I don’t like it: the N-word. I know I mentioned this topic about four years ago, but it’s still true. No, it isn’t that I want it banned from historical literature, but it still makes me quite uncomfortable.
I hear some white folks complain, “I hear black people say it. Why can’t I?” It’s as though they feel they are being discriminated against or somehow deprived.
There’s a great cartoon that takes that argument apart. I was also taken by this article about hipster racism: “ideas, speech, and action meant to denigrate another’s person race or ethnicity under the guise of being urbane, witty (meaning ‘ironic’ nowadays), educated, liberal, and/or trendy;” I call BS on that “post-racial” so-called humor.
At the same time, the word is STILL being used as the bigoted term it is, such as this shining example, or this one. (I won’t even mention Rush Limbaugh.)
For the record, I don’t use slurs of various white groups, even though I’ve heard people of certain ethnicities self-describe with slurs.
Now, I also don’t like the N-word coming from black people, either. Jaquandor linked to this article by sports columnist Jason Whitlock from a couple of months ago, and it really spoke to me:
“The people at the top of the rap music food chain … know the dishonesty and the illogic that fuels the popular sentiment within commercial rap music industry that states the embrace of the N-word is harmless because young people have redefined it and erased its dehumanizing power…
“You don’t change something built to destroy you into something that uplifts you. It’s the equivalent of thinking the slop/food fed to slaves can be transformed into raw fruits and vegetables…
“As long as we keep cooking and serving up the N-word to each other, we’re going to remain mentally comfortable hunting and executing each other like animals and throwing on baseball caps supporting the killers.
“Regardless of the user, the N-word is still doing the exact job it was intended to do in the 1700s. Hell, it’s doing a better job.” That also addresses WHY don’t I like the N-word.
Even more poignantly, a recent inductee into the pro football Hall of Fame Cris Carter commented about a current white football player who had used the term: “He does not know how many people in my race [for which] that was the last word they heard before they died.”
No, I don’t like the N-word, and NONE of the rationales for its current use are at all persuasive.