The War on One Word
Battle for the ages
The "N" word. Oh yes we are going there. Why? Because it seems the lessons throughout the years need repeating. The "N" word was created to make black people feel bad about being black. The derogatory term created by slave masters to make blacks feel inferior. Most people on this earth have heard many derogatory words hurled at them and they elicit truly visceral reactions. 2017 introduced us to the word triggered wherein people react so violently to words being spoken that it has become almost a joke. Everyone seems to have their feelings hurt about something so now everyone is "triggered".
Now I am not going to take away the history of how words can be hurtful but the "N" word is right up there with being most visceral. It hits black people right in the gut and the feelings of all our ancestors come flooding back in a rage. The problem is that these wannabe slave master white people today know this and are still teaching to their children and so on. Yes, some will blame rap music but it was used as a way to take the power back and lessen the blow amongst our own. I know I have said it a few times but I would not call someone out there name. There are some that say " well my black friend lets me do it." Well, that's great on them. They, however, do not speak for the entire black community so you can keep that between you and your friend. Often, I wonder about that too because some white people are so touchy about race that most black people do not want to be constantly doing teachable moments. This is something you should already know.
The real problem is going to come in when you don't get the reaction you want. I know there are some people out there who love to cause a ruckus and get people riled up. Some live for it. But what will you do when the reaction you want is not the reaction you get.
See, some people have caught on to the game and most learn how America works. When we see the recordings of white people going off on other ethnicities, the other ethnicities stay calm because we all know we are behind the eight ball. We may still continue to speak but we won't get angry. We refuse to be labeled as an aggressive because the media would have a field day. We just keep recording and maintain our dignity. We are tired of the bullshit but we are finally learning to play the game on our terms.
Many claim, well if you can say it, then I can too. I am not the key master to the door of language. I can yell and scream but when people wish to be defiant, they will. The thing about language is that it works both ways and if we called you anything as visceral, we would never hear the end of it.
I wonder if there will ever be a day when the "N" word is uttered and nothing happened. No reactions, no blog post, no media coverage. Would some be so keen to keep using it? Would you be keen to use a word that has no power? A word that historically died the death it should? Would you be so keen to keep throwing that word of historical discourse in our faces but keep telling us to get over slavery? A word that demeaned and broke my ancestors but we still rose above it only for you to use it to continue to make us feel less?
Maybe one day but I know I won't be around for it.
About the author
Born and raised in the greatest city in the world NYC. Sees the world through a lens of being here for over forty years. I will wonder why people never want to do better when they can.