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  1. #1
    Noego is offline Senior Member
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    Major confusion about a text...

    Hello everyone.

    I'm currently preparing my students for a very important examination.

    I'm teaching them a book which contains examples of what the final exam is going to look like.

    Anyways, I stumbled upon a text which is really giving me a hard time. I find it poorly written as I consider it unclear and ridden with ambiguities.

    I took the time to type the whole text so that I could share it with you guys.

    I would really appreciate any input about it:

    "Shots ring out in South Central Los Angeles. A man screams in horror. This man has been shot in a heated gang war. This is everyday life for gang members. Gang member are used to cold-blooded murder and most attend at least 5 funerals a week. Similar situations occur in Harlem, New York and in other places in the country.


    Why is this happening? Many people think that rap music is making kids more violent. They think that rap music is just a praise of violence. All rap music is doing to show how horrible and inhuman life is in the ghettos across the country. This is what’s really happening out there. It’s not fake.


    Right now, there is a major conflict between West Coast and East Coast rappers. East and West are fighting an evil battle that leaves hundred of poor, helpless people dead in the street. There’s no reason for this to be going on.


    Back in the early 1990s, when was rap was beginning to be popular, the East/West war wasn’t quite there yet but it was slowly becoming more and more obvious that there was a conflict between rappers. Part of the reason that the war started was that West Coast dominated and nobody questioned their superior position. Ice Cube, Ice T, and Eazy E were the rappers of the moment. The war slowly went worse when East Coast rappers began to get more publicity. West Coast rappers were upset that they weren’t 100% in the spotlight so they started to make fun of East rappers in their music proclaiming that East Coast rap was fake and couldn’t stop West Coast. Then, East Coast rappers fired back at West Coast rappers and it kept up like that until someone decided that the other coast had gone too far."

    __________________________________________________ ______________


    Now here’s the question:

    34. According to the passage, rap music is __________.
    A. popular among kids
    B. a tool to make conflicts
    C. praised by gang members
    D. All of the above

    I find this question really awkward. The answer is “D. All of the above.” The thing is, I don’t think that the first choice (“A”) is necessarily true. It’s not stated or even implied that rap music is popular among kids. The text only mentions that:

    “Why is this happening? Many people think that rap music is making kids more violent. They think that rap music is just a praise of violence.”

    The text mentions that rap music makes kids more violent. That doesn’t imply in any way that rap is popular among kids. A certain music type can make kids violent but it doesn’t imply that it’s necessarily popular.

    I just fond the answers awkward because I don’t think the text actually states or implies any of them.

    “B.” is true as it’s pretty much mentioned that East Coast and West Coast use rap to insult each other.

    As for “C. praised by gang members.” The only way to actually deduce that gang members enjoy rap is because most of the text talks about rap whereas only the first paragraph talks about the gang members. This is the only way I can see that would somehow help establishing that gang members praise rap.

    Also, is the following sentence correct:
    “All rap music is doing to show how horrible and inhuman life is in the ghettos across the country.”
    It seems like really odd to me, especially the part in bold.

    Also, according to that sentence, rap is used to illustrate how difficult life is in the Ghetto. To me, that doesn’t imply that rap is the reason why the gang members are fighting.

    The whole thing is just really confusing. Are the gang members fighting because they represent either East Coast or West Coast or do they just fight for different reasons and just happen to listen to rap music? Or does rap music influences the rap members to be more violent which leads to violence?

    What do you think?


  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Re: Major confusion about a text...

    In answer to your doubts about #D - there is a mention of popularity, though I think it is stretching the interpretation a little :Back in the early 1990s, when was rap was beginning to be popular,

    In answer to your objection to #C - I think the inference is taken from para.1 where gang warfare is specifically referred to.

    Also, is the following sentence correct:
    “All rap music is doing to show how horrible and inhuman life is in the ghettos across the country.”
    It seems like really odd to me, especially the part in bold. I rather agree - I think "is" has been missed out in front of "to show".

    I don't think the writer (who is not a good one, by the way) is saying that rap is the reason for the gang warfare, but that in rap can be identified the reasons.


    The whole thing is just really confusing. Are the gang members fighting because they represent either East Coast or West Coast or do they just fight for different reasons and just happen to listen to rap music? Or does rap music influences the rap members to be more violent which leads to violence?
    It seems to me that preference for West/East Coast rap is an expression of a gang's internal loyalties, and that the violence, the use of/liking for rap, and the actions of gangs in the ghettoes are interlinked and mutually connected.

    The passage looks as if it has been taken from a (not very well) written piece of journalism. I am not surprised you have found it confusing.
    Last edited by Anglika; 21-May-2007 at 10:01. Reason: mistyping

  3. #3
    Noego is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Major confusion about a text...

    Thank you Anglika.

    About: "Back in early 1990s, when rap was beginning to be popular".

    The problem is that just because a certain music becomes popular doesn't mean that it's popular among kids. It could be popular among adults or older people.

    I just feel lost if my student asks me: "But how do you know rap is popular among kids."

    I feel like it wouldn't even be interpretation anymore but rather just making stuff up to make up for the lack of information.

    Anyone has any clue as to how to explain that?

  4. #4
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Re: Major confusion about a text...

    Quote Originally Posted by Noego View Post
    Thank you Anglika.

    about: "Back in early 1990s, when rap was beginning to be popular".

    The problem is that just because a certain music becomes popular doesn't mean that it's popular among kids. It could be popular among adults or older people.

    I just feel lost if my student asks me: "But how do you know rap is popular among kids."

    I feel like it wouldn't even be interpretation anymore but rather just making stuff up to make up for the lack of information.

    Anyone has any clue as to how to explain that?
    I suspect the answer lies in the fact that the other part of this discussion is the nature of street gangs. Although there may be [relatively] older people in gangs, by far the highest number of gang members are below the age of 25. Gangs of this kind tend to be composed of adolescents. Either they end up in prison, or they grow up, and no longer need the security of the gang culture.

    As I said before, this passage is not particularly well-written, and a great many inferences and assumptions have to be made by logical connections. It also requires a wider knowledge than the information provided by the writer.

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