What Influences the Teenager's Thoughts?

On Friday I confiscated an Mp3 player from one of my students. For some reason they seem to think that the district rules which ban all cell phones and other electronic devices from use do not apply to them. I wonder why they feel that they need a personal soundtrack for every second of the day. Research shows that “multi-tasking” is a myth. The people who are supposedly proficient at it are actually switching their attention from task to task at a faster rate. So listening to music is NOT something they can do without distracting them from their assignments.

Whether students should be allowed to use Mp3 and cell phones during class is not the point of this though. Instead, I decided that for my own personal curiosity I wanted to know just what it was that was on this music player… so I plugged it into my laptop and downloaded a list of the sing titles. Now, these are simply the titles, and not even the lyrics. Regardless of how you feel about the students having the “right” to listen to their own music, certainly there is a real problem with the material they are choosing to engulf their brains in. It is no wonder that the youth of today have no respect for themselves or any hopes for the future – instead they consume and allow themselves to be constantly bombarded with brainwashing that endorses violence and hatred.

am I exaggerating? Here are some of the titles on this list (and these are only the titles-the lyrics go much beyond this):

“Shorty wanna be a thug” – 2 pac-Tupac
“The big bad ass” – Ant Banks
“F****n’ with banks” – Ant Banks
“Suicidal Thoughts” – Biggie smalls
“Mo Murda” (more murder) – Bone Thugs N Harmony
“Shoot Em Up (screwed and chopped)” – Bone Thugs N Harmony
“Smoke da weed” – Clika One
“Hits from the Bong” – Cypress Hill
“I wanna get high” – Cypress Hill
“Smoke Weed” – Cypress Hill
“Doobie Ashtray” – Devin the Dude
“Assassination Day” – Ghostface Killah (killer)
“Waiting to die” – Hed PE
“F*** Dying” – Ice Cube & Korn
“Smoking on a J” – Koopsta Knicca – Da Devil’s Playground
“Stash Pot” - Koopsta Knicca
“Smoking Buddah” – Krazie Bone
“Thug Mentality” – Krazie Bone
“Live Ni**a rap”
“So F*****g What” – Metallica
“Ain’t my b*tch” – Metallica
“Drop a gem on ‘em” – Mobb Deep
“Silent Murder” – Nas
“Watch Dem Ni**as” – Nas
“Take it in blood” – Nas
“Party and B*llsh*t” – Notorious B.I.G.
“Give me the loot” - Notorious B.I.G.
“Me & My B*tch” - Notorious B.I.G.
“Ready to die” - Notorious B.I.G.
“F***ing Hostile” – Pantera
“Suicide Note Pt. 1″ – Pantera
“Murderers and Robbers” – Project Pat
“Guillotine [Swordz]” – Raekwon
“Angel of Death” – Slayer
“Fight till Death” – Slayer
“Mandatory Suicide” – Slayer
“People=Sh*t” – Slipknot
“Psychosocial” Slipknot
“Move mutha F***a” – The Kaze
“Porno Movie” – Three Six Mafia
“Break da law” – Three Six Mafia
“Ain’t no B*tches (like the ones I got)” – Too Short
“Blow Job Betty” – Too Short
“Dope Fiend Beat” – Too short
“I’d rather be your NI**A” – Tupac Shakur
“Shame on a Ni**a” – Wu Tang Clan

This particular student has a parent who is a school teacher and plays on the soccer team. The models of character and citizenship . . . where are the heroes?


ASNE Reynolds Institute in Arizona

My departure from journalism has proven to be only a sabbatical.  After a year of teaching English my school's principal has asked me to create a journalism program for the school starting this fall.  Despite working in a newsroom for a dozen years, the fact is that there are a lot of things I do not know about how other aspects of a newspaper work - especially a student newspaper.

Shortly after I was presented with the opportunity to start a school newspaper, take over as the yearbook advisor and teach a broadcasting/multi-media class I received an invitation from the ASNE (American Society of News Editors) to apply for one of the spots in their Reynolds Institute.  Over 600 people applied to the program and 35 were accepted. I was one of the candidates that was selected.

So, to find out the details about the program (at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in Arizona) you can visit our blog:  Reynolds Institute