Students and faculty alike were enlightened last Wednesday, on the impact that hip hop has on Latinx culture.
Professor Tinajero gave a lecture on the subject as part of the UNT Dallas speaker series. In the presentation, he challenged the archaic views that modern academia has on traditional rhetoric.
According to him “the hip hop discourse of Latinx community is directly connected to the complex identity of this ethnic group.”
He asserted this point by giving three examples of rhetoric, and asked the crowd if they could understand what was being said in each.
The first was a Shakespearean sonnet, written in old English. About seven people raised their hands when prompted.
The second was an academic paper, very dry stuff. About six people raised their hands after Tinajero read an excerpt.
Lastly, he played the Snow Tha Product music video “Bilingue“. Only three people understood the entirety of the video.
The professor argued that this rap song should be viewed in the same light as the other examples stating “there’s value there, and it challenges traditional notions of what rhetoric is.”
“another reason it’s important to study Latino hip-hop is because it highlights what I call a multi consciousness of Latinx people”
Here, Tinajero was referring to the cultural theory posited by W.B. Du Bois. Where minority groups have to view themselves as both a member of a society, in this case Americans. As well as members of a culturally divergent group, in this case Latinx.
He uses artist Chingo bling as an example. Referencing his controversial billboard campaign where he placed multiple signs promoting his album They Can’t Deport us All. This sentiment is unique among South and Central American immigrants within the United States, and the Professor thought it an apt rhetorical display of multi consciousness.
In short, Tinajero feels the field focuses too strongly on classic sources such as Aristotle or Plato and places too little stock in modern examples. He goes on to point out that, as a minority group, the Latinx people struggle to find common ground with traditionally Anglo paradigms. If scholars were to put more effort into studying culturally appropriate rhetoric, in this case Latinx hip hop, they may be able to open up a more productive dialogue and gain a better understanding of this ethnic groups means of discourse.
After the lecture, there was a live performance by LowBrow Collective, as well as a Mexican buffet. Many found the Latin jazz styling to their liking, and complimented the group on the show.