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I was listening to Lupe Fiasco’s song, “Bitch Bad.” I found myself not at all offended by the use of the word bitch in the song. I wondered if this was because I listen to rap music (which doesn’t shy away from the word) and, therefore, makes me desensitized to the word. So I listened to Kanye West’s “Perfect Bitch.” Before I knew it I had thrown myself into a Hip Hop bitch review. Then began to think about I feel about the word.

Everyone in the Black community is familiar with the controversy surrounding the use of the word bitch. It is much like the controversy that sparked a national debate over the use of the word nigger. I have my opinions on the use of the word nigger. Which are similar to how I feel about the use of the word bitch; because I am not a woman, I reserve room for some of my opinion to be lacking in perspective. For the sake of having the discussion, I will express my thoughts anyway.

Many of the arguments relating to the use of the word bitch address the historical use of the word as a derogatory term, the use of the word for the sake of appropriating the term to erase the negative connotation, and the actual definition of the word as referring to a female dog. My opinion has little to do with those concerns as I see them as not really significant. As a lover of language, I refuse to believe in the banning of words and/or the demand that certain words not be used. Language is about expression and for the myriad of emotions that people feel and the vast amount of thoughts and concepts that we have, we are always creating words and innovating the usage. Since I believe that language should have no boundaries, I am not concerned about the historical usage (it’s history), appropriation (words are only owned by people when they are unspoken and if they’re unspoken no one knows to care how you use them), and definitions are amiable and they bend and change according to context, connotation, geography, ethnicity, etc.

I am not suggesting that no one should be offended by the word bitch (or any word for that matter) because that we go against one of the purposes of language. What I am suggesting is that those feelings are subjective and should be explored by the individual and whatever boundaries are placed should be restricted to the individuals circle of communication. In other words, if you don’t want to be called a bitch, just tell your friends and those with whom you communicate that you don’t want to be called a bitch. When it comes to expressions such as music and the way other communicate, well, I don’t think that’s really any of your business. There is no universal right or wrong here because every person will not feel the same way.

I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,

An Angry Black Man

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Comments
  1. Yomi says:

    I agree.. same with the word ‘nigger.’ Black people like to say it, but feel as though whites can’t say it. Well if you don’t want others to refer to you as something then YOU shouldn’t refer to yourself as that thing. Plain and simple.

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