Jay-Z Still Big Pimping

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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. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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