The N-Word, Madonna, and an Old Fence
I use to not say the n-word. I use to throw it out of the window, hope it landed in the middle of the street and got ran over by a semi-truck. The n-word, as everyone knows is a heavy word. It’s full of hate, disgrace, subordination, and at the same time endearment and style. Black people say it, with either disdain or affection.
By coming into this world, where you would be regarded as such, considered such, and assumed to be such based on a few physical characteristics, you come to understand that you can never escape this word.
You then decide either you will allow this word to shape you or you will use your own two hands to shape yourself.
This topic appears to never go away because racism doesn”t. It’s like a disease that instead of devoting time, energy, empathy, and money to cure, we’d rather treat it and benefit off it as it harms others. Yes, that’s what racism is to me.
But in the present day of 2014, I realized the word is not only still here, but its presence has grown stronger. As non-Black celebs and social media participants take offense of being called the r-word (racist), they’re taking on the n-word.
Madonna posted on instagram, hashtagging #disn***a, regarding her son who is not Black and then she quickly deleted the hashtag and pleading “I am not a racist!”
I couldn’t help to notice how James Franco (who I think is quite funny) lip-rapped Kanye’s “Boundless” while saying the n-word as viewers were amused by Seth Rogen and his parody. I even sung with a former co-worker, who isn’t Black, Jay-Z and Kanye’s “N****s in Paris.” I really didn’t say the n-word around her because it honestly would make me feel awkward and like I just put my own foot in my mouth, but this word is a part of our dialect, the American culture.
As Black leaders, activists, and politicians may feel this word should be banned, the reality is the more something is prohibited, the more people want to do it or in this case, say it. Take alcohol for example. In order to overcome this word, the attitudes of people must change.
But as time goes on, the word seems to be adopted by all cultures. I’ve seen different ethincities besides Black and White use the word.
While calling someone Black the n-word and the taboo of it only being said by Blacks still can give a good old dose of controversy and backlash, whether within the privacy of your home or around a bunch of Black people you are cool with, the n-word is available for everyone.
I’ve honestly have been on the fence. I know as a rapper it is a word I do say and I was given a dose of reality when I went to a Lil Wayne concert a few years back to see an audience that was primarily white. Imagine saying that word in front of a bunch of White people and you’re Black. And they’re singing right along. I often wondered how strong IS this word if overall its offensiveness is contradicted by people’s acceptance.
I honestly think we should not waste energy trying to ban the n-word when the real issues lie within our justice, economic, and educational system and the people of the American society. Matter of fact, THE WORLD.
If you are not Black and you honestly feel it’s ok to use the n-word, please become completely numb and not take offense when a racial slur that is derogatory to your culture is said to you, especially when it’s said by a Black person. Bite your tongue, unclench your fists, laugh and joke, call yourself one and just say to yourself “it’s just a word.”
The reality of it is whether Black people say the n-word or not, it doesn’t rid us of the bias views/treatment the Black culture must endeaur, protest, and/or ignore. Is it a part of my culture and dialect? Why yes. Do I think it’s the biggest problem? Heck no. There’s so much more important things to resolve, repair, rid, and reform.
Regardless if members of another culture call themselves a racial slur, I personally never think nor want to call them that. I’m not a part of that culture, nor do I have first person experience of what that culture is experiencing and what got them to that point. And especially when I’m a member of a culture that may have a history of oppressing them. I’m not looking to fit in, by only adopting their trends and style. You “fit in” when you learn their history and understand how it affects their present. Saying a racial slur like it’s cool, doesn’t change the situation, because at the end of the day, you don’t have to deal with the treatment that comes with it.
But when I see two people who are NOT Black call themselves the n-word, I am honestly relieved. If years and years from now, it becomes JUST a word, and if this word isn’t replaced by ANOTHER word meant to be harmful to a group of people, and IF it just so happens that the broken ties between Blacks and everyone else, including ourselves begin to repair and change, maybe I can be fine with other people of other ethnicities using the n-word.
But due to the past and present we share, our future may become history repeating itself.