During World War I, the Boston editor William Monroe Trotter described black American patriotism as a cautious endeavor and America's willingness to participate in the World War while it turned its back on domestic issues as misguided. In an era when freedom bypassed most black women and men within the nation-state of America and in an era of mass lynching in the American South, he proclaimed that black Americans and the U.S. government might refocus their efforts on making the world safer for "Negroes."
Like William Monroe Trotter, the rap group Public Enemy's rap odyssey "Welcome to the Terrordome," from their critically acclaimed concept album In Fear of a Black Planet, emphasizes domestic terrorism through lyrically exposing how our nation's state apparatuses inflict terror into and upon the everyday lives of black Americans. In Fear of a Black Planet comes out of the protest tradition often characterized in black American music; MC's Flava Flav, Chuck D, Professor Griff, Terminator X, and Bill Stephany chronicle a historical, cultural, and social lyrical map of the dominant culture's fear of, and attack upon, black Americans. This process, their album cover explains, is a form of domestic terrorism often covered up by the dominant culture (and, at times, by people of color) as an exercise in legitimizing white supremacy and in protecting the toxic well of nation-state social relations from which historically marginalized groups are asked to drink. In response to the poisons of discrimination, Chuck D asserts in "Welcome to the Terrordome" that the creation of useful knowledge is a constructive response to oppression and a vehicle to unveil, and therefore transform, U.S. white supremacy.
Whaley, Deborah Elizabeth
"Black Expressive Art, Resistant Cultural Politics, and the [Re] Performance of Patriotism,"
Trotter Review: Vol. 17:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarworks.umb.edu/trotter_review/vol17/iss1/4