Sunday, July 10, 2011

Why I Stopped Calling Black Women "Queens"

I was one of the few brothers that I knew of in my generation who started calling sisters "queen" way back in the early 90's. Almost every time I talked to a Black female I referred to her as a queen. Even when there were no sisters around while talking among my boys, I referred to a sister or sisters in general as queens. This was at a time when even my male friends were constantly calling sisters "bitch" and "ho".

While my verbal habit didn't quite catch on with my immediate crew it caught on with a lot of brothers. Suddenly I started hearing Black males call sisters "queen" on the radio and throughout the hood usually from specific people. The term "queen" soon bacame a mainstay in the so-called "conscious community". I've always had an affection towards Black women, so hearing sisters being called "bitch" and "ho" and other derogratory names angered me. I wanted to break that cycle of negativity so I started using the term "queen" as a psychological uplift to counteract the disrespectful names sisters were called. I meant it for more than just respect but reverence. It was my contribution as a way to interact with each other in a much more respectful and loving way along the gender lines.

However something strange happened. Over the years the term became used more and more in many Black social circles. So much so that eventually the term "queen" was starting to be abused by brothers (and sisters) who used it to pacify, placate and patronize sisters. Many brothers used the term "queen" as mack to fuck sisters. The sincerity of the word began to fade.

Whenever I called sisters "queen" many would smile, or say thank you or respond by calling me "king". But there were other sisters who didn't respond at all or had negative responses. "Don't call me that." or "My name is .... not queen!". So there are numerous reasons as to why many sisters refused the word queen. Was it a reaction to insincere males? Did these sisters not recognize "queen" as a term of endearment? Did they have low self esteem and didn't think they deserved to be called queen?

Because of bullshitting brothers and sisters resistence to the term lost it's meaning. The term "queen" became devoid of it's original term of endearment use and thus it became a word to patronize and manipulate sisters. "Queen" became empty and meaningless to a point where I have discussed this with sisters and they agreed with me. They saw the same thing and didn't want to be called "queen" any more. The more disturbing thing about the mis-use of the term queen is that in it's origin that term was meant to at least in some form counteract the mysogyny latent in the Black community. The irony being that brothers would use the word "queen" to feign an anti-sexist stance while hiding a totally sexist and misogynist mindstate.

Plus, let's just be brutally honest. "Queen" historically did not always equal righteous, positive, powerful or any positive characteristic one could give it. I'm almost sure historically speaking that some queens needed to be dethroned right along with their kings! Also, with the positive connotations that were assumed with the term, to be brutally honest again a lot of sisters did not deserve to be called "queen". I used to call sisters queen even when they were acting out in the midst of their negativity. Now reality has sunk in. Some sisters are not regal, they are not royalty, righteous or powerful. So calling those sisters queen was an exercise in futility.

So I stopped using that term. Damn shame too how people could fuck up a term of endearment like "queen" until it is nothing more than an empty cliche. I will never call a sister a "bitch" or a "ho" or any derogratory term singled out for the female gender. I call sisters, sisters...that's it and that's enough. Well, that and their names. I'll call a sister a queen on an individual by individual basis. Basically I'll call her a "queen" when I see one.