Tag Archives: N word

When White People Should Say N–

Once and for all I want to settle the controversy of White people using the n-word.  There actually is a rule and it’s very, very simple:

Never.

NEVER.

Say it with me….white people should never say N*gga, n*gger, or any permutation of the word.

No, Bill, I mean you too:

This woman running for local office who called police about “N– outside drinking Hennessy?  Heeeeelllllllllllllllllllll no, no matter what Eddie Murphy said.

How about stars who act like they’re cool with Black people? Nope.

But, wait, what about if you’re a teacher and you’re just trying to teach the youth about the N word with your old ass ideas saying the word over and over until you get checked? That’s on you, teach.

What if you have really good intentions, and you’re woke as fuck and you care about black people like you really love them and deeply care about black empowerment and you are committed to supporting black people in the struggle for justice?  Like you dedicate your life to ending racism and you work hard every day to make the world more just and every once in a while in love and solidarity you want to refer to your black friends as my n–?

Trick question–if you’re really woke af, you know white people shouldn’t say the n-word.

So no matter what you’ve heard, no matter how extensive you think your hood pass is, no matter how noble your intentions or how great your cultural knowledge, if you are white the rule stands.

Never.

 

No, You Can’t Say N*%%r, and P.S. Your Former Employer Profited From Slavery

Christine Lindgren really thinkS she should be able to use the n word, and she’s hopping mad about it.  So mad that she penned an open letter went apeshit on Facebook to express herself.

  
Lovely.  Thank you. And thanks for the lesson in African slave trading.  Yes, Africans did participate in the capture of people’s later traded in the transatlantic slave trade.  And who funded those ships? Banks. Like the bank you used to work for, little Christine.  

Perhaps, Miss Lindgren, you can research Americs darkest chapter now that you have been fired–even former slavers don’t want to be racist anymore.  Maybe you could check out Roots with Kwiku Dog.

Teachable Quarters

High school sports are an important part of the teen experience, teaching young people character, sportsmanship, cooperation and…racism?  If you’ve been frequenting the high school sports scene, you may have noticed that  racism has been added to the after school curriculum.

tweet mahopac

Take , for instance, the hostility leveled at players during and after a game in Mahopac,  New York.  Fists flew in the stands following taunts of the visiting team, including the N word.  When Mount Vernon, New York players took the game 43-40, the racial slurs from Mahopac players  continued in the Twitterverse.

BNL-crowd-LN-e1394118319784

Mahopac is not alone.  At a high school girls’ basketball game in Bedford, Indiana, Lawrence North High School players were greeted by Bedford North Lawrence High players wearing gorilla suits and safari gear.   Adults in this school dismissed criticism, saying costumes were worn throughout the season., giving students a quick lesson in doubling down rather than open up to listen.

phillipsburg-high-school-wrestling-photo-cropped-f1f2b749dc87ebce

Or take the case of the Phillipsburg boy’s wrestling team.  The boys posted this picture after beating their rivals from Paulsboro High School.  The picture, featuring two of the wrestlers wearing pointed hoods, drew criticism, followed by a team apology.

What is interesting isn’t the frequency–though that is worth noticing in what too many think is a post racial world–but what follows these events.  Out come tempered apologies as if their actions came as a surprise to the perpetrators themselves.

22philipsburg_blog-blog480

Young people in the process of learning to become adults make mistakes.  That “not knowing any better”, “not noticing “, and “not meaning anything” continue to be accepted as apologies for racist behavior seems to be a mistake the adults are making.   Besides, such statements strike me as insincere:  racist words and images are used precisely because of the power they wield.   Saying you don’t notice is at best an indicator of your ignorance of others’ and at worst a lie.

distribution-of-u-s-population-by-raceethnicity-2010-and-2050-disparities

As America continues its inevitable march to being a majority minority country–meaning the majority of American’s will belong to a group we now consider minorities–educational institutions need to do what they can to foster greater understanding of race and culture.  Since you cannot understand what you don’t notice, people need to learn to see cultural difference with respect instead of fear or loathing.  Being aware of images and symbols of race is not hypersensitivity, it is cultural literacy, a key skill for every educated individual living in a multicultural country.  Schools seem like a perfect place to start.

99 Problems And Slurs Are 1

Peyton can thankfully put this year’s Superbowl in the rear view, but for the rest of the NFL, the off season’s drama is just as lively as the regular season.  Michael Sam made an appearance this weekend answering questions about his position in the draft, his play on the field, but mostly about is sexual orientation.

As much attention as Micheal Sam occasioned this weekend, the issue of acceptance of professional male gay athletes is just beginning.  Much older, and still in many ways unresolved, is the issue of racial diversity  in the NFL.  This season again spurred several high profile racial flaps like those that we talked about here, and here.

jonathan-martin-richie-incognito

The NFL is now considering a new rule that would levy a 15 yard penalty against players using a racial slur on the field during the game.  Before it is even voted into place, the rule is already stirring up a predictable hornets’ nest of naysayers.  Will the rule be equally enforced?  And if so, by whom?  Won’t it ruin the game to have to police players’ language?  Oh, and the game is so rough, maybe calling people n@##er and f$**ot are part of the game we can’t do without.

The NFL, despite their sweet tax status, is a workplace.  I don’t know about you, but if I yelled a racial slur at my colleague in a faculty meeting, best believe I would be packing up my office by the end of the day.  Now, I don’t want my football ruined any more than you do, but if we’re going to fine players for this:

TO

and this

QHCI2shouldn’t we fine them for yelling n@&&er on live TV?  And if we do, will we fine this guy every time he says redskins?

daniel snyder
Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, say he will “never” change the name. That’ll be 15 yards per use, Snyder.

Do You Have To Be Right To Not be Treated Wrong?

Richard Sherman is $7875.00 away from putting this week’s scream-obsessed circus behind him.  The Seattle Seahawks’ cornerback has taken the week to turn an outpouring of criticism over a live on-camera interview into an opportunity to school us in stereotypes.  Now he just needs to pay his league fine and go on to play in the league’s biggest event where he will have the chance to respond on the field.  In case you missed it, at the conclusion of the Seahawks Forty-niners playoff game, Erin Andrews stopped Sherman for a little post-game chit chat.

Sherman delivered an earsplitting takedown of his rival on the field.  Within hours the Twitterverse lit up with criticism of Sherman’s “outburst”, and TV followed suit with a days worth of attention devoted to Sherman’s interview that used the word thug 625 times, according to Deadspin.  It didn’t take long for Sherman, not known for being quiet, to shoot back with some commentary of his own.

 Instead of delivering a dose of profanity, Sherman wrangled the criticism and elevated the conversation.  While he brushed off any implication that the criticism may destroy him, he did point out that he was bothered by the use of the word thug as a code word for the infamous n-word.  He correctly reminded us that in American parlance, when they call him a thug, they don’t mean that he is lurking around with brass knuckles, but that he is one in a long line of totally expected black brutes.

Is he right?  Sure.  You don’t need a word that starts with N to ring the bell of racism against black men.  What other choices do you have?  Try thug, brute, street, gangster, threat, hood, ape, pimp, dropout and a host of other names that trace a line decade by decade back through American history.  These words come and go like fashion, but the pattern of racism persists.

thug

Richard Sherman, Ivy League graduate has proved that he is not these things.  He’s chosen to use this moment to draw our attention to the use of code words in common conversation to link black men who are public figures to long standing racist historical misrepresentations.  Sooo excellent.  This time it turns out that Sherman was the wrong dude to mess with.

sherman-hs-1

But here’s the thing.  You shouldn’t have to be the right person to not be treated the wrong way.  Whether you are a Stanford graduate or just a guy on the grind, no man deserves to be defined by stereotypes.