Race & Politics

On The Dangerous Thinking Behind “THOT”

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(The following is from Justin Laing, a Pittsburgh-area educator and activist. This is a version of a piece originally published on his blog, Hillombo.)

I had a thought-provoking and somewhat troubling conversation with a broad range of Black men at my barbershop a couple Saturdays ago. New to me and a few of the men was THOTS — an acronym for “that ho over there” that young people (primarily young men) are using with increasing frequency.

In the course of the discussion, I remarked that the term was terrible and likely to boomerang. A young man responded that what was terrible was that young women do the things that make them worthy of such names. Obviously, there is no mystery in what makes a young woman supposedly “worthy” of that dehumanizing distinction: either engaging in sex with a number of partners that young men determine excessive, or “acting” like you do. And, as is often the case with terms like this, sometimes all a young woman has to do to be referred to as a “THOT” is…exist.

It felt good that the young man later followed up his comment with some empathy, reflecting that there could be a reason for the young woman’s behavior. Interestingly enough, no mention was made, explanation was given, or word was created about the sexual behavior of the men these THOTs are involved with. After all, you can’t be a THOT without willing male partners.

The young man who made the comment was by no means expressing a viewpoint unique to him or even a minority view. We live in a White supremacist, patriarchal culture (literally, rule of the father) so the image and identity of Black women and girls are under regular assault. So, I guess what really struck me about the this term was that it was even more dismissive and dehumanizing than what I normally hear, but it’s important to consider it because the language of youth tells us a lot about where we stand as culture. Who did they learn it from? Also, I have to reflect on why the term might be striking to me when I’m aware of the culture we live in.

There is this term, “middle class subterfuge,” that a former professor of mine taught to explain how middle class people hide their ideas, particularly around power, with all kinds of euphemisms. So, I shouldn’t be surprised at hearing a term like “THOTS” in a community that is largely working class and less prone to euphemisms, but still the dehumanizing language literally sent a shockwave of fear through me. Fear, because we dehumanize classes of people to justify all kinds of things that are done to them, very often violent things, and so dehumanizing women and girls in language is simply a stage in a continuum of violence. And, I have seen on one occasion walking with my daughter at Kennard Field, how the idea that young women are little more than sexual props sits very present in the minds of boys not even 14 years old.

This got me to thinking about where does the desire to prevent male violence against women show up in neighborhood planning beyond well lit streets? When we talk about building on the cultural legacies we often are thinking about supporting our identities in racial and ethnic terms, but what about in gender terms? What kinds of design choices would we make if we wanted to build on a cultural legacy that challenged the thinking behind THOTS? The thinking that leaves women and girls vulnerable to rape and abuse and traps men and boys in ideas of manhood and boyhood that encourages unprotected sex with multiple partners and all of the consequences that can follow when we are still very young.

What part of Master Planning and neighborhood revitalization asks questions about the impact of the environment on the identities of men and boys and how those identities can be engaged with to prevent violence and the dehumanizing of women and girls, even if we are “only” talking about dehumanizing language?

(You can follow Justin at @jdlaing)

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • BreezyX2

    I got nothing…am just up without a purpose.

    • ratchet d-Ibaka

      Go listen to TD Jakes and getchu a purpose!

      • BreezyX2

        ROTFLMBO…Shuddup! *insert Jakes dvd*

    • h.h.h.

      Yea, I have no comment for today. See y’all tomorrow.

    • LMNOP

      Spring forward is the worst. It’s so hard to go to sleep earlier and this first Monday morning, you try and get out of bed at your normal time and your body is just like “fvck no. I need another hour.”

  • NomadaNare

    The same place that asks questions about those same impacts on LGBTQ folk, persons with disabilities, and also women in these same communities. IMHO, we won’t be able to truly get rid of this type of violence until we engage all forms of dehumanization present in language. Where we are able to ignore one, we invite the creation of others modeled upon its use. Of course, this is the utopian end goal and won’t come about without a complete renovation of culture and ideas of humanity in western society.

    In practical application, what I’ve noticed about life in my short time here is that people tend to dehumanize those with which they have no personal experience (as a sort of corollary for fearing the unknown). The biggest help towards encouraging harmony between the sexes involves creating spaces to increase positive interaction amongst young people, but this is not enough by itself. If young people were better able to resolve their raging hormones and sexuality with their fears and insecurities I think there’d be less psychic violence inflicted upon young people as a whole, but this involves older more experienced people that not only are unafraid to view adolescents as sexual beings but are very comfortable with their own sexuality in relation to the sex/gender/orientation to which they are attracted. This doesn’t necessarily mean doing anything sexual (I hope none of you thought I was going there) but well adjusted people that are unafraid to talk with all genders, sexes, and orientations together and apart in a safe and informative manner. Unfortunately, every facet of mainstream American society hurts for people that are well adjusted with regards to their sexuality.

    That being said, the centers that could do this already exist: churches, parties, volunteer and social organizations, sports clubs, schools, even Barber shops are appropriate for some conversations (as you’ve demonstrated in this very post), etc. It’s that the adults refuse to engage their kids in this manner and leave them worse for wear in the process.

    • Val

      “…we won’t be able to truly get rid of this type of violence until we engage all forms of dehumanization present in language;”

      Many people seem to only recognize hatred and bigotry that is directed toward them. Which means everyone is constantly fighting individual battles from many fronts rather than unifying and fighting one war against a common enemy.

      • NomadaNare

        True, but I believe this dynamic exists because the “enemy” per se is present in all of us. More often than not to fight bigotry as a whole would involve fighting ourselves and our own families. This is why I say we need a complete renovation of society. Who do we quarantine when we’re all infected?

        • The Champ

          “Who do we quarantine when we’re all infected?”

          damn

        • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

          ~ More often than not to fight bigotry as a whole would involve fighting ourselves and our own families.

          most folks will avoid this fight until their dying day. there’s so much to lose, and so terrifying to walk away.

          • NomadaNare

            Yep. But before they die they teach others to ignore their own shortcomings as well. It’s funny that everyone can see the results of injustice, but it’s always someone else perpetuating it. It’s never me or mine that are directly oppressing people even if it’s people that look, sound, eat, screw, and live just like I do. A while ago, Junot Diaz said something I believe was very poignant at the time. It was something to the effect of we can talk until we’re blue in the face about kyriarchy and intersectionality, but the types of things we do are so ingrained in us that the true work needs to take place in the realm of opinions and preferences. Even the most enlightened people have some colonial tendencies just in whom they choose to find attractive, and as long as we continue in this manner, we will never progress.

            • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

              ~ It’s funny that everyone can see the results of injustice, but it’s always someone else perpetuating it.

              it’s scary to acknowledge this. because then true responsibility must be taken in order for change to come.

              ~ Even the most enlightened people have some colonial tendencies just in whom they choose to find attractive, and as long as we continue in this manner, we will never progress.

              yes i see it all the time. when you work to subvert the status quo, people cant help but come out their mouth with ignorance.

          • NomadaNare

            Found the quote: Diaz is epic and his reverence for Morrison is endearing.

            “if you’re that cute motherfucker in the group, you’re never attacking the privilege of cuteness.”

            “we all have a blind spot around our privileges shaped exactly like us.”

            “we are never gonna get anywhere as long as our economies of attraction continue to resemble more or less the economies of attraction of white supremacy.”

            “finding people who practice decolonial love is as hard inside of a mass movement as it is outside.”

            “y’all clap, but when it comes time to dance, you be pushing on the cute motherfuckers.”

            • LMNOP

              Man, I could listen to Junot Diaz for days.

              • Val

                He’s on my current list of people to admire. He’s not afraid to call out bigotry wherever it lives.

    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

      If young people were better able to resolve their raging hormones and
      sexuality with their fears and insecurities I think there’d be less
      psychic violence inflicted upon young people as a whole, but this
      involves older more experienced people that not only are unafraid to
      view adolescents as sexual beings but are very comfortable with their
      own sexuality in relation to the sex/gender/orientation to which they
      are attracted. This doesn’t necessarily mean doing anything sexual (I
      hope none of you thought I was going there) but well adjusted people
      that are unafraid to talk with all genders, sexes, and orientations
      together and apart in a safe and informative manner. Unfortunately,
      every facet of mainstream American society hurts for people that are
      well adjusted with regards to their sexuality.

      Very excellent point. The problem is that not only are the adults NOT willing to have these conversations, they are reasons 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 they have issues in the first place. Adults do all sorts of dirty stuff to and around their kids, then are shocked, shocked I say, when they have their same warped mindsets.

      • Heavens2Murgatroid

        We have become a moral-less, unaccountable society. Each generation feeding off the insecurities of the previous

        • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

          with all due respect, at what point in our history was the United States a moral, accountable society ? maybe it was, long before the Europeans landed, but that history has been erased to the greatest possible extent ..

          • Troy Eichelberger II

            someone who actually learned American history (all history really). Heavens2 your insecurity and doubt (and age) about the world around you is showing. And no the up and coming generations are dismissing these old fallacies placed on us by our elders and have come to a quicker realization that life is what you make it

          • LMNOP

            As a country, I really believe we have come a long way. We still have a long way to go, but a few times a year I like to watch MLK’s mountaintop speech and when he says “I may not get there with you.. but we, as a people, will get to the promised land.” I believe it.

            • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

              “There can never be justice on stolen land” ~KRS-One

              this country won’t get there, but as individuals we may. so long as they dont kill us first.

  • Negro Libre

    First off, let me say that this was well written, and people aught to check out the article on the original site, where the complete article is posted.

    Reading your article I realized that “philosophically speaking” I disagree with most of the points you came up with and the rationales for most of your arguments on the THOT slang. So I realized that if I was going to productively challenge what you were saying, I’d have to come at this article from a philosophical angle, and that would take a long time, because it would involve looking at and criticizing premises that I deem to be false: for instance that language determines action, in this case physical violence, which is an overriding premise assumed throughout the article.

    That being said, I do have a question, and it’s directed at the author and others who might share your viewpoint or who might agree or disagree: where do you think this rather persistent desire – among often middle class and intellectually swayed adults like many of us on VSB (call it the DuBoisian tenth percentile conscience) – to consistently analyze, deconstruct and criticize the ideas, concepts and lifestyles of poor folks who could care less what we think about them, since for the most part, they are satisfied being anti-intellectual?

    • TheOtherJerome

      They are us. There is no difference. I think you’ll find that the so called “anti intellectual poor folks” spend some time posing as intellectuals depending on the situation. And so called intellectuals spend some time posing as ratchets. Humans are pretty complex and can’t be easily boxed into a definition.

      Hence we’re actually deconstructing and criticizing parts of ourselves.

      • The Champ

        “They are us. There is no difference. I think you’ll find that the so called “anti intellectual poor folks” spend some time posing as intellectuals depending on the situation. And so called intellectuals spend some time posing as ratchets. Humans are pretty complex and can’t be easily boxed into a definition.

        Hence we’re actually deconstructing and criticizing parts of ourselves.”

        (Early nominee for comment of the week)

        • TheOtherJerome

          Thanks! Checks and Money Orders my friend. I accept both :-)

      • Negro Libre

        I don’t believe using the terms intellectual or anti-intellectual are attempts at definition, just as calling you a male, is not an attempt to define you, it is nothing more than a generalization, based on certain categorical traits. The interesting question to ask is what is the definition of the terms anti-intellectual and intellectual? And are we both on the same page in terms of our definitions?

        That being said, I do find it an interesting choice of word when you say “posing”, it implies it’s more of an act than a state of being or one’s identity. Isn’t there a difference between criticizing a person who lives a life, vs. one who simply acts it out?

        • TheOtherJerome

          –”The interesting question to ask is what is the definition of the terms anti-intellectual and intellectual? And are we both on the same page in terms of our definitions?”–

          Well i think you defined what you believe to be an intelectual by saying:

          –”deconstruct and criticize the ideas, concepts and lifestyles of poor folks who could care less what we think about them, since for the most part, they are satisfied being anti-intellectual?”–

          We, of course, being the opposite of that…. those whom you believe don’t construct, criticize and analyze their existence. So i’m using your definition.

          –”I do find it an interesting choice of word when you say “posing”, it implies it’s more of an act than a state of being or one’s identity”–

          We are what we say (and act like) we are. I’m not using the term “Posing” to suggest “pretending to be”. I’m using the term to imply that “all the worlds a stage”. We all play different roles depending on perspective.

          To his students, Henry Luis Gates is an intellectual professor. To a certain police officer he is nothing more than a “Black” with a good job….. and you know you have to use a firm hand when dealing with them, they tend to get uppity :-/

          And of course our roles change also because of situation. The thug can also be a loving father. The serial philander can be pro woman’s rights on “equal pay” and “right to choose”.

          This also comes back to the idea that people who are Ratchet, never consider themselves to be so…. and of course never call themselves that.*

          *As and aside the ONLY people whom i’ve ever heard refer to themselves as “ratchet” were bougie light skinned Black chicks. And it was usually only after making an proclamation that the soon following behavior was indeed Ratchet and they were about to happily engage in it: “Ohh i’m imma be Ratchet and turn this Nae-Nae song all the way up.”

          Girl, have a seat __

          • Negro Libre

            Lol aight, I see what it is…I should have defined my terms better.

            For the record, I would never have defined intellectual or anti-intellectual that way, it’s like saying that men standing up peeing, is a good definition of men lol. It’s something that men do, but it’s not the only thing, or the main thing men do that makes them men.

            To be fair, this is not a new observation of the black condition, it’s as old DuBois vs. Washington/Garvey; Black Nationalism vs. Non-Violence Integration, Southern America vs. Northern America; Progressive vs. Conservative, Federalist vs. Anti-federalist, Religion vs. Science, Liberty vs. Equality; Self-reliance vs. Empathy etc, it’s a reoccurring part of American culture, I just used the terms intellectual and anti-intellectual, but it’s there, and I don’t think black people are exempt from it.

    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

      To answer your last question, it’s pure, unadulterated arrogance. It’s a desire for complete and total control of others to avoid the need for self-control. It’s projecting one’s own issues and insecurities out using the opportunities present through power. I wonder what VSS displays this the most…

      • http://trulytafakari.com/ dtafakari

        “I wonder what VSS displays this the most…”

        You ARE in a mood today, no? lol (referencing your “I’m in a real. um, “female dogs are worthless” mood” comment, not projecting)

        • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

          Yeah, I’m on fire today like NBA Jam circa 1993. LOL

          • http://wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

            Fix that problem on your time. Don’t spread it here.

        • afronica

          Someone had a bad weekend, I think.

        • afronica

          Someone had a bad weekend, I think.

          • http://trulytafakari.com/ dtafakari

            he said as much. :)

      • http://brown-c6h12o6.tumblr.com/ AfroPetite

        I’m lost

      • Negro Libre

        Hehe, someone woke up on the other side lol.

        I wouldn’t call it mere arrogance; to be fair, I’m more a fan of the anti-intellectuals than the intellectuals among black folks, because I find the anti-intellectual black folks to be far more honest. For example, take the N-Word.

        Intellectual:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHaoZQx-VnE

        Anti Intellectual:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnefkkYlYBQ

        Dyson’s arguments are all sophists’ arguments that involve a whole bunch of redefinitions, semantics, confusion, appeals to political ideologies etc; yet the rhetoric is so strong and the passion so demonstrative, you almost feel like “Damn, that was real, he must be on to something.” The truth is that he’s said nothing, but appealed to the emotions of the crowd, but did so in an intellectual manner (like modern day rappers: the beat was better than the content.) Whereas Charles, makes the only defense that is valid for N-Word discrimination “You might get f*cked up if you say it to the wrong people…I know I won’t though…that’s your problem, leave black folks alone.” The truth is that there is no intellectual argument for the reason why one group can say the N-word and another can’t, because the desire not to hear white folks say the N-word is based solely on feelings due to history and experience…which aren’t bad at all, and in fact are quite normal, and a right that people exercise everyday: the right to discriminate.

        But why do so many black intellectuals feel they have to intervene into the lives and ideas of folks that imo do a better job defending them than they do, is what eludes me.

        • NomadaNare

          They’re making two different points. IMHO, one isn’t necessarily “better” than the other. It seems that you have “anti-intellectual” penchant, though.

          • Negro Libre

            Not necessarily.

            I do admire intellectuals, like I do admire athletes…it’s just that intellectuals tend to cheat a lot more than athletes do, and yet, we tend to dismiss their cheating and be overly critical of athletes who cheat. Anti-intellectuals tend to be a lot more intellectually honest.

      • TheOtherJerome

        “It’s a desire for complete and total control of others to avoid the need for self-control.”

        I feel like Ozzie Davis in “Get On The Bus”: Noooooooo!

        Thats not thats not the case at all. If we have a community, a culture that we share… and Black Americans people do share community and culture….. then it is part of our duties to at least point out where a deviant form of that culture has gone off the rails.

        You can’t divorce yourself totally from that culture. The culture itself wont let you. And “Massa’s culture” wont let you either brotha. Like it or not.

    • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

      ~ premises that I deem to be false: for instance that language determines action

      while i agree that language does not directly determine action, i believe it has language (and syntax) has an incredible ability to influence thought. thought, for most people, is done in words, and once thought is manifest, it becomes the means by which one charts their course of action and inaction in equal part. thus language contributes to the way in which we frame out perspectives, the way we see ourselves and the world, the way we assess our opportunities to affect a result, and can unconsciously map out a path towards those results ..

      • afronica

        I’ll probably get slapped with the thought police label for this, but…

        When I first heard thot, I was offended but not surprised. The last time I was really surprised about argot used to describe women was the rise of the term b!sh for any female human that started ten or fifteen years ago. The wormhole from b!sh to thot seems obvious to me. Even if thot at this moment is defended as only applicable to women who are overly chexual/want chex too much/dress like ho’s (whatever those things actually mean), I assume it will soon be synonymous with girl, chick or woman.

        Call me what you like. I’ll even defend your right to say what you like. But I’ll also form an opinion of you (and how much I want to have anything to do with you) based on what you call me, for whatever that’s worth.

      • afronica

        I’ll probably get slapped with the thought police label for this, but…

        When I first heard thot, I was offended but not surprised. The last time I was really surprised about argot used to describe women was the rise of the term b!sh for any female human that started ten or fifteen years ago. The wormhole from b!sh to thot seems obvious to me. Even if thot at this moment is defended as only applicable to women who are overly chexual/want chex too much/dress like ho’s (whatever those things actually mean), I assume it will soon be synonymous with girl, chick or woman.

        Call me what you like. I’ll even defend your right to say what you like. But I’ll also form an opinion of you (and how much I want to have anything to do with you) based on what you call me, for whatever that’s worth.

        • http://missrosen.wordpress.com/ esa

          ima say, i cant remember the last time slang offended me. but i do remember each and every time i hear about crimes against women based the male assumption that they can and should be violated because of the cultural assumptions about their value, often established by someone else’s unpardonable and irrational s*xual codes.

          me, i believe words have great value and influence, and thus i write. but words are illusory, and at best they are proxies for a deeper, more insidious problem that has infected so many souls, hearts, and minds ..

          • HUgrad13

            I am a lurker, but I have to say, you are always so profound. It makes me feel inadequate.

    • 321mena123

      “they are satisfied being anti-intellectual” Says who? This too is an arrogant assumption to make.

    • The Champ

      “Reading your article I realized that “philosophically speaking” I disagree with most of the points you came up with and the rationales for most of your arguments on the THOT slang.”

      what points do you disagree with, and why?

      • Negro Libre

        It’s not points, it’s method.

    • A504Preppy

      Professors and other academics: I love em (because my natural POV tends to be as an outside observer of thinfs) and I hate them, because their ‘life of the mind’ tends to overly take them away from the real life, day-to-day POV they’re often responsible for studying. Just taking the excerpt above I get the distinct impression that women and girls are the unwilling victims of the idea of THOT. Also one might think that such terms had no previous incarnations as other words used by previous generations. Young women can at times be more aggressive than the boys around them in persuing their sexual activity and I know the boys I came up with had terms we used for girls we thought were interested in sex. None of the ones that Ive kept up with have been involved in any sexual violence (that they got caught for, at least, an important caveat).

    • tamrachelle

      Since when is poor synonymous with anti-intellectual? Why would a poor person be “against” intellectuals? Intellectual people are just as capable of being hateful, bullying and stereotyping, they just use different vernacular. The poor are no more loving and understanding of women than the rich are. That is also the case with so called intellectuals and vice versa. Rich educated men are raping and objectifying women everyday.

      • Negro Libre

        I’ll take responsibility for not defining my terms. That explains the first and second question you ask: they are out of sync with what I was trying to get at. As for everything afterwards, once again this is a method problem.

  • kidvideo

    I hate Mondays…but love Lasagna.
    TLOT, indeed….

    • Dat504Prep

      TLOT? Whet?

      • kidvideo

        That lasagna ova there…

        • Amethyst

          LMAO!!!

        • afronica

          More tlot and less thot, and errybody would be happier. Red sauce, good moz and sausage for all.

  • Mateo

    That awkward moment when you realize VSB is indeed a bougie black people blog.

    • kidvideo

      Then go back to hanging round the worldstar/bossip blogs?
      Bye Falecia,,,

      • IcePrincess

        Objection! What’s wrong wit liking um all? Variety is the spice of life & sh*t

        • LMNOP

          Exactly.

          Like I love cheese cake, and I love broccoli, but it wouldn’t be healthy to eat ONLY one kind of food. To be happy and healthy, you need to take in a wide range of foods, and the same is true when you’re thinking about what to feed your mind and your soul.

          • John Shannon

            Semantics, the Typical go-to way to Deflect and Spin the Lesson or Context being Taught/Said

            • LMNOP

              I have no idea what you’re trying to say, but I am so intrigued by your fondness for Capitalizing Words that are Not Proper Nouns. It reminds me of bell hooks, but backwards.

              • http://trulytafakari.com/ dtafakari

                Title case makes it hard for me to read; my pea brain can’t focus lol.

              • John Shannon

                I have my own style of typing, as Everyone has their “Subjective” manner of Actions/Words. This is part of what I was referring @dtafakari:disqus to upthread

              • Boo Radley

                I literally cackled.

          • IcePrincess

            Food for thought lol

    • John Shannon

      Then I take it you are the kind of Black People John Ridley spoke about in his manifesto…………….

      http://uptownmagazine.com/2014/03/anti-intellectualism-debate-ascended-blacks-niggers/

    • The Champ

      that awkward moment when you don’t know if a comment is a compliment, insult, observation, or all three

      • panamajackson

        Man, I had the same confusion.

    • Val

      I like the name “Mateo”.

  • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

    Believe it or not, young men have the right to have standards. They also should be as respectful as possible with said standards, but it’s their right. I don’t like the idea because some men abuse their standards to harm others that any man should just accept what a woman does, case closed. Freedom means that the right to *want* a big booty h0e and the right to *want* a traditional virginal church going woman should be equal and the same. That doesn’t require women to follow suit, of course, but they have the right to express their desires in an appropriate and honest manner. Whenever I read stuff like this, the subtext seems to be “ninja, you HAVE to marry whoever wants to marry you, and let them treat you however THEY want! After all, someone with the same chromosomes as you do beat and r@ped her, so you have to pay the price! Now let THOT beat your @$$ like you know you deserve for being a man!!!111″

    Also, there seems to be a real ignorance of the adults’ example in all of these mindsets. People think kids don’t soak up the “adult” stuff going on around them, but they do. They might not be able to go into explicit detail about comings and goings, but they know the scoop. They know who dad’s “good friend” is. They know that mama is spending 4 nights a week “going out” or that she’s touchy feely with that “uncle”. They seem the ladies giggling at church hoping the Pastor would invite them over for “counseling”. They even see the emotional and physical abuse that goes on. All of that builds a certain mindset in men, which of course the adults are shocked at the kids acting this way. (African-American) PLEASE! You think your kids wouldn’t notice what you do, you idiot?!

    The adults need to check themselves before going after the kids. All the young men are doing are following after the example set by the adults.

    • The Champ

      “Whenever I read stuff like this, the subtext seems to be “ninja, you HAVE to marry whoever wants to marry you, and let them treat you however THEY want! After all, someone with the same chromosomes as you do beat and r@ped her, so you have to pay the price! Now let THOT beat your @$$ like you know you deserve for being a man!!!111″

      I don’t see how you got that from this piece.

      • LMNOP

        That’s a good sign.

      • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

        Let me spell it out. My issue is two-fold. One, the calling out of working-class young Black men is dramatically out of context. I’m not saying they are saints, by any measure, but imply that they are somehow driving the culture that dehumanizes Black women and Black girls is a bit daft, to the say the least. From the media to the environment they live and speak in, few of them have much in the way of social power, so asking them to change things is not only a jerk move, but isn’t likely to actually help Black women and girls anyway.

        The other is that whenever it comes to judge young men for their wrongs in the dating marketplace, it’s always this tone of “How Dare You Young Man Have Standards? ™” Like they should be happen any woman would consent to sexual relations to the likes of them, and if they pass up on anyone, they are horrible human beings. It’s just offensive, and it denies young men the right to define their own standards as they see fit.

        • afronica

          “…the calling out of working-class young Black men is dramatically out of context. I’m not saying they are saints, by any measure, but imply that they are somehow driving the culture that dehumanizes Black women and Black girls is a bit daft…”

          I didn’t really think about the class implications of the piece when I read it. You may have a point.

          “…few of them have much in the way of social power…”

          I’m not sure about that. In part it goes back to last week’s discussions about Lupita vs. Nicki Minaj. Yes, the behavior of black rappers and sports figures shape the environment we all live in to the extent that people see them as role models and live out their music or imitate their behavior. But I keep reflecting on my own life. My grandfather was sort of never ending with the lectures not to do x, to not embarrass the family, that I had to do y. My grandmother wielded more soft power. I loved her, liked her and wanted her approval, so I followed her example.

          Even now, I hear them both as I go about my life. What ever media or pop culture I was listening to or watching while I was growing up is in me, too. But what has proven to be the much stronger influence is what had nothing to do with celebrities. I know most of my friends are the same way. I don’t think we are the only ones. And this is why I think what blue collar young men (and women) say and do really matters. I think they do have social power.

          If you’re talking about government policy as social power instead of celebrities as moral arbiters, then I can perhaps see your point.

          • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

            I think you got what I was saying, though you went the long way to get there. I’m not saying young men are completely irrelevant. It’s more than ceteris parabis, what the elders have to say matters more in grand scheme of things. I am starting to notice as a parent how much what I do and say can lead to my daughter acting a certain way for my approval, and I know that it goes the other way to our parents, our elders.

            What I would say is that kids pick up on the stuff that would get our approval, whether we want to or not. You can’t side-eye a young man for calling a woman a h0e while giving him daps at the barbershop or the corner for him treating women as little more than $ex objects. I remember when Michael Baisden was on the air, he did a show about young men and $ex, and how they would get respect from the elders in their area for straight womanizing. You can’t get on dudes for the term THOT without getting at the roots of the term in the first place.

    • LMNOP

      Todd, I feel like you need a muffin and the fancy coffee drink of your choice, maybe a latte?

      *hands you a delicious e-breakfast*

      • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

        I prefer bagels, and no syrup in the latte. The last time I did a syrupy latte had me with bubble guts for an entire business meeting and rushing into the bathroom once it was done. So not good.

    • tamrachelle

      Bull. A boy will call a girl a hoe, a b*tch, a sl*t the minute she annoys him. If she rejects him, or makes him feel stupid, or hurts his feelings. It’s a form of bullying, very rarely is the girl a bonified whore. It’s just a jab.

  • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

    Nicely written but I sense a passing of the buck here…

    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

      Apparently, Pittsburgh is the new home of Lake Woebegone, where every parent is above average. Not real surprising, but sad to read.

      • Kozy

        +1 for the Garrison Keillor/NPR referrence

      • http://theblackbondblog.wordpress.com/ BlkBond

        You got hot grease today…

        Bond.

    • Tentpole

      Not Really. It is making an observation that we all see when we see it but, we see it so much now we no longer notice it.

  • Tentpole

    This is another dicussion under the Generation Gap banner. One generation didn’t like the rules of their parents, grew up and decided they were not going to do the same. So they let their children do most of the things they were not allowed to do. However, they forgot one thing, the long term consequences. In essence, many parents created their own THOT. The monst interesting thing is that they will call a stranger a THOT and over look that their own child is the same.

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      That’s fair, you warn your kids about fast lil girls and knucklehead boys like theyre not their peers

  • John Shannon

    I don’t like this article……….. The Swinging Pendulum of how much Black Women & black Men are being bashed around the past few years seems to flow in whatever direction a crisis in Our (Black Community) sparks up outrage and the Same Damn Conversations pop up, and in the process Dismisses the worries and plights of the other to the proverbial back rooms.
    1st, I do not use THOT— it’s another Stupid word that goes along the other Ridiculous words that have been made (YOLO, Ratchet-Ghetto defined, Being a “Bird”, Goon etc); 2nd, Character reinforces Titles/Labels so IF a Person ACTS like Whatever (B!tch, N!gga, “THOT”, Deadbeat, “Goon”, etc) they EARNED being Called such. We either Give Passes of such behavior(s) because of what Someone Else may have Done or Said to “provoke”, or we are “Victim Blaming”. Sorry, but it’s not an Also/And circumstances—– We need to Take SOME Accountability for our decisions-choices that warrant others to Deem us Deviant or Wrong in SOME Capacity and Stop Deflecting…………
    Stop going towards Sexism, and Patriarchy and “Privilege” when Men AND Women are being just Plain Wrong; lately we are the ONLY Race/Ethnicity that’s having these terms being thrown around when Non-Blacks are Mistreating us wand We Ourselves are rolling around in Colorism. Enough of this Self-Hate and Woe-is-Me Garbage. The Truth Does and WILL Hurt if it’s Correct and w/Facts and what folks Need to Hear. BTW, Men are supposedly Mansluts so they in essence can be THOTs as well…

  • http://trulytafakari.com/ dtafakari

    I don’t think I understood the article.

    That said, it always amuses me when people use “THOT: that ho over there,” as if there is some spatial or even moral distance between them and said ho. People love to throw stones not realizing they’re living in the same glass house.

    • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com/ Tristan

      I don’t even think they’re that clever…thot is just a dumb word

    • 321mena123

      Me neither.

    • LMNOP

      I don’t know if I understood it either, but I got SO excited by all the big words and academic language. Now I’m thinking I should really go back to school, so basically this article changed my life.*

      *unless I forgot about that as soon as… squirrel! Wait. what was I saying?

      • Keisha

        LOL

    • The Champ

      The article was basically him thinking about the community conditions/climate that would lead to the creation of a word like that, and it segued into him asking what we are collectively doing to protect black women and girls

      • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

        The issue I had with that is that it leapt from one side all the way to the other without stopping in the middle. Plus, it put the onus on young men, which tend to have the least social power in most communities, regardless of ethnic group.

        • TheOtherJerome

          Have to agree. We all kind of “get” what he’s implying but thats only because of shared culture. I realize i only have a GED and stuff, but i had read it twice. I think it’s because there’s a general pattern to most articles and this one deviates from that at a certain point.

      • tamrachelle

        In the surburbs, rich white guys call girls sluts, whores, cunts, skanks, cumbuckets and other hateful names. It doesn’t take a poor community of black people to get young boys to call girls hateful names. It happens in every community.

    • Court

      I believe the significance is that “hos” are so abundant (holding a gaze that practically every woman is a hoe), that that they have added the spatial aspect to say that one to distinguish which one among the crowd. Though, yes, it metamorphosed back into a general term.

      • http://trulytafakari.com/ dtafakari

        Wow, you killed that explanation. Said that way, it makes more sense. thanks lol :)

      • John Shannon

        In simple terms, not every is the same as the company they keep as the Old Saying went………… Or “your Friends are a Reflection of Your Character”

    • Leela

      Def think this article is overintellectualized.