Thursday, February 3, 2011
No N-Bombs Please and Thank You-What needs to be said.
As I’ve gotten older and more informed I very seldom use the word “nigger” almost to the point I don’t use it at all. I’m only typing it now because it’s relevant to this blog. It’s a word that I used a lot growing up, but that was me being ignorant thanks to hearing it in music and even at times in my own home growing up. The more I learned and the more I matured I learned that using such a word to describe “my” people was unnecessary. In most black neighborhoods you can hear it. If you turn on Jay-Z, or any other rapper you will hear that word in maybe more than you care to. If you watch a comedian like Katt Williams or Chris Rock you can guarantee that you will hear that word multiple times during their routine. Oprah said we shouldn’t use it anymore, but I don’t use it anymore because of what she said, but because of a choice I made 7 or 8 years ago.
Don’t get me wrong people because I love Hip-Hop music and I love to hear a lot of black comedians but Lord knows I wish that the N-Bomb wasn’t used at all.. It’s not all their fault though because it all starts at home. For some people they grew up with that word as a term of endearment as I also did. It can describe someone that was close to you. It can describe someone that means the world to you. It can describe someone that was like a brother or a sister that isn’t your blood relative, but as far as you were concerned if you said, “That’s my nigga!” well people around you knew exactly what you meant by that even though there are so many other words that could be used in the English language to get that very same point across.
It’s gotten to the point where some African Americans use it so much that everyone else does too and that to me is unacceptable. I stopped saying it because of the how it was used against African Americans during slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. The word itself came from Spanish and Portuguese known as negro and it is also derived from the Latin adjective Niger both meaning the color black to describe African Americans because of our skin tone. The British once felt that the word was acceptable to describe black people, but they don’t anymore. It’s seen as a negative word in Dutch, French, Hungarian, Russian and Yiddish also.
It makes me wonder why some of us use the N-Word. Dr. Cornell West said ““There’s a certain rhythmic seduction to the word. If you speak in a sentence, and you have to say cat, companion, or friend, as opposed to nigger, then the rhythmic presentation is off. That rhythmic language is a form of historical memory for black people.” I was amazed to find out that after Richard Pryor visited Africa that he decided to stop using the word even though he would find himself allowing the word to slip in his routines sometime, but his visit to Africa changed his perception of the word. U.S. Magazines won’t print the word verbatim. They replace it censored or use the N-Word in the place of it. Social activist Dick Gregory felt that not using the word in print was intellectually dishonest, because using the euphemism “the N-word” instead of “nigger” robs younger generations of Americans of the full history of Black people in America.
I agree with Dr. West because I admit there is a certain rhythmic seduction to the word, but that doesn’t mean we should continue to use it. Also I agree that the word doesn’t have to be used in print either. I think with all the technology and resources we have today that anyone of us with a computer and purpose can research the full history of Black people in America if they care to find out.
I don’t think nothing positive came out of using the word. It has been used as a derogatory term more than a positive term. In today’s society a lot of people try to turn what is seen as a negative word into a positive word. For example most women didn’t like being called a “bitch”, but in today’s society some women have made it a point to empower that word, which is something I don’t agree with also because a lot of people have used that word for years as a negative way to describe women. Today thanks to popular culture the word “bitch” is heard more and more, but at the end of the day it’s still a negative word no matter how you dress it up and the same goes for the word “nigger.” I didn’t stop using the N- Word because I reached a certain point in my life financially or career wise or because I think I’m better than anyone, but I did stop using it because of how degrading it was to all African Americans no matter if it was before me or after me.
The English language is beautiful and eclectic at the same time which means there are so many other words that can be used to describe African Americans in an endearing fashion. It may not have the “rhythmic seduction” that dropping the N-Bomb does, but using words in place of that is something that I happily accept. It doesn’t matter if Jay-Z, Michael Richards from Seinfeld, or Mark Fuhrman from the O.J. trial uses it because it’s still a negative word. I’d rather be your brother, your homey, your boy, your man, your buddy, or how about just your friend. African Americans are beautiful people from all walks of life and I refuse to tarnish that beauty with such an ugly word anymore…..
“13 Ways” (The Movement)
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