Rushing to Judgment

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

So I came across an interesting post last week on a great site called, and I got stuck. Not only did I read every word of the post, but I read quite a few of the comments, too. What could make me pause for more than five minutes in my daily hustle? A post called “Types of Bitches.” Yeah.

So it’s a list of 90 types of bitches compiled by a least one kid in a Washington, DC third grade class (the teacher found it on the floor), and features gems such as “Got all that mouth but can’t step bitches” and “Bitches that be ignoring you when they know they can hear you” and “Bitches who think their man love them but get pregnant and be left alone.” Yeah.

My first thought was, wow, this is hella crazy/sad/hilarious. My second thought was, what is a bitch anyway? My third thought was, damn, was I even thinking that way when I was eight or nine years old? I mean, I had been a latchkey kid for a couple years at that point, and was taking care of my little sister during the summer and reading Danielle Steel books from the library in my spare time, so it’s fair to say that I was ahead of my years. But I can’t imagine what it takes to make kids that young create such a detailed ode to anger and judgment that basically says, “If you are different than me, then you’re a bitch, and I’m going to judge you now.”

And it makes me think, where did that attitude come from? It’s easy to shake our heads and ask “What’s wrong with kids today?” or something else that makes us sound old. But I don’t care how creative a kid is, she didn’t just pull this out of her imagination; there is both context and subtext here. It takes a kid who has already observed and internalized stereotypes and divisive tactics to include “Spanish bitches who think they all that cause of their hair” on this list. Is this an instance of “she get it from her mama,” where this baby heard phone calls at home where women were denounced as “ragly braid bitches,” and chicks in the neighborhood are snapped on for wearing “their pajamas outside?” Or is the problem bigger than what she’s hearing at home, or even what she’s hearing on television and at school? I mean, I have 10- and 14-year-old stepdaughters and while my mouth could be described as decidedly potty when they are not around, I never curse or talk bad about people around them. But does that mean they aren’t being exposed to attitudes every day that make it perfectly normal to spew judgment all over folks?

The bottom line is that kids are always listening/imitating/internalizing, and it’s up to all of us to watch what we’re modeling—even when we don’t think they are paying attention.

What do you think this list was born out of? Oh, and for the record, I’m bitches numbers 24, 41 and 89. What numbers are you?

If you like Kenrya’s opinion, check out the rest of her posts below.

Last 5 posts by kenrya

  • Lani

    I’m 24, 28, 42, and 88

    I agree, adults need to mind what they say and do around kids. The b word is not appropriate for anyone to say, it belittle’s women. I don’t like being called it, nor do I use it. But students come to school with way too many emotions and stereotypes that half the elementary school day is talking about how to cope, talk to others, and mind your business.

  • Van

    My teacher would have closed down the classroom, sent someone to get the principal, parents would have been called and the investigation would have begun! If no one confessed, everyone would have had detention forever!

    Creativity, I think not. Negativity is more like it. . . I took a quick glance at the list. In certain communities nowadays it is common for males to call females the “b” word. Are these thoughts in our young girls minds only, or are they the the collective thoughts of both male and female third graders?

    That’s all I have to say about this.

  • What’s most alarming about this story is the glaring fact that misogny is now heavily pervasive amoung girls and women.

    When did we (women as a whole) transition from Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman”, Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” and Queen Latifah’s “U.N.I.T.Y”, Alicia Keyes’ “A Woman’s Worth” to the B word becoming a woman’s mantra? What happened to our valuation? What happened to “I am woman, here me roar”? How can we truly expect men to respect us when we don’t respect ourselves?

    I used to worry about the kind of boyfriend my daughter would bring home when she became of age (given all the images he’s exposed to on music videos, magazines, etc.), now I have to worry about the kind of girlfriend my son brings home…

    It’s very sad.

  • @For the Great Good…: Agreed. Well said.

  • Saddened but not surprised. Kids learn it from parents or whomever is raising (or not raising) them. After witnessing teens who hit school staff w/o punishment (teachers receive no support from principals so there’s no discipline) reading about a note like this written by a third grader doesn’t shock me at all. Parents are just as terrible. Sorry to sound so negative but it’s all too real

  • J.Akilah

    There are no excuses. Times have simply changed. I work with children ages 10-14 (unless they got held back somewhere along the line). It’s quite common to hear these things. I’ve had parents call me a ‘miserable bitch’ in front of their children and then swear that they are covered in the ‘blood of Jesus’. Folks are confused. That’s all there is to it. At some point it became okay to say Bitch on television. These lil’ revolutions lead to bigger issues. For real.