When we are young we are told that we shouldn’t “tattle-tell”, but at the same time we are also told that we should tell adults about suspcious people. This is very confusing, it is sending mixed messages. What actions or activities should we alert authority figures about? This seems to be the prevailing question when it comes to “snitching” as it is called in most urban neighborhoods. Unfortunately, in our society we haven’t came up with a clear understanding of how we should approach this subject. In the criminal world, snitching is a defense that is punishable by death. What we have seen in the hip-hop world is this same notion and it has extended to the very impressionable fans that listen to hip-hop music.
The “Stop Snitching” campaign as it is known to be has become popular in the hip-hop community. There are t-shirts, hats and other materials that seem to be a ploy to get many people involved. Many hip-hop artist are intrigued by the gangster culture and mentality that comes with it, gangster music in hip-hop definitely speaks to this. Not only does the gangster element play a part but the history between the police and inner city neighborhoods. All of this create an atmosphere that not only affects the way people view young African-American males but our entire society. Not cooperating with authorities does us a disservice because it lends itself to a culture that breeds violent people instead of curving these actions.
How many unsolved murders have there been because of this ignorant thinking? How many criminals are roaming are streets? Two of the biggest murders when it comes to hip-hop, Christopher Wallace and Tupac Shakur possibly could have been solved if this “Stop Snitching” attitude weren’t present. It is our responsibility as a community to ensure that our children are safe as well as everyone else. When will we be accountable for our neighborhoods just like we feel accountable for our own families? If the hip-hop community will not cooperate with the police then it should be held responsible for policing these inner city neighborhoods. We are an accomplice to the crime if we have seen something happen and are not telling.
What it all boils down too is doing what is right and not what seems “cool”. The idea that people from the inner city will lose street credibility if they choose to tell need to look at it from this perspective. What if it were your family member, child or friend, what then? Would you stand there and let the person who hurt someone you love go free? Hip-hop can be both cool and rational. The influence that it has over our culture as a whole is tremendous. It is now time to use this power for moral implications.