Letters for Thursday, May 22, 2008

• Hip hop rap, a malignant cancer

• Kaua‘i to be overrun by illegal immigrants?

• Start at source

Hip hop rap, a malignant cancer

Having recently moved from California, having survived cancer, having been to Relay for Life in California and looking for something to do recently, we decided to make the drive from Princeville to Hanapepe last weekend for Relay for Life.

First, let me say that it was a pretty well-organized Relay. The survivors I met were very nice.

However, I was very disappointed that an event to fight cancer encouraged a cancer that is spreading throughout our country, hip hop rap. To include that in your program seemed contradictory to me.

Hip hop rap is one of the urban problems we moved to Kaua‘i to get away from — and it is a malignant cancer that is infecting and killing more youth all the time.

When it first came out, it was a benign, fun, beat-oriented style of music. But it rapidly changed into something that is more than just a style of music. As the lyrics became more crude and violent, it became a lifestyle that projected an attitude of resentment toward anyone who doesn’t give you what you want right now, a lifestyle of drug and alcohol abuse and anger which is reflected in the shouting of even the least offensive of its messages. Like a cancer, it grew and metastasized and is now at epidemic proportions.

As I said, it is not just a style of music anymore. The lifestyle that goes along with it is a scourge on our young as it has spread from the black communities to all races. For the record, my ancestors are black.

Like drug pushers, proponents of hip hop rap like to introduce new victims by telling them that they have something that won’t hurt them, that’s not like the hard stuff. The so-called “clean” or “good” hip hop rap even makes uninformed adults feel comfortable and maybe even “cool” to share with their children.

But it is like saying “Cigarettes are bad. They give you cancer — however, I will just let my kids smoke filter cigarettes, because they aren’t as bad.” That’s where the fallacy lies. Once you introduce kids to the act of smoking, they are not likely to only smoke filter cigarettes. Once you introduce and promote “clean” or “good” hip hop rap to kids (like you did at your Relay), they are not likely to stick with just the so-called clean stuff. When they go to find more at the music store or on the radio, they will get the violent filth. The radio stations that claim to play the “clean” versions only blank out the worst of the words (and you can usually still hear the first and last sound, so it is not hard for kids to figure out what was said) and the crude subject matter and angry attitude are still there.

Bill Cosby came out in a television interview again recently berating parents who let their kids listen to this stuff. Mr. Cosby said that parents were not doing their jobs if they weren’t telling their kids “No, you can’t listen to this music and no, you can’t listen to those radio stations.” He went on to say that if they were good parents, they would be out marching in front of and protesting radio stations that play the filth that is poisoning our kids.

So, if you are truly dedicated to fighting all kinds of cancer — don’t encourage and promote this “cancer” — this lifestyle that leads to the ruining of so many lives and even deaths every year. I survived physical cancer, but I can only pray that our country will survive this moral and spiritual cancer. The children are our future and it’s not looking too good right now.

Garrett Williams


Kaua‘i to be overrun by illegal immigrants?

I’m writing this letter because I’m concerned about the increasing number of illegal immigrants from Mexico here on the island.

Several Sundays in a row, I have seen a small bus parking at Costco, several men getting off and entering the store. I overheard they are working in Waimea, no doubt for agricultural companies.

On a particular Sunday, these men started to talk with a Hispanic couple with a small baby. I overheard them asking the couple if they had papers. The woman said “No.” The couple lives in Kilauea.

My question is as follows: Is Kaua‘i going to get overrun by illegals the same way California and almost every state has in the last 15 years? Are we going to let agricultural companies import cheap labor while the taxpayers are left paying for social services and the decay these people bring?

Once they start coming here, they will invite their relatives and friends and the tide will be unstoppable. Who is checking these companies’ compliance with immigration rules? Just in case you think of accusing me of racism, I’m Hispanic.

Cathy Soto


Start at source

Attention state Legislature, governor, Department of Education and taxpayers:

An article in The Garden Island (“Hawai‘i prisoners say they want to stay in Kentucky,” A3, May 15) states that the yearly cost for incarcerating 2,000 prisoners from Hawai‘i in Kentucky and Arizona’s privately owned prisons is $50 million a year.

That’s about $25,000 each a year. (Times five to 10-plus years?)

Could we become more proactive and put that money into preschool-to-teen programs? That would eliminate a lot of the suffering we are all exposed to by violence and crime.

Intelligent citizens and professionals (educators, police … ) have known for decades that money spent early and wisely on children is very cost-effective as well as making life more tolerable for everyone.

Betty Unanian



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