BAS unable to define Diddy’s term ‘bitchassness’

By Becky Reiser

The black community is being infected from within. Or so says rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs in a… The black community is being infected from within. Or so says rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs in a YouTube video. On Monday night, the members of the Black Action Society gathered in their first general body meeting to try to define ‘bitchassness,’ which Combs describes in one of his videos as a sickness infecting the black community. Neither the panelists nor the audience members came up with a single definition for ‘bitchassness.’ ‘It is someone who is not being straightforward,’ said one panelist. Others said it was ‘trying to be someone you’re not’ or ‘someone that brings someone else down.’ The moderators, Black Action Society members Keith Green and Ashley Warren, presented slides highlighting potential examples of ‘bitchassness’ to audience members and eight society members, who comprised a panel debating the term. Audience members received signs reading ‘100% B*TCH@$$NE$$’ or ‘NO B*TCH@$$NE$$’ when they walked into the William Pitt Union’s packed Assembly Room. They held up their signs after each scenario so that they too could participate in the discussion. Each scenario stirred up a debate. One of the scenarios was a ‘jump-in,’ in which two people have a conflict and one person decides to retaliate with a group instead of just one-on-one. The panel and the audience disagreed as to whether this was considered ‘bitchassness.’ Some people said that others should stick up for their friends because of loyalty, while others said they believe a disagreement should be handled ‘mano a mano.’ Other topics discussed included ‘acting hood,’ when students come to Pitt and pretend to be from the inner city; handling rejection; and two-timing, when people date more then one person at a time. Another issue was snitching, which a slide described as a ‘code of conduct in the black community.’ Green and Warren showed a clip of a ’60 Minutes’ interview with rapper Cameron ‘Cam’ron’ Giles, who was shot at least twice while he was visiting Washington, D.C., in 2005 for Howard University’s homecoming. Giles said in the interview that he didn’t know who shot him but that even if he did, he was raised not to tell on other people and thus wouldn’t tell the police. Overall, audience members and panelists seemed to agree that not snitching is ‘bitchassness,’ but many said that snitching applies to all walks of life, not just gangsters. ‘Snitch on yourself and others,’ said one woman standing in the back of the packed room. ‘If you are going to snitch, make it 100 percent, not 50 or 75 percent.’ At the end of the event, the forum turned into a discussion about domestic violence. Green and Warren presented a slide titled ‘Love is a two-way street,’ and meeting attendees debated whether it was ‘bitchassness’ if a woman retaliates after a man hits her. All the panelists agreed that men hitting women was not acceptable. However, some male panelists warned women not to provoke men, especially if they have a history of violence. Some women cautioned men not to act physically if they were not ready to get hit back. Black Action Society members called the event a success. ‘We talked about some serious issues,’ said Glory Ojiere, the group’s programming committee chair, ‘but people were not judged by their opinions.’ The meeting was the second event in a week-long, annual Black Homecoming celebration, sponsored by the Black Action Society. On Tuesday, the society held a showing of ‘African Underground,’ a documentary that discusses democracy and the war. Tonight, the society will hold casino night and tomorrow a dating game. On Friday, the group will hold a comedy night, during which comedian Tony Rock will perform.