Bosmajian's scholarly research on the language of oppression began in the 1960s when he examined the rhetoric of Adolf Hitler and Nazis, especially the language used to demonize and dehumanize the Jews and other "enemies" of the State. "The Nazis persistent portrayal of the Jews as 'vermin,' 'bacilli,' 'parasites,' and 'disease' contributed to the 'Final Solution,'" he notes. His explorations of how language has been used to defend the indefensible led him to examine the language of white racism in a seminal journal article in 1969; the paper subsequently was reprinted in over a dozen anthologies and texts adopted in university courses across the nation.
"With the subjugation and suppression of African Americans came a language which labeled them 'chattels,' 'property,' and 'beasts,'" he notes. This sort of oppressive language appeared in legal documents, political speech, and religious discourse. Similarly, he says, the subjugation and extermination of a significant population of "American Indians" was accompanied by the use of dehumanizing language defining them as "non-persons," "savages," and "Satan's partisans." SOURCE
So, why do so many members of the hip hop community defend demeaning language against black women as if it doesn’t matter? In this month’s issue of Complex Magazine, Ja Rule says:
There's a f***ing black kid right now about to get 25 years for having a fight with some white kids over hanging the nooses over the white tree, let’s get to that. Let's get into sh*t like that, because that's what's tearing up America, not me calling a woman a b*tch or a ho on my rap songs. And if it is, then we need to go step to Paramount, and f****ng MGM, and all of these other motherf**kers that's making all of these movies and we need to go step to MTV and Viacom, and lets talk about all these f***ing shows that they have on MTV that is promoting homosexuality, that my kids can't watch this sh*t. Dating shows that's showing two guys or two girls in mid afternoon. Let's talk about sh*t like that! If that's not f***ing up America, I don't know what is. There's a lot of issues we can address besides hip-hop, but they want to put everything on us like we're the problem. But see, and this is going to be a shameless f***ing plug, but I said, "when everyone wants to point the finger, and ask why there's so much corruption, they only need to look in the mirror." It starts with themselves.Can you know the history of any oppressed people and not acknowledge the damage words can do? Can you hear the daily choruses of “bitch,” “ho,” “chickenhead,” “trick” and the like in hip hop and black popular culture and not know that there is a war on black women? Can you believe that young, black girls who grow up hearing those words and seeing them made real in countless videos on BET, aren’t dying a little inside, aren’t learning to hate themselves? Can you think that young, black men aren’t learning to see women as less than human—a collection of jiggling tits and asses to pleasure them and bear their children? Really?
And to make already appalling matters worse, apparently racism = bad; misogyny and homophobia = good. I am as angry at the injustices perpetrated in Jena, Louisiana, as any feeling, thinking person, but you can’t rail against the oppression of those young, black men, while on the other hand upholding a patriarchy that makes black women, gays and lesbians second class citizens.
To Ja Rule and all the hip hop apologists, here are some words for you: Hate speech is hate speech. And you aren’t really about justice if you aren’t about justice for all.