Rap Music Perpetuates Stereotypes of Women

Article excerpt

Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A few years ago, I was looking over one of my favorite federal studies for data on American families. As I started pulling numbers for a chart, I slowly became aware of a gut-punching pattern.

Compared with women of other ethnic or racial backgrounds, black women were

Least likely to marry by age 30.

Least likely to marry a long-term cohabiting partner.

Most likely to have marriages end after 10 years.

Least likely to remarry within five years.

Most likely to see their second marriages end after 10 years.

How can this be, I wondered. Don't these women want a stable love life and family? And if black women do want such things (and I'm sure they do), how do we reconcile those desires with such stark federal statistics?

How did we get to this place, where literally millions of wonderful, worthy black women are waiting to exhale?

There are many answers, but let's focus on one - black men's perception of black women. Uh oh, some may say. Here comes the rap on rap, which we've been hearing at least since 1993, when the late, great C. Delores Tucker went after vulgar and misogynistic lyrics.

But let's look closer and see if some dots don't connect.

Earlier this year, the Parents Television Council (PTC) monitored three music-video shows aimed at young black audiences on BET and MTV. In a two-month period, PTC found that "Rap City," "106 & Park" and "Suckerfree on MTV" aired 1,306 sexual references and 970 expletives. This meant viewers were shown a sexual reference and a vulgarity about every two minutes. Maybe this doesn't sound like much. After all, it's just three shows.

But what if little girls are hearing or seeing themselves belittled 12 times a day, every day, on black-themed radio stations and music shows? In the 15 years since Mrs. Tucker and others started to rage against the hip-hop machine, this amounts to 65,700 putdowns. …