Lupe Fiasco x Rhymefest discuss Occupy Chicago, Race and more on Twitter

Lupe and Rhymefest had a discussion about Occupy Chicago, race and racism on Twitter today.

Check what they talked about below!

Rhymefest: I don't believe @OccupyChicago represents the interest of poor people.

Lupe: Of course I disagree...esp when I see Its poor people who r working to keep @occupychicago running. Moreover I believe @OccupyChicago at least tries to investigate the ROOT CAUSES of why POOR people are POOR in the first place...

Rhymefest: Brother you know as I, its already been investigated. We know the causes. "The New Jim Crow" Michelle Alexander

Lupe: One book is NOT the definitive view. the PIC is 1 piece in a large puzzle that is American Poverty. ALL factors should be vetted. AND you know as well as I do that if brothers simply took themselves out of STUPID situations a LOT of jail time would be avoided.

Rhymefest: I totally concur I presented one book as 1 example of the many studies and works that exist. I've been to @OccupyChicago to observe, & honestly it didnt look like a poverty think tank. "Stupid Situations" don't explain the 100 to 1 disparity in powder coke vs crack sentencing laws, or profiling that occurs. It can't be denied we are systematically targeted for many crimes that others get slaps on the wrist for.

Lupe: Indeed. BUT this systematic targeting fails to explain the REPETITION of the act being committed by the individual.

Rhymefest: Recidivism is explained by the lack of education and training once back on the block. We need trades everyone aint college bound but we can create our own businesses if given the right tools. 30k 2 incarcerate under 15k to educate.

I'm not sayin we don't have fools out in these streets I'm sayin a lot of us are dealt a trick hand at the table 2 begin with. You can't automate a repair man, or a Landscaper careers that require sweat equity. Youre an artist and a businessman you run your own company. This is the most desirable example of what we can do.

Lupe: and what happens when all the "Trades" r automated (see Detroit) when education4work doesn't matter becuz a "job" doesn't exist? U sure about that? Technology is a main source of unemployment. Email is putting the mail man out of work not Drug Laws #BeClear

Rhymefest: You keep talking about work & Jobs We should be thinking Business ownership & Career. We have access to some of the same tech that others do all we need is training fam, we have marketing skills. and most of the time WE ARE THE PRODUCT 4 SALE.

Lupe: I agree but biz ownership is NOT a 1dose fix for American Poverty my brother. Adding more avenues of consumption is double-edged.

Rhymefest: Business ownership is Def a start for our people. who have traditionally been left out of that picture & are in the negative.

Lupe: I think we need think-tanks on the economic benefits of Moderation and a "One Pair Of Jordans Is Enough" summer camp! #GUILTY

Rhymefest: I agree that the America will have to cut back on our consumption of goods. however, as it relates to the disadvantaged who've already been experiencing cut backs for decades this theory is nothing new.

Lupe: Race is a vacuum & i dare say a self-defeatist mentality it has become toxic philosophy no longer a sign of unity thru difference.

Rhymefest: Lol Race is a reality brother, Hispanics in AZ & Alabama now know that better then anyone. Racism Classism Sexism are actual living deseases that must be acknowledged at the detriment of reliving their nasty history.

Lupe: Racism is what plagues arizona. But how do u account for the even more atrocious crimes that WE of brwn/blk skin do to ourselves!

Rhymefest: Racism can be a self inflicted wound. I'm on my way down to AZ 2 assist our Brown comrades & help heal the wound. You think for a sec Bill O'Reilly didn't partly have disdain 4 you on the basis of your race when you were there?

Lupe: That's not racism. also the past & history r subjective as well as the future. What we can only fully understand is the here & now.

Rhymefest: Thats very dangerous 2 forget your past for only what you comprehend here & now!

Lupe: The danger of the past is acting as if you live there now..

Rhymefest: We've travelled around the world. I've seen Racism not just in America there's a Cast system in India thats pretty bad fam. Israel, Russia the Ukraine has particular brands of Racism that hurts people this is not a nostalgic issue.

Lupe: Yes and the caste system in india is not racism...becuz the ppl are of the same race it also pre-dates colonial rule. #BeClear

Rhymefest: The Caste System is where Racism was born lets not get it twisted. Racism is learned. Just because it Pre-dates white doesn't mean it isn't racism white people don't have ownership of all racism.

Lupe: Indian Caste is based on CLASS & JOB DESCRIPTION as my understanding of it educates me... I think the greatest fear of losing ones race is that you have to come to grips with something much more relevant...HUMANITY

Rhymefest: Do you acknowledge Race?

Lupe: I acknowledge race as a blank slate. It is what u make of it. Divinely it is meant to show the grace & power of the Most High.

Rhyemefest: We are both Muslims so I understand your thinking on the praise of the Most high being our sole purpose. However, In this world Laws are made up on the basis of racial constructs. Grass is illegal based on racism Guns in urban america Illegal.

Lupe: Mary Jane is illegal based on foolishness and puritanical conservatism (see Reefer Madness).

Lupe: Im not denying race exists in the world..Im denying race exists in MY world.

Rhymefest: Well I guess you do have something in common with Pres. Obama I think he feels the same way lol

Mikkey Halsted joins the discussion:

Mikkey: Race only exists in peoples perception. It's a relatively new concept. Created w/ intent to divide. i reject it.

Lupe: Race provides a easy "pre-packaged" life whereas when you embrace humanity you gotta do all the cooking yourself.

Mikkey: It's not an ez perception to overcome because those who capitalize off of it work hard to keep it at the 4front.

Lupe: I define humanity as eating, sleeping, loving, hating, crying, dying, lying, praying and my favorite #OCCUPYING!!!


  1. One of the best exchanges on my TL today. Felt like I was watching the hip-hop Great Debators. Lol

  2. this was beautiful. how can you not like these guys?

  3. I see where Rhymefest is coming from, but i honestly dont think race and racism has as big of an impact on us as many would like us to believe...
    the real struggle in US at this time is an economic one imo...
    African americans and latinos have been marginalized in this country for sure, which is why i think they account for a large percentage of poorer class..HOWEVER, we cant make the mistake of attributing economic levels by race..this is one reason im against affirmative action as it stands now...

    I think that if Martin Luther King were alive today he would be focusing on economic injustice not necessarily racial injustice, as he began to do before he was assassinated...

  4. Wow! This was a great discussion l guess u can really learn a thing or 2 on twitter

  5. John M. III - PhD Student - Brown - Africana Studies - EnglishFriday, November 11, 2011 at 1:22:00 AM EST

    To the one who said "I'm against affirmative action"--which I think is foolish, but that's more of my own condescension, and shouldn't take away from my valid disagreement:

    Again, I am appalled at the notion that race is not a defining framework in which society operates, and through which society maintains its white supremacist narrative while concurrently dehumanizing blacks, and thereby allowing for and actively pursuing the subjugation of people of color to varying degrees of oppression.

    To most of you, this is "tl" and you "dr;" to others, please illuminate your minds and at least dignify the need to challenge your own notions of the world and read one or two of those articles.

    In the language of twitter (which I will likely screw up): /disappointedinLupeFiasco.

  6. ^ I don't want to start a discussion/debate based on my misunderstanding of your comment so can you please confirm that "[You are] appalled at the notion that race is NOT a defining framework in which society operates..." meaning society SHOULD operate in a race framework? Is so, I think your belief in race as a definitive and real framework for society is the practice of racism and I cannot respect that. (If you want to know why, please read Omi and Winant's article on Racial Formation). If that is not what you meant, then I stand corrected but I'd appreciate that you'd make your statement more clear.

    (Also, theres no need to display your titles here, especially ones you do not even yet possess, John. A well articulated comment by an anon would suffice.)

    I agree with Lu that fighting racism is not what our priority should be. This society is not reverting back to the pre-Civil Rights period in terms of "race" relations. We can label things all we want and what it comes down to is oppressed vs. oppressor. The OWS movement is about the economic injustice in this country where the the differences are based on people who have too much compared to those who do not have enough and are repeatedly abused by the system - no matter what ethnicity they choose identify themselves with.

  7. John M. III - PhD Student - Brown - Africana Studies - EnglishFriday, November 11, 2011 at 3:24:00 AM EST

    The Avant-Guard of White Supremacy
    Steve Martinot and Jared Sexton

    Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: An American Grammar Book
    Hortense Spillers

    ^Legendary piece of scholarship. Compelling, although her writing could be made more accessible to people who aren't in academics (a problem I have with scholarship in general).

    Loic Wacquant's article: From Slavery to Mass Incarceration
    Pretty much Michelle Alexander's piece before Michelle Alexander's piece; short.

    And some books:

    Red, Black, and White: Cinema and the Structure of US Antagonisms - Frank B. Wilderson III

    The piece discusses the nature of cinema and the interplay between it and the white supremacy ontological structure that Wilderson (and the scholars I listed) attempt to reveal; very compelling, or, at the very least, very intriguing.

    Amalgamation Schemes: Antiblackness and the Crtitique of Multiracialism

    Chronicles the dilemmas that exist in coalition spaces, and the inherent antiblackness in the move toward color-blindness that claiming a unified multiracial front adopts; when that multiracial-ness becomes equated with 'ignoring color', which is ultimately ignoring history, which is ultimately eschewing reality for the sake of unachieved idealism, then that space inheres in or at the very least accepts (and thereby maintains, if not contributes to) antiblackness.

    Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth Century America.

    Probably the most foundational book here, framing the ontological and social death experienced by the slave as inherent to the reality in which we live. That's reductive, so read the book for a better gist.

    Frantz Fanon:
    Black Skin, White Masks
    Wretched of the Earth

    Two beautiful and compelling polemics: the first in the form of narrative/essay (mixed, for the sake of making accessible and tangible his point); the second in the form of speeches given during the activism stage of Fanon's career, making it more inflammatory, but less restrained by convention.

    I could go on. To Rhymefest, Lupe is right--one text doesn't really make the case, but an entire school of thought that is still thriving and flourishing, and has been for decades, does.

    I prioritized the readings based on what I said, so the like should follow in that order if you're interested in reading them.

  8. John M. III - PhD Student - Brown - Africana Studies - EnglishFriday, November 11, 2011 at 3:42:00 AM EST

    Wow. I can't even believe it did it again.

    There's supposed to be a post preceding the one to which you responded; AND there's supposed to be one that explains this problem, and precedes the post that you see, with the list of works that seem to come from nowhere.

    Basically, I first pointed out your misreading of my statement: it is not a matter of "society SHOULD be organized based on race"--I never even pointed to that; I said (mostly in the post that got obliterated) white supremacy, not capitalism, is the ontological structure at the core of ontological antagonisms in the world today; hence, white supremacy IS (not should be, IS) the organizing principle in which even class persists. acknowledged the piece to which you claim allegiance and noted that most of these forthcoming scholars would passionately and validly disagree with the disavowal of white supremacy as the overarching ontological principle that defines society: Frantz Fanon; Aime Cesaire; Angela Davis; Achille Mbembe; Hortense Spillers (groundbreaking radical black feminist); Saidiya Hartman (almost the basis of Afro-Pessimism as a paradigm); Cornel West (google "Black Strivings in the Twilight Civilization"); Henry Louis Gates Jr. (sometimes); Frank B. Wilderson III ( likely the most prominent and important scholar in African American Studies working today); Arlene Keizer (beautifully analyzes the neo-slave narratives of Morrison; challenges Althusserian notions (many of which permeate the politics to which many liberals ascribe); and Jared Sexton (whose work on anti blackness in multicultural coalition spaces is beautiful, jarring, and illuminating)--and so many more.

    All of them ultimately ascribe to the disarticulation of the Marxist critique of capitalism (and all its descendants, or any critique of 'society' writ large that founds itself on "class") by the non-ontological position of the slave, and, then, of blackness itself, shredding apart that critique at its very base concepts (work, exploitation, hegemony, and consent).

    Some works, prioritized (most of them are in the post above this one, but these are the first and most important (to see where I'm coming from, anyway):

    First, a nice summary of the paradigm to which I ascribe (but by no means a full account):

    Second, the argument that I say 'disarticulates the Marxist critique of capitalism':
    "Gramsci's Black Marx: Whither the Slave in Civil Society?"

    The rest are in the other post.

  9. Rhyme hands down won that debate!!!

  10. rhymefest spoke his mind and so did lupe fiasco, now im more on rhymefest side because i dont think peace will ever arrive with out guns, now im not mad at lupe he seem very optimistic with this design that if we stay humble and get the normal minds to agree with us that all of us will unify against the 1% well its already been along time and it comes a time when you say enough is enough, lets be honest people that really know about these wars, do it to either get paid, or for self interest such promotion, and then you have the few that just dont care, and do anything someone tells them, the hard core fact is that a lot of people know and understand that the united states government is similar to a thief if it were a person, its still from its people, and it definetly still from other people in the world, and what do you do to a thief that is known, like a drug lord action is going to be needed, so this notion that sitting down doing noting is going to fix the problem is wrong, the world could be healed if we just put this government into a cell, we have gun we can control a couple of bases, and from there will make our voices heard, occupying a street means nothing to those that are laughing at the balcony thats just the fact, and no matter what you say, thats the truth who do you think controls the media??? everything you touch the 1% controls, now im happy that people are not letting the crumbs side track them, like race, sex and all of the other bullshit, but we better get up while we have time before its too late, and we will be the ones to be blamed for once the world is controlled, its similar to hitlar accomplishing his last step, complete control.


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