Wednesday, July 11, 2007

" Bury that sucka"

As we all know by now the NAACP has officially declared the dreaded "N" word dead. It has even been buried in a real coffin, with a real grave, and it was given a real headstone. Now my question is this.... What does it all mean? Was this an attempt for the failing leadership of the NAACP to try to connect to the people that no longer has faith in them? Or was the "burial " a really sincere gesture to try to educate our youth to stop glorifying negativity? I do not have an answer to these questions and I would bet my next pay check that the leadership at the NAACP does not either. So why is there such a fuss about "N" word? I have been guilty of using the word myself on countless occasions. When I was younger, the word nigga was just a way of me to acknowledge a fellow black person. I did not know the full meaning of the word, and to tell the truth I did not really care. I guess I was what you might call a typical black teen growing up in an all black neighborhood in the inner city. Older people would try to tell us to stop using the word to describe ourselves and others, but guess what? I was a teenager. What they said went through one ear, passed through my still developing brain, and right out the other ear. Like every other teenager, black and white, I thought that my shit didn't stink, and if you were not in my "crew", (meaning my age or maybe 1 or 2 years older than me), what you said didn't really matter to me. Oh, the joys of being young!! I have definitely changed my way of thinking in my older years.

I think a definition of the word is called for before I get to the meat of this post. According to Webster's Dictionary the word niggar means, " nig·ger . Offensive Slang.
Used as a disparaging term for a Black person: Used as a disparaging term for a member of any dark-skinned people. Used as a disparaging term for a member of any socially, economically, or politically deprived group of people". It also means, "A lazy person with no self respect, no regard for family, ignorant, stupid, slow moving, does not speak proper English and has childlike qualities". Now I must say that I agree with both of these definitions. The first one, straight from the man with the meaning off all English words, is the one I am most familiar with. I have been called a nigga by American white people, American Black people, Mexicans, Germans, Jews and even Africans, and in every case the term was not used in a " I love you" sort of way.It was used to hurt me, to demean my worth as a man, and to let me now how I was viewed by the person saying it at that time. I have used the second definition that is quoted above myself to describe other Black Americans. I know that I am not the only black person in America that has used the word nigga in this fashion. How many times have you heard, "Man that nigga ain't shit", or "That nigga has 3 kids and don't take care of any of them", or, "I am going to kill that nigga". In each of these scenarios, the word was not used in a very loving way to describe another human being.

So who has the right to use it? Is it OK for me to say it when I am referring to another black person? If this is the case, why do we (black people) get upset when someone who is not black says it? I try not to use it all anymore, but I still slip every now and again. But what kills me is when I hear black people, famous people, saying that the more you say the word, the less sting the word has. To me that is bullshit. Example... I have used the word "shit" in this post. If I continually write or say the word "shit" a million times, the word will not loose it's meaning. It will still mean shit! People will still know and understand that it is not a good clean word. Parents will still discipline their children if they overhear the word coming out of their child's mouth. "Shit" is not a nice word. We all know that, so we teach our kids the meaning of the word and teach them that the word is not to be used. So what is the difference between that word and nigga? To me the difference is nothing! It is not a nice word and it should not be used by anyone. To me the word is demeaning and degrading , just like "spic" is to Mexicans, "Faggot" is to gay people, or "Kike" is to Jews.

So maybe the "burial" was a good thing. In my opinion the word should have been hung from the city courthouse, and then shot execution style. The "N" word has a very hateful history, with an even more hateful present. It is used to describe not only black people, but damn near every negative thing that can be thought of. I cannot understand the love affair that Black America has with this word. I used to be one of the millions of confused and uneducated black youth that threw the word around like a football, but I have grown up and educated myself to the real meaning of the word. It is degrading, demeaning, and does not describe any of the black people I associate with. I do not hang around niggas anymore. And if you want to go by the second quoted definition above, I know more white "niggas" and Mexican "niggas" than I do black "niggas". But there are still some good old fashioned black "niggas" out there. In the words of Chris Rock, " I love my black people, but I hate niggas!" So I am going to end this with a wish that the NAACP not only bury the word, but educate our youth to the real meaning of the word. Because the roots of this word run deep in my community, and it will take more than a symbolic burial, and a couple of sound bites by politicians to kill the word "nigga", and make it stay dead.

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