Jay-Z Still Big Pimping

So it turns out that the rumors of Jay-Z dropping "bitch" from his vocabulary are utterly false. Leaving aside the thin empathy underlying this alleged "Come to Wollstonecraft" moment, I'm not really disappointed. I think reducing misogyny to the usage of the word "bitch" misses the point--and then in some way's it really is the point. I don't know that hip-hop is any more sexist than other art-forms that takes boys and young men as its primary audience, and is generally created by boys and young men. I don't think hip-hop has anything on comic books or video games, for instance. It's true that hip-hop is more profane than any of those other art-forms--but it's more profane about everything, not just gender. 

I understand the focus on the word "bitch," given its particular history and usage. But we should mindful of reductionism for reasons both political and artistic. There is a whole school of thought that holds racism is impossible unless attended by the word "nigger." And there are plenty of ways to regard a women as bitches, without ever saying the word. 

Finally, I have never wanted a world where white people were forever banned from using the word nigger. That's not really the point. All words exist in a context. Rap's "bitch" problem has never been about the word itself, but the context in which it's regularly used.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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