MSNBC is focusing today on Isiah Thomas in the NBA referring to a woman as a ‘bitch.‘ In an interview he said that calling a woman ‘bitch’ is wrong – but more wrong if a white man says it- even more wrong if a white man is referring to a black woman.
Is he prejudiced? Is there a different standard for black men than for white men. He might be prejudiced – but he may also be struggling with articulating his understanding of cultural differences. The liberals in charge of ‘political correctness’ are in a real quandary. These are the same people that advocate ‘cultural diversity’ – respecting the culture of others.
As you know, I was raised with five brothers – and we fought like brothers. But if anyone else attacked one of us we would unite with the ferocity of Moses. There is something of that mentality in play with the ‘B’ word. Over the years my friends and I have had terms of endearment that would have been seen as extremely offensive to anyone not in our immediate circle. Actually – they were some pretty offensive terms – we used words to insult race, gender, intellect, family – nothing was sacred – but it was in the context of our culture – the culture of intimate friendship. If someone outside of our circle used one of our descriptors in reference to any of us – we were offended. The difference between us and the defenders of the ‘B’ word is that we did not advertise or expect others to respect our right to be culturally crude.
The problem is not with the word itself – it is with an ‘us and them’ mentality. Race is not the same as culture – but these terms are often confused. W.E.B DuBois, Martin Luther King, Booker T. Washington, and Richard Wright would not have stood for the degradation of black women by black men. This phenomenon is an embarrassment to dignified men in the Black Community.