Link to NY City Council "Bitch & Ho" Resolution

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Tue Jul 31 23:03:08 UTC 2007

"Tis Pity. This is being considered by the "Committee on Civil Rights"--a  
committee with obviously a lot of time on its hands.
Res. No. 960 
Resolution calling for a symbolic moratorium on pejorative  use of the “b” 
word and the word “ho.” 
By Council Members Mealy, Arroyo, Avella, Comrie, Dickens,  Fidler, Foster, 
Jackson, Gentile, James, Liu, Mendez, Monserrate, Nelson, Reyna,  Sanders Jr., 
Stewart and Vann 
Whereas, The  Council of the City of New York strongly believes in promoting 
the equality of  all of City residents and strives to foster an environment 
free from  discrimination; and 
Whereas,  Acknowledging the great power of the spoken and written word, a 
power both  immediate in its ability to inspire action and subtle in its 
far-reaching  repercussions, the Council of the City of New York, responding to the 
concerns  of constituent groups and the calls of civic leaders, seeks to join 
the national  conversation about the appropriateness of pejorative  use of terms 
like “bitch” and “ho;” and 
Whereas, The Council believes that the repercussions of  words can be 
constructive or can be insidious, and that words, when misused, can  lay foundations 
to legitimize the illegitimate and codify the unthinkable,  including, for 
example, the concept that it is acceptable to refer to women as  animals or, 
worse, that women are these words used to describe them; and  
Whereas, The  Council recognizes that the word “bitch,” primarily defined by 
the American Heritage Dictionary as  “female canine animal, especially a dog,”
 carries a legitimately non-pejorative  definition, but the Council further 
recognizes that in 1811, Francis Grose, in  his “Dictionary of the Vulgar 
Tongue,” described “bitch” as “A she dog, or  doggess; the most offensive 
appellation that can be given to an English woman,  even more provoking than that of 
whore,” thus documenting a long-standing  tradition of the word’s use for 
purposes of degradation; and 
Whereas, The word “ho” is  commonly used to refer to a whore or woman of 
loose sexual reputation;  and 
Whereas, The Council feels  grave concern at the derogatory use of the words “
bitch” and “ho” in popular  music, and wishes to express particular interest 
in working together with music  industry executives to promote an atmosphere 
of professional responsibility and  public accountability; and 
Whereas, While some artists  such as Queen Latifah make use of words like “
bitch” and “ho” in contexts of  strength and power, arguing “Everytime I hear 
a brother call a girl a  bitch or a ho/Trying to make a sister feel low/You 
know all of that gots to go,”  even such reference is an incommensurate response 
to the verbal assaults of the  words employed by artists such as 50-Cent, 
Eminem, R. Kelly, Snoop Dogg,  Juvenile, Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, and Bow Wow, as 
well as the late Tupac Shakur  and the Notorious B.I.G.; and 
Whereas, Calling “bitch,” “ho,” and the  N-word “extreme curse words,” 
Hip-Hop mogul and Def Jam label co-founder Russell Simmons has called upon record 
executives  to eradicate those words from their industry; and 
Whereas, Simmons, joining together with fellow  Hip-Hop Summit Action Network 
Co-Chair Dr. Benjamin Chavis, issued a statement  reading, “Our internal 
discussions with industry leaders are not about  censorship. Our discussions are 
about the corporate social responsibility of the  industry to voluntarily show 
respect to African-Americans and other people of  color, African-American 
women and to all women in lyrics and images;” and 
Whereas, The words “bitch” and “ho” are used in  popular media other than 
Hip-Hop music in contexts just as insulting and cruel;  and 
Whereas, The Council believes that the use of this hateful language  creates 
for all women a paradigm of shame and indignity, a paradigm equally  
applicable to every woman regardless of whether she is the direct target of such  
attacks or a tangential but equally impacted victim; now, therefore, be  it 
Resolved, The Council of the City of New York calls for a  symbolic 
moratorium on pejorative use of the “b” word and the word  “ho.” 
LS# 3000

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