News Way of Looking at the Word, “Ho”

Has Black Culture’s appropriation of the word “Ho” changed it’s meaning, in the male perspective. Has the word “Ho” now become a way of dehumanizing the general population of Black women by refusing to acknowledge their individual and complex identities, and become simply another term to describe a mass of name-less, face-less, PUSSY. A term that was once given on the basis of a woman’s sexual morals can now be used in casual conversation in discussing Black women among Black men and sometimes amongst Black women, to describe women, whether familiar or unfamiliar, without any knowledge of her sexual practice or promiscuity.

 

Has Black Culture’s appropriation of the word “Ho” changed it’s meaning in the female perspective. When used in discussion amongst Black Women, it is often used to reference the undesirable Black woman, or those deemed by the speaker as undesirable. Often said with disdain, or indifference. But when used in these type of discussions, does the word, “Ho” become a term that’s essential existence is to verbally appropriate the person with the label as morally less than, regardless of their sexual standing?

 

Has the meaning of the word “Ho” become a term used simply to dehumanize and lessen the value of the Black woman of which we currently hold in contempt when using the word OR has the appropriation of the word “Ho” transformed the term into a simple denotation of  race, gender, and class, as being  lower-class(economically), Black and Female?

 

The sexism and sexual oppression of women throughout the world is evident. However, in this discussion, analyzing the use of the word “Ho,” and the perception of Black Women as seen in mass media and popular culture, is crucial to the understanding of the term and it’s use as a controlling and oppressive image of Black womanhood and femininity, used to justify the sexual oppressive acts and behaviors that target Black women. The black woman’s experience within the U.S. is one that is unique and different from the intersecting oppressive forces amongst women of different cultures. The oppression is different, not of higher value or lesser value.Therefore, as a result, we can not minimize the differences of the African American female experience by trying to place it amongst a broad homogenous struggle of women. In doing so, we refuse to acknowledge the unique and indiviual experiences of not just African American women facing sexism, but the unique and individual experience of all women facing racism in the world.Confronting the controlling images forwarded by institutions external to the African-American community remain essential, however, it is equally important that we examine how these same controlling images are being perpetuated in the African -American community and create the appropriate solutions and acts of resistance. So the question becomes, if we do not discuss the unique forms of oppression aimed at Black women or that often effect Black women, how do Black women as a collective resist intersecting oppressions as they affect us and the communities we live in? How do U.S. Black women indentify the specific issues associated with controlling images of Black womanhood without safe spaces within the Black community where we can talk freely? And, how do we contest and resist these images if we do not first identify the language being used within their oppression?

-Dean Steed

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