Wednesday, August 18, 2010

NO..! She DID have a point!!

The nagging doubts that I had about moving to Omaha are morphing into something else that is quite different for me. Before I go there, a few words about the Dr. Laura Schlessinger controversy that garnered a smidge of attention recently over her use of the ‘N-word’.

"Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO and listen to a black comic, and all you hear is n****r, n****r, n****r. I don't get it. If anybody without enough melanin says it, it's a horrible thing. But when black people say it, it's affectionate. It's very confusing." - Dr. Laura Schlessinger

She was right because it is. I was riding to get measured for my tux when I stopped at a gas station in Dearborn. An Arab homeboy hopped out of a SUV listening to rap song on the radio. The song contained as many N-bombs as a speech at an Aryan Brotherhood rally. Now if this cat were to have the impression that it is cool to use in everyday conversation, who could blame him?

Apparently, white people get more excited over the ‘N-word’ than black people do… otherwise, why would the world tolerate its use in the scenario Dr. Laura mentioned and to be used in POPULAR music as it is? Someone would have to explain to me how the double standard works, because I am not sure I understand it myself. I mean, the reason there is sensitivity to certain words and terms that are found to be derogatory, is that a broad spectrum of agreement within a group or society as a whole. When it comes to the ‘N-word’ that widespread agreement does not exist, particularly, within the group who should take the most offensive with the word? No, I am not someone who uses that word. The thought of it sits uncomfortably in my mind. But that is me. I guess it is up to me though, to police when the word is used among African-Americans, but to do that is ‘enter at your own risk’. Usually the folks tossing around that particular manhole cover are not liable to see the light of your brilliant argument.

There really should not be wonder why there is so much confusion, as other ethnic groups have their own ‘names and words’ that they use amongst themselves. It is just that point, the part about ‘use amongst themselves’ that muggs up the picture. You can not expect other people to take something seriously if you have not been able to muster the proper context for respect to be placed.

Dr. Laura may be a ‘quack’ (I think she is… in the vein of a Sarah Palin who is playing a role and reaping the financial rewards of her position, talking about a lot of stuff she knows a little about, nothing in depth), but in this context, I have to be on her side. If African-Americans want to be taken seriously, then as a group, we have to decide what WE are going to do about that word. And we need to enforce that position by the same kind of ‘any means necessary’ that we once acted with for social change.

Starting at home, first.


LceeL said...

That whole thing has puzzled me, as well. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I would never think of using that word to describe you, but you could and it would be accepted. That is reality.

nachalooman said...

You know the history of the word. We understand something about HOW it's used. When most white people have historically used the word, it has been to degrade. The word is part of the lexicon now, and it's not going anywhere. Black folks understand that. We aren't a bunch of ignorants concerning this word. What has happened is that we CHANGED the meaning of a word that white were never going to stop using. We broke the power of the word by using it. But for white people they very very seldomly have that ability to use that word outside of its original context. This seems oh so complex, but it isnt. People like to pretend that it is.

So I now like to quote the late George Carlin, who brilliantly explained and exposed the white mindset when they use the word.

He simply said: Context, context context!!!

It's really not that deep.
Anna Renee

Aurora said...

Exactly! In order to have credibility someone must behave with the standards which they wish to be treated.
It is one of those clear unwritten rules of the Universe.
It's skin to saying if I want to be treated with respect, I must be respectful to myself and others.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Interesting post, Mark. As a woman, I do not like it when men use the word bitch, I must say. From most women, I do not take offense.

Jonthy, Alice the uppity white cat's babysitter said...

I agree with Anna Renee. I also agree with George Carlin's views on just about everything. Everything is context.

Tawnya said...

Another word that is used like the N word is the C word. C^%$. It is used when a woman has surpassed bitch. I very, very rarely use it and if it comes out of my mouth, then I am highly upset. I do agree with you on the N word though, it is used all the time, but when a white person uses it, people freak. Wait, did Detroit not bury that word????? I thought I saw it in TV.

CareyCarey said...

I am late to this post, however Anne Renee said it all...

"It's really not that deep"

Really folks, it's only deep when people run from the truth and cloud the issue.

The Sarcastic One put it in context with her great analogy... "Interesting post, Mark. As a woman, I do not like it when men use the word bitch, I must say. From most women, I do not take offense"