arteejee

A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Today is Sponsored by the Letter “N”

As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for 2007, we should note recent movements in the African-American community to strike the use of the “N” word from everyday use. An article in the January 10 issue of The Philadelphia Inquirer stated that several prominent African-American periodicals are changing their policy concerning the “N” word. The magazines Jet and Ebony will no longer print the “N” word, except in unavoidable instances subject to editorial approval. This is a good start.

I make a point of trying not to use this word in my everyday life. This is partly due to self-preservation. I heard a story years ago about someone who used the word and then got their head blown off by the offended party. From that time forth, I vowed that I would not include the “N” word in my vocabulary.

There is also a double standard at work here. If I, as a white male, use this word in public then I will most likely suffer public embarrassment, indignation, and possibly loss of livelihood, face legal action, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I was drawn, quartered, and crucified on top of everything else. The word is not worth all that trouble.

The double standard rears its ugly head when a black person uses the word and the reaction is a shrug and an “Oh well.” I get crucified, and they get a free pass! (?!!?) This is hypocrisy! This is the same double standard that led to the creation of “whites only” and “blacks only” water fountains in the South. This is not justice; this is not equality! Either punish everyone who uses the word, or give everyone - white, black, red, or green - a free pass.

I understand that there is a freedom of speech issue here also. The “N” word is very powerful because it encourages an enormous surge of emotions in people. I can see where many people might use it to make a point about certain issues in America today. One of my oldest friends is a college speech professor who will not censor any language his students want to use. The student learns to exercise their First Amendment rights, and they also learn how their respective audiences will react to their ideas when stated in uncensored and unexpurgated language. In this respect, I cannot argue with his logic.

Today, we should watch what we say, do good deeds in the spirit of Dr. King, and remember the work performed by such groups as the Southern Poverty Law Center. This group gathers intelligence on the many hate groups in our country, provides legal aid to victims of prejudice, and most importantly, manufactures educational materials which encourage the teaching of tolerance in our nation’s schools. Perhaps with such activities and a renewed commitment from everyone we will make equality and justice a reality in our society.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Nomad said...

I agree that the use of the 'N' word, should be stricken from thevocabulary of anyone using it. Plain and simple it is a derogatory term. There are som in the African American community who use it and try to say they say it to make it less meaningful , give it less power. To me this is just psychological blindness (if i use it it wont hurt me). But as soon as someone non black uses it against you, does it hurt you or not? Probably does. In that case it still has power over you and your just fooling yourself. It's a shameless derogatory term. We as black people invent slang terms on a daily bais so much Webster would have to be updated every week if it kept track, in this case I think how creative we are we can come up with a different word to use when we call out fellow amigos instead of using the N word. i take this task to the Hip Hop community since they are the perveyors of modern slang. You are glorifying a derogatory word and making it acceptable sround the world. I know i am more than that, and you should know that you are too.

January 16, 2007 at 2:42 PM  

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