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Ask the Rock Doc:
Certain details and, on certain occasions, the method of inquiry may be altered in the following letter to protect the confidentiality of the self-identified musician in distress.
Phantom Tollbooth visitors and inquiring party only: For a free, downloadable mp3 copy of the musical prescription offered to this inquirer, click the link below:
I'm My Best Friend: from
the forthcoming CD, Dr. BLT's Self-esteem Engine
Dear Rock Doc:
I am a music teacher at Lewis Elementary School, a small, rural school just North of Dallas, Texas. I teach 5th grade students. There are only 14 students in my class---9 boys and 5 girls. I have noticed that a number of the students enrolled in my class this year seem to be significantly lacking in confidence and self-esteem. I think it's because of the music they listen to.
Most of them are into 50 Cent, Dr. Dre and other black rap stars. I've been trying to get them to stop listening to that rap garbage and get more into white music, which I find to much cleaner. But they are stubborn children and won't give up listening to black "artists." I have read your article on 50 Cent and on Lil Kim and I know that you share my view that black artists are corrupting the minds of our children. Can you help me to rid these kids of their preference for black music? They are not even black, not one of them, so they shouldn't be trying to be black by listening to the music of those people.
Dear Ms. Snow
First of all, before working on the self-esteem of your students, which is, by the way, an admirable goal, I think it might be worth examining your attitude towards African-Americans. Yes, I have written articles critical of 50 Cent
but I've also criticized
and the Rolling Stones
In addition, I've openly criticized the Rolling Stones in songs such as this one:
One of the most appalling acts of our time is a folk-based white-supremist duo known as Prussian Blue, whose adolescent members (seemingly poisoned by their mother's abhorent neo-Nazi ideology) are trying to sell Hitler as cute and cuddly, and poison a new generation with his genocidal hatred of Jews. Much to my chagrin, this group has its origins in my hometown of Bakersfield, California.
In addition to being openly critical about artists of my own race, I've profusely praised African-American artists like Nat King Cole:
And if you think I share your disparaging stereotypes concerning African-American artists, you haven't heard my tribute to Ray Charles:
and you haven't heard my recent top 30 mp3 download hit---the one challenging racial stereotypes as it concerns holiday symbols and traditions:
50 Cent and Lil' Kim were criticized by me, not on the basis of their skin color, but on the basis of lyrics promoting violence; a lifestyle marked by the purusit of pleasure for the sake of pleasure, without regard for consequences; and unscrupulous sex. Children with low self-esteem will easily been drawn to these artists. They offer children and teens a quick way to gain superficial recognition and artificial acceptance and they do this by equating precocious sexual stamina and prowess with self-worth.
If you are really serious about enhancing self-esteem in students in your class, make it clear that each child is precious in the eyes of God for who each is, as a person created in the image of God. Let them know that self-worth is not based upon race, socioeconmic status, or any other artificial measure that is being perpetuated by our society, mainly through the media. Look for the good in each child and reward it with words of praise. Avoid criticism, especially criticism that is not constructive, and foster an enviornment marked by unconditional positive regard, support, and encouragement.
I pulled a song out of my doctor's bag for you to use with your students. I'm an Olive skinned, otherwise wholly white boy from the prairies of Saskatchewan, but this is a rap song, and by writing rap, I'm obviously allowing myself to be influenced by black artists. I'm proud of their legacy and embrace what African-Americans have brought to American culture. I'm My Best Friend is available for you to download for free and to use in the classroom to teach your children how to assert themselves when they are being bullied, put down, or ridiculed. But first, you'll need to re-examine your attitude towards African-Americans in general and African-American artists in particular. Start by listening to Ray Charles "Georgia on My Mind." If you open your mind and really listen, you'll swear that you're not in Texas, but right in the heart of Georgia.
****If you’re a musician
in distress, or a parent of one, write Dr. BLT at: