Monday, September 14, 2009

Essay: "Bop." Langston Hughes. 1949.

10-second review: The origin of Bop, from the noise a cop's nightstick makes on a Negro's head because he's black. Whites cannot understand Bop since they haven't been beaten about the head because they are white.

Quotes: Where does be-bop come from? “From the police beating Negroes’ heads….. Every time a cop hits a Negro with his billy club that old club says, ‘Bop! Bop!...Be-bop! … Mop! …Bop! That’s why so many white folks don’t dig Bop…. White folks do not get their heads beat just for being white. But me—a cop is liable to grab me almost any time and beat my head—just for being colored.” ………. “A black man shall see dark days. Bop comes out of them dark days. That’s why real Bop is mad, wild, frantic, crazy—and not to be dug unless you’ve seen dark days, too. The folks who ain’t suffered much cannot play Bop, neither appreciate it.” ………. “…beat out of somebody’s head! That’s what Bop is.”

Best American Essays of the Century. Editors: Oates and Atwan. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. 2000.

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