Terrorist is the new N-Word

Can I just say that after viewing several you-tube videos as well as footage from a McCain-Palin rally that I am really scared as well as depressed by the state of our nation and the folks who reside in this nation. Yesterday, I saw some footage outside a rally in Strongville, OH that showed folks who were very proud to wallow in their ignorance when it comes to Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama.

Folks proudly and angrily declared that Obama is a terrorist, its in his bloodline, one woman in  particular a blond chick was almost foaming at the mouth with hatred towards Obama. Other footage I saw yesterday included folks saying that Obama would lead us into socialism and communism. (yo dumb asses, that bank bailout is a slippery slope away from capitalism, are you aware of that?) Folks screaming that the organization ACORN  is responsible for the housing crisis that has now morphed into the credit and financial crisis. Implication being that the Negros aka the darkies are responsible for this shit.

Talk about a lot of half-baked theories not rooted in any type of reality. However aside from the one Negro in Wisconsin ( a mister James T Harris by the way, conservative radio talk show host) who needs his Black card immediately revoked, all the folks spewing with this anger were all white. Which leads me to wonder and guess is the word terrorist the new nigger. See, we are all scared of terrorists and the powers to be would have us to believe that all terrorists are folks with dark skin. Never mind that America herself has given birth to many crazy ass white folks who we could call terrorists (Timothy McVeigh, anyone?). When a white person slips and goes crazy well its just a blip, ya know how it is.

No, the McCain-Palin camp recognizes that fear of race and fear of the unknown is still real in this country so while they know they can’t just come out and call Obama a nigger, and tell folks to fear the nigger. They can and are saying fear the terrorist, fear the dark one and sadly their supporters are buying it, in fact they are gobbling it up like a hungry person. Problem is that is this is some scary shit, these folks are so fearful of the dark one, the “terrorist” that they don’t even care that voting for McCain and his winged she bitch will only make their working class financial plight worse. No, anything is better than a terrorist aka a nigger.

Now I bet anything these same folks who are fearful of Obama with no basis in reality would be quick to say that they aren’t racist, of course not. I mean even the hardcore racists know you can’t come out and say you hate Black folks, but you can come out and say you hate terrorists who in most simple American minds are non-white folks.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying all McCain supporters are racist, shit I have one friend who is a lifelong Republican in fact this political season we aren’t even talking about this election because its too heated. I believe folks have the right to vote for whoever they want, but damn use some common sense and don’t let your choices be based in fear and ignorance. Have a reasonable reason for voting the way you do, know the issues, not just the regurgitated Fox News sound bytes…

No, as I drank my coffee this morning, the ole commercials from the United Negro College Fund came to mind ” A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste” Sadly in America looks like a lot of minds are being wasted and that could very well be our downfall.

White privilege.. its everywhere I am not

I guess the reason I won’t ever be a blogger who writes about current events is because I have a tendency to come late to the party, but that’s life when you have an almost 3 year old and only 24 hours in a day.

Last post, I wrote about Jesse Jackson and the n-word but at that writing I hadn’t yet heard the story about ole Elizabeth from The View and the rather um, emotional discussion that occurred between the ladies of The View about the n-word. Plenty of folks have already wrote some fabulous stuff specifically about that conversation, however at another blog the issue of white privilege came up and for some reason this weekend that stuck in my mind.

Seems white folks don’t always get why they can’t use the n-word, some even say it feels unfair… after all if its such a hateful word, why the hell should Black folks use it? Seems maybe we should all bury it. On the surface that feels like a really warm and fuzzy argument and maybe if it were not for this little pesky thing called white privilege, I might almost agree but I don’t.

Before I get into my rant, let me say upfront, I don’t write an academic blog, I am a former quasi-academic, long story short after I got the masters degree a few years ago, I decided I had had enough of school.  So I say this to say that when I blog, I just write, I don’t for the most part add sources but if you are reading this feel free to google anything I say and find the references yourself.

Now that we have that out of the way, lets get the rant on… Many years ago Peggy McIntosh wrote a piece that is often used to discuss white privilege, it basically highlights the many invisible perks that white folks get just by nature of being white. Simple things like knowing for instance you can pretty much do what you want to do without fear… or at the very least live in a state and not have to travel 2 states over to get your hair done.

With that paraphrasing of Peggy’s piece, I am reminded that maybe on some level the reason whites don’t get why they can’t use the n-word is not so much rooted in the fact that they care about Black folks (not saying that they don’t) but more rooted in the fact that its one thing that Black society has basically said no about, you can’t use that word and in general to be white in America does not mean hearing no all that often compared to if you are a person of color in America. After all for the average white person throwing out a casual n-bomb at the very least will earn you a mild scolding if your n-bomb falls upon Black ears to possibly getting your ass kicked. Depends on the Black person hearing it and honestly the kind of day they are having.

See, its funny when the spousal unit and I were talking about The View and my reaction to Elizabeth (honey, stop crying… get over yourself, use those tears to help folks if you really want to do something productive). It was my white half that brought up white privilege and how in his 40 years of life, 13 which have been spent with yours truly, that its been only in these last 13 years that he realized how many things he took for granted as a white man.

Imagine walking around in a large city when the urge to take a sudden and powerful bowel movement hits (I know this is sounding crazy but stick with me), well the spousal unit just looks for a nice hotel and wanders in and uses their facilities. The first time he shared this with many years ago, I looked at him like he was crazy, see when I used to live in Chicago and found myself in a similar predicament it never dawned on me to go to a hotel. Perhaps, because I have had experiences when traveling and staying at top notch hotels where just my appearance required showing a key card and proof I really belonged at the hotel and wasn’t loitering. Its a small thing but it was one of the first times I stopped to ponder how we, Black folks and White folks at times can inhabit different worlds.

In more recent days, a white girlfriend and I were discussing local beaches we take our kids, and my pal shared that she regularly uses one particular beach that is private… I knew the beach in question but was fascinated that she regularly just used it with no concerns, I even asked her aren’t you concerned that the organization that owns it might ask you to leave? She told me no; see white privilege allows you to go and do seemingly simple things like shit or use a beach with no concerns that someone might question you, hound you, or disturb you in any way. Damn, it must be nice…

However back to my original point, I see some whites irritation in not being allowed to use the n-word rooted in the fact that to be white in America unless you are at the lowest rings of the socio-economic ladder is to not have to hear the word no, it means always having a choice.. and yet Black folks have said no, you cannot have this word. That said, I am not saying we as Black folks need to hang onto this word as a commenter on my last entry stated maybe its time we look for some new language in general and I agree.

That said white privilege is everywhere, maybe instead of getting pissed about what you can’t say, it would be better to look at what you can do and strive for ways to achieve parity so that everyone can shit when needed.

The N-Word.. Should it die?

So it turns out when ole Jesse Jackson was at Fox News network talking about Barack Obama’s nuts, that he may have also slipped out the ole n-word too. Honestly, I am not surprised, I guess if you are gonna talk about another man’s balls, why not drop the ole n-word in while you are trying to make a fool of yourself.

I am not interested in whether Jesse said it or not, but as I surf around in cyberspace, its been interesting reading various folks opinions on the use of the N-word especially as it relates to us Black folks using it. Before I start I must confess, I was raised by parents who made liberal use of the n-word, in fact I still try to tell my Pops that we aren’t supposed to use it and as he tells me “Why?. Good question, why aren’t we supposed to use it anymore.

I know, its a word laced with history and negativity. I technically know why we shouldn’t use it but as a reader and writer, I am not particularly fond of censoring words even ones that as a woman make me cringe such as c**t. Words are words on one level and they only hold power if we give them power, that said, if a white person were to haul out the n-word, I suspect that is a white person who would be tasting my red toes. No, that is definitely not what I am talking about, for me white folks don’t ever get to use the n-word, sorry, you just can’t….

That said, it seems in the Black community at times the idea of whether or not the use of the n-word seems to break down around class. See, back in my old neighborhood in Chicago, folks used the word and no one ever thought anything of it. However as I went to college and started interacting with more solidly middle class Black folks is when I noticed that if the word came up folks visibly got uncomfortable. I definitely noticed upon moving to Maine and interacting with Maine Black folks no one ever ever uses the N-word, I will admit that I still suffer lapses and occasionally the word comes out much like the b-word comes out from time to time. In my defense, I have a potty mouth in general, what can I say, cussing comes easy to me and I have to work at it much like I work at maintaining a decent weight.

A few years ago, comedian Paul Mooney who I love said he was no longer gonna use the n-word and truthfully I was bugged, I know it was in response to Michael Richards tirade at a comedy club a few years back. Clearly Richards was in the wrong using the word but did Mooney really need to retire the word? Mooney’s comedy came about in an era with great artists such as Richard Pryor and honestly I can not even imagine how funny Pryor would have been without the use of the n-word. Maybe that makes me small minded but its my feelings.

No, the current crusade against the use of the n-words by Black folks sometimes feels like a class struggle at its roots, I am not saying there are not working class Black folks who don’t cringe at the mere mention of the word but there definitely seems to be a connection with the more education/more income one gets, less of a desire to use that word.

Over the years, younger Blacks have changed the word from n***er to n***a, some folks feel it doesn’t matter since its still the same word.. yet on a certain level I am not sure its the same word. I wonder if its a way to reclaim it and use it in a way where we own it versus the traditional use where it was a label slapped on us. Just wondering out loud…

That said at the end of the day, I do think there are a lot more things to get pissy about than whether or not we should be angry about this word. I say for those in the middle class who get disgusted at the use of this word maybe we should look at the circumstances that continue to produce folks who cling to this word. I suspect that much like myself if one is surrounded by folks who no longer use this word that eventually it will fade away, there may be the occasional lapse but it will become less common.

So tell me should this word die?