I was drinking my coffee this morning at my kitchen table, looking through my most recent issue of Time Magazine (November 1, 2010) when I came across an article that not only caught my intrest but also hit a little bit of a soft spot in my heart. The title of the article is Ballads For the Bad Guys with the intro underneath saying, “The Mexican craze for songs glorifying the violent lives (and deaths) of drug lords has crossed the border. Are narcocorridos the Latin gangsta rap?”. Now, as a native Texan, (a state that is nearly half latino in population) I grew up with almost as many friends of Hispanic descent as white. So I am always interested in what is going on in the current events of Latino culture. I read on.
According to the Time article, “Mexicans have been singing about drug runners since the 1930s”. But it goes on to say that in the 90’s they started to get more and more graphic and set the lyrics to really catchy beats, which is where the explosion of the “Narco” genre began. They sing about things like beheading people who cross them and shooting anyone who gets in their way and aweful things like that. The year 2000 was when the music really hit big. Basically the article was saying that this music is encouraging the druggie life style in latino youth. The faithful listeners of this music have gotten so wrapped up in it that, for a lot of them, it has become their identity. The Time article compares this music to what gangsta rap was in the 1990s.
So here is why this Time Magazine article hit a soft spot in my heart: It made me sad that so many latino youth feel the need to find their identity in this drug glorifying, violent trend. It saddens me that such a huge chunk of our growing population (Wikipedia says that Latinos make up 15% of the U.S. population) is so drawn to this negative image. I’m sure it’s not all Latino youth, but the article I was reading this morning sure did make it seem like a large majority of them. When I was growing up in Texas, it seemed like all of my friends who were of some sort of Latino descent had the most hard working, happy, faith-driven parents and families. It’s sad to think that this might be changing with future generations.
After I read the article and sat there finishing off my coffee, I continued to think. I decided that really, it’s not just the Latino youth, it’s all of our country’s youth. With more electronic-blah-blah and negative role-models, along with less time spent with their parents and grandparents, youth are becoming shaped more by current celebrities rather than their family’s values. The most influential role model will ALWAYS be a child’s parent.
I guess I understand now what our grandparents and great-grandparents of every culture have always said, “It breaks my heart, I just don’t know what has gotten into kids these days.”
Time Magazine has this link to find out more about the narcocorridos: