a white boy:
  • It makes no sense that there is the desire to assimilate to the extent that you send children to diverse schools, yet expect them not to have non-Black friends and love interests.
  • Discussion about the dynamic of putting whites in all-Black settings and vice-versa, and the difficulty that they have fitting in.
  • Discussion about how it is more different for whites to fit into other cultures than the other way around because “minorities” are expected to assimilate into the mainstream culture in every aspect of their lives. The opposite, however, is not true.
  • Be sure to check out tomorrow’s episode where Heit & Cheri have a great conversation with MC/rapper Sole.