Monday, April 02, 2007

The teaching of sociopathy

This past weekend I was in DC presenting at a conference. One of the presenters on the agenda with me made a presentation on how music, in particular hip-hop music has turned into a means of teaching sociopath behaviors to young children and adolescents. It was an interesting premise. He based it on the stages of cognitive development as expounded by Piaget. In essence, he said since young children learn through images and music, it is not unlikely that the images seen on videos, associated with certain words and lyrics and music, can lead to mental disorders including but not limited to oppositional-defiant disorder.



ODD is a psychiatric disorder that is characterized by two different sets of problems. On the one had, there is aggressiveness and a tendency to purposefully bother and irritate others. Individuals present with this disorder tend to display a pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior lasting over extended periods. Such individuals often: loses their temper, argue with other regularly, actively defies or refuses to comply with requests from significant others, deliberately annoy people, blame others for their mistakes and behavior, angry and resentful and are spiteful and vindictive. As a result, this may lead to major impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.


He suggested that the images in most Hip-hop music tends to focus on violence, illegal acts, criminal behavior and lewd sexual behavior so much that in many respects it may play a role in forming behaviors in the same manner that nursery rhymes do for children. He went on to assert that as a function, children are learning and hearing things that only adults should hear and consequently may continue childhood behaviors even well into adulthood since they may skip valuable phases of their cognitive development.



I say this just to remind us that the problems that we may be seeing in many of our children and young adults may actually be due to the message and images that they get on television, in movies and videos and music. Now I am not saying this is a function of pure causation, but it is funny to note that our environment contributes a lot to our personal and cognitive development.



Used to be a time, when groups like NWA even presented Hip Hop as a form of social commentary. Now, the messages we hear mainly deal with the preaching of sociopathic practices that have no benefit to the good of our community. Parents, let get back to parenting, before we raise a cadre of adults, who are merely child-like, irresponsible and take their values from celebrities and what they see and hear in music and television.

16 comments:

Mizrepresent said...

I totally agree with this, and witness this type of behavior daily in our kids, on the train, at the mall. It's obvious something needs to be done. I remember a while back, one lady and i can't remember her name rallied to have rap banned, talking about how damaging it was to our kids. People were mad about that, and rallied against her, citing freedom of speech...but now i have a different take on it...and now we can see the damage.

Carole said...

Very true. I know we artists have a desire to speak truth as we see it...but there is so much more to the truth to black life than acting-up.

Anonymous said...

Yo bro again this is just another poor example of the blight of Black America.It appears that as a people we are know better off today than our generation before us.It is disappointing to know that in 2007 the moral fabric of the once Proud Black community has come down to the soorid images of todays hip hop videos and factious lifestyles.The late Dr.Martin Luther King,Jr must be turning over in his grave with disbelief. The Good Doctor

Shai said...

Didn't the artist from back in the day speak truth and some had definitive solutions.

Nowadays, it is about bootie, bling, and bullets. It sickens me how they glorify acting ignorant. It is not cute or fun.

Girly_Girl said...

Torrance, your posts never fail to amaze and inspire. You made some excellent points. This post is relevant to all parents--we have to take repsonsibility.

Brea said...

Funny thing is violent/innaproriate music, videos, movies, and TV don't just sneak into the house. Parents need to step up and control what images their children do and do not see in their home. I wasn't allowed to play violent video games, watch trash TV or music videos, or listen to music with bad messages. My family kept me busy with sports, art, and quality time growing up. As an adult, I cannot stomach watching or listening to crap. There is so much good hip-hop out even today, you just have to work a little harder to find it sometimes.

CapCity said...

I agree with all that has been said. But, it is no accident that parents are over-worked & overwhelmed then seduced into allowing the television to baby-sit! I'm no parent, yet...but even as an adult I allow very little Tell-a-vision into my consciousness. HEAR the GASPS around the globe when I utter that I don't "have cable"...

It's truly an effort to control your OWN thoughts (& guide those of your offspring) these days. Too often we're berated with cries of: "It's only entertainment."
"You take everything too seriously, when will u relax?"

Don't get me started on the Blast of images in this media dominant society that we find ourselves in!

thanx for a great post & dialogue!

Ri said...

Same kind of issue arising from the lyrics of Dance hall music here in the Caribbean.

freez said...

The music and images are not created in a void. There are corporate interests behind promoting/creating dysfunctional youth. The major music companies invest heavily in prisons, which are voracious in their appetite for unskilled/untrained/under-educated youth. The artists who seek to create music that inspires and enlightens (which is also "keeping it real")find difficulty being financed by the machine. A broader educational effort is needed to empower young consumers and creators to stop facilitating their own destruction.

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