Yes 'Becky' IS A Racial Slur (But That's REALLY None Of My Business)

Photo: weheartit
Becky with the good hair

Within moments after Beyonce's Lemonade aired, tensions over the complex masterpiece began to stir.

Tension is natural and can lead to powerful breakthroughs — if we are able to harness the power source and guide it to a productive place.

As of today, the conversation surrounding Lemonade has been hyper-focused on the controversy surrounding "Becky with the good hair." 

Personally, I am far less interested in who Becky may be than in how Beyonce's reference to her is being hotly debated.

Diving head first into the Becky battles, Iggy Azalea took to Twitter to blast Bey for using "Becky" as a racial slur.

Azalea is right. The definition of a racial slur is rather simple: "A derogatory or disrespectful nickname for a racial group, used without restraint."

There is no qualifier to that definition that the racial group be a minority. Hate speech and name calling of any kind is absolutely never OK, and in this case, the term Becky is what it is — "A woman, who is bland and generally white, who may or may not be scheming to further her social success and wealth, likely by using her beauty and sexual acts to do so, all while having a narrow world view."

In fact, Wendy Williams backed this viewpoint up on her show last week, saying, "Becky is, to me, a slur against white women and if I were you all I wouldn't take it. I wouldn't."

And — all of that said — I have no problem whatsoever with the context in which Beyonce used it.

Not that Queen B and I have been hanging out much lately (although I'm totally available, Bey — call me!), but from what I've watched and read, this is a woman whose heart was shattered as she was betrayed by the only man she has loved and made love to.

She and Jay-Z have been together since she was basically a child. That is some serious first love wrenching pain of the most painful degree imaginable.

Do I believe that Bey hates white women and that this video was a testament to her newly pledged allegiance to black women only? Hell NO. 

Do I believe that when people get PISSED AS FUCK they are likely to say the most ugly things they can pull out of their enraged hat? Hell YES.

I have been cheated on (in fact, by my first love, among others). The combination of anger, distress, disbelief and agony is unlike almost anything else.

In my own moments of anger I have said truly horrible things about the women in question. 

I am not proud of my foul mouth at those times, I don't blame the other women any more, and I am not saying anger is an excuse to use hate speech.

I am saying that it is entirely understandable.

And, as an artistic choice for a segment titled "Sorry," in which she proudly and furiously refuses to accept an apology come far too late, it is a fearlessly authentic portrayal of a woman in the height of her scorn.

In fact, I think if she hadn't chosen something as harsh, neither I nor any other woman who has been cheated on would have believed her as quite as we do.

To the woman who smacked back at Iggy by saying "Babe, I love you, but being called Becky hasn't systematically harmed you or hindered you within society," however ... 

This statement reminds of a time I was involved with a man who was brutally abused as a child.

I felt tremendous compassion for what he'd experienced — and allowed it to excuse all sorts of inexcusable behaviors towards me. 

Once when we were out to dinner, he threw a giant tantrum over what he perceived to be unforgivably poor service. 

When he later directed his rage at me — for not having supported him properly with the manager — I said, "I really feel you were being abusive to the waiters."

He did NOT like that, and proceeded to scream at me for the next several hours.

In his view, no one can call someone who was once abused "abusive." He said I can't possibly know what abuse feels like, and that in calling him abusive, I only abused him further. 

Newsflash: People who have been abused in the past can ABSOLUTELY act abusively towards others. 

The same holds true for any form of racial, religious, and gender-related hate speech and discrimination.

If you use someone's race as the basis for an insult, you are making a racial slur, and you are behaving in an abusive, racist fashion. 

Saying things that are racist, offensive or discriminatory is something we all do at times (if you say you never have, you are either lying or in total denial). Infrequent racist statements out of anger or ignorance do make someone "a racist."

And just because you aren't a racist, you don't get a free pass to forget to treat other people kindly.

It's just that, when you first find out some chick's been fucking your husband, a girl might forget her manners. 

Agree or disagree with me, that's the way life is.

And Beyonce nailed it. Hard.