Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A White Chick’s View On the “N”-Word

The Reverend Sharpton is in the Ghetto this week, seems he is imploring the world of Rap and Hip-Hop to bury the N-word. Now I am not the biggest fan of the old Reverend because most of the time I think he’s just goes around looking to stir up trouble where it’s not needed, not all the time but most of the time. I give you Tawanda Brawly as a prime example, anyway my opinions of Mr. Sharpton is not the point really.

Part of me thinks I should just backspace this whole post because as a white chick do I really have a stake in this, some might say no, but I will disagree and write on. In all honesty I have to agree with the Rev. here. I have never understood the fascination of how frequently and well almost joyously some African Americans use the word “nigger” amongst themselves. And yes I know that it has become a “cultural” thing, a sort of inner race term that is used amongst members of this race and that it serves some purpose. What that purpose is I don’t get, maybe I am just looking at this from a purely Anglo Saxon point of view too much. But as much as I try to understand it, I still don’t get how a group of individuals can become so comfortable using a word that was in essence created by slave owners to degrade an entire (at the time) oppressed race of people.

Every time, I step into the halls at the school I teach, and hear the African American students use the “N” word as they greet each other and in turn respond positively, I can’t help but think that their ancestral line must be rolling over in their graves. In my opinion I don’t think such a word is a term of endearment, and it should not be made out to be one. You can’t redefine the word or put a positive slant on it by simply substituting a vowel.

I don’t think enough time has passed in this country for the entire concept of using this word openly in conversations; the power behind the word has not been erased simply by the passing of a century. In essence it boils down to this, the word is still and probably will remain for a long time at its basis –a racial slur, and it will continue to be even more so until it is not considered acceptable.

But honestly is that ever going to happen? Couldn’t tell ya, all I know is that as long as we have people like Damon Wayans. Who by the way has been trying to copyright the word "nigga" with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office for nearly two years. Not because he wants control over the word to “bury” it but rather to market some products he's trying to sell. Apparently he hasn’t been successful as of yet. Don’t get me wrong I love Damon and well the Wayan brothers are complete comic genius, but I don’t agree with his “business” venture. But hell what right do I have in stopping him, after all he has freedom of speech and the right to call himself what ever he wants, who’s this white chick to tell him what he can and can not say. Freedom of Speech you gotta love it.