For what seems like the millionth time, CNN is running the clip from “The View” where Elizabeth breaks down over not using the N-word. I haven’t seen her this upset since Rosie left.
Between the clips CNN has interviews with people we should consider important. Sure they’re opinion should count. After all they’ve earned enough notoriety to be asked to talk about the N-word on CNN. One guy gave his opinion, but added that he probably shouldn’t be commenting because he’s not Black. His statement of the obvious left the anchor in stitches! Had the Rev. Jesse Jackson not touched off the latest round of heated N-word discussion, we all know he would have been the first guy to get the call from the news networks.
I probably shouldn’t be commenting on the N-word either. Like Jesse and all the so-called experts, no one can speak for all African-Americans. Not all of us even like to be called African American (I use Black, African-American and people of color). In this blog posting I only speak for me.
I can remember every single time I’ve been in a confrontation caused by the N-word. Mary Feltham called me the N-Word on a school bus. Sadly it happened just a few months after I stood up for Mary when Nicky said she was a whale that all the kids should “harpoon” with their pens. I spent several months believing that’s what all white kids at school really thought of me.
There was a group of stoners from my high school who called mom and me the N-word after she told them they shouldn’t be sitting on other people’s cars in the parking lot of the Somerset, NJ K-mart.
One day at work my friend, Heather, used the word to describe some jobless teens who lived a few streets away. I told her that it was NEVER okay to use the word. She thought it was okay because she wasn’t talking about me. I told her again that it was NEVER okay to use the word. She apologized and promised to never use the word again. Heather also vowed to correct other people when they used it. We’re still friends.
A woman lashed out at me with the N-word during a spat over a parking space at a Michael’s craft store. She could have whipped me with her dirty panties and it wouldn’t have felt more degrading and hurtful. I did my best to shout back something hateful. I told her that my family members who weren’t in gangs worked for the D.M.V. and that we’d work together to make her life miserable. I thought the D.M.V. threat alone should’ve been enough scare her away from using that hate word again.
Sadly during that nasty encounter, coming up with what I considered a menacing yet creative threat didn’t make the N-Word sting any less. I vowed to change my attitude about the word. Those who used it weren’t calling me worthless, they were showing their feelings of worthlessness. I’ve been working on that attitude change for seven years. I still find the N-word hurtful.
A co-worker has a son with Down’s Syndrome. He overheard his kid calling another child the R-word. No matter how much I preach about the R-word, I still hear teens and 20-somethings using it. Can we substitute the word, “wack?”
I’ve heard girlfriends use the B-word with each other, but when it comes from a skank in the restroom who spilled beer on you, there’s about to be a girl fight.
I’ve heard gay guys toss around the F-word. I’m pretty sure those same gay guys wouldn’t think it was amusing if the F-word was yelled at them from a pick-up truck on a lonely country road.
I simply can’t understand why some people believe it is so unfair for Blacks to use the N-word when Whites are forbidden. I think of it like this. I might refer to myself as a big girl and tell people that I suffer from “chubitis,” but my friends don’t make fun of my weight. I hope they aren’t upset that they don’t get to call me a fat chick in front of my face.
The firey N-word argument isn’t about usage for me. The argument is about why you’d want to use it if you knew it would evoke feelings of pain and anger.
I figure they’ll be two reactions to this entry. My friends will vow to never use the word. People who’d like to hurt me or rile me up will post about how I’m too sensitive and tell me that Black people are hypocrits. I won’t know the color of the people who post. It won’t matter anyway. We’ll never get all Black folks and all white folks to agree on this issue. Hopefully we’ll find common ground with another R-word…. RESPECT (cue Aretha Franklin)