media of communication in America, and indeed the world, are
dominated by only a few dozen giant corporations. In this
society it takes unimaginable amounts of money to gain access
to the major forms of communication (television, radio, printing
presses, etc) and thus access to large audiences. The common
person has little or no access to "legitimately"
broadcast his/her message to the masses. Graffiti, in fact
hip-hop in general, is one medium of communication which does
not discriminate on the basis of race, social, economic, or
educational class. It is an outlet of expression that anyone
can take part in and no one can stop, censor, or effectively
control. Those who control the media control the masses. Because
all people, regardless of economic class, can broadcast their
thoughts and feelings through graffiti it is actually a threat
the dominant class’s monopoly on power. In this manner graffiti
is inherently subversive. It defies the control of the dominant.
It also defies society's emphasis on property and materialism.
It is an open rejection of "mine" and "yours."
Graffiti by its very nature claims that this property, this
space, this society is no more yours than it is mine.
The world is
OURS. Very clearly then graffiti, hip-hop, and all other
forms of popular communication are threats to those who
think that the world is THEIRS. For this reason the dominant
class uses other media of communication, ones that they
can control, to discredit and delegitimize graffiti and
hip-hop in general by saying it is destructive, ugly, costly
or violent. To some people it may be, but to others it is
a hope, a chance, an outlet, the one way in which they will
be heard, the one way in which they can take back some of
the power that the dominant have taken from them. It is
their one chance to asymmetrically transmit to the world,
rather than be asymmetrically transmitted to. Hip-hop and
Graffiti should be recognized as one of the few modes of
communication that does not discriminate rich from poor,
black from white, smart from stupid, or popular from unpopular.
It should be seen not as a social vice, but as a predictable
product of a society in which the masses are silenced, misdirected,
marginalized and oppressed.