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My twitter line has been full of witty jokes and outrage in response to Jay-Z’s declaration he will no longer call women “female dogs” after the birth of his own little girl, Blue Ivy Carter. Everyone in twitterland is full of criticism over this: “If he had a boy, would he have done this?” “Having a mother and wife didn’t stop him–NOW he wants to stop?” etc. Even though I’m not inclined to defend people who make bad life decisions (and, more important only to my “writerly spirit”, bad word choices), it shows me a deeper issue with the American psyche that no one has said anything positive about his choice to be more conscious in what he calls the fairer sex: we can’t let people mature and grow up.

Despite when you think someone should have awakened and stopped doing something, despite when you think someone should have started doing something, the fact that they have come to the “correct” realization is a good thing. Not letting people move on is detrimental to our own growth.

I believe that people can change. I know people from my high school days who weren’t very nice to me and now we are friends. They aren’t the same people as they were in high school. I can’t keep seeing them as those people. It would only affect me if I continued to try and cast them as they used to be.

Many people do this when people have religious conversions, swear to give up drinking, vow to be celibate, start going to the gym. We remind them that they could have done that any day; they didn’t have to wait until a new year. We remind them that they said that before and then they went right back to doing what they were doing. We tell other people, “Watch; in a week she’ll be back doing *blah blah blah*.” We think of clever “deep” things to say on twitter about why they couldn’t see that they needed to change a long time ago.

Wisdom, maturity, and growth doesn’t happen in other people like we think it should. Change doesn’t happen overnight. Perhaps Jay-Z felt some stirrings of wanting to stop using the word when he got married; I don’t know. He probably doesn’t think of his wife in the derorogatory terms he used in his music, but if you want to sell records…I remember a rapper who took a stand and stopped using the “N” word when we were all doing that; do you remember him and what happened to his career? Some of you may have vowed to stop and have slipped back into the habit.

Maybe the birth of his daughter, like a bolt from the blue, hit him over the head with the fact someone could use that very word about his daughter. Maybe he will occasionally slip and use the word again.  Maybe he won’t ever be able to live up to his declaration. But I would rather take his “conversion” (for lack of a better term) at face value, understanding that changing the habit of years takes time.

I think that it speaks to what kind of people we are when we can’t let anyone else have an “a-ha!” moment and grow from the experience without backlash and “yeah rights” being thrown like rice at a wedding (or, as the song REALLY says, haters throw salt like rice at a wedding…*ahem*). There are plenty of things to be skeptical of or try to be deep about without sneering at another person’s attempt to grow to be more.

That’s my two cents, anyway. Leave yours in the comment section.

XOXO

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