Rushing to Judgment

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So I came across an interesting post last week on a great site called AndIAmNotLying.com, 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?
😉
—Kenrya

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