|Prosecutors Misusing Rap Lyrics|
I don't care how tired people are of hearing of the Trayvon Martin case. It will remain upper most in the minds of black mothers like myself until society sees fit to explore its pathological fear of young black males. That fear is expressed in the shockingly disproportionate size of the black male prison population, in incidents of profiling and now in bizarre prosecutor tactics of pinning violent crimes on rap singers. What. . . rap singers. . . what does that have to do with this discussion. Well, it turns out that prosecutors have found out that little old white ladies find gangsta rap lyrics shocking and downright sinful. Such songs have now become admissible in certain courts as evidence that the singer perpetrated whatever type of crime he is singing about. It's an amazingly effective way of putting even more young black males behind prison bars.
A recent article in The New York Times describes the growing trend amongst prosecutors across the nation to use gangsta rap lyrics as so-called confessions in charging crimes and trying young black men primarily for crimes allegedly committed based on gangsta rap lyrics. The article entitled Legal Debate on Using Boastful Rap Lyrics as a Smoking Gun explained:
[There have been] more than three dozen prosecutions in the past two years in which rap lyrics have played prominent roles. The proliferation of cases has alarmed many scholars and defense lawyers, who say that independent of a defendant’s guilt or innocence, the lyrics are being unfairly used to prejudice judges and juries who have little understanding that, for all its glorification of violence, gangsta rappers are often people who have assumed over-the-top and fictional personas.
Rap music like opera is a powerful, emotive form of artistic expression. Maybe the jury selection process should dispense with all the questions and merely have jurors tested on the dance floor to determine whether they truly are a grouping of these young men's peers.