Saturday, December 02, 2006

The N Word

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UPDATE: Interview from KMOX Radio, with Boston College Professor Lawrence Watson. He is an African American educator and anti- N word advocate.

Listen Here (Interview is on the second part of this audio segment. Fast forward to the 20 min, 15 second mark if you want to skip the first segment)

Original Post

Listen (below) to a great debate about the N Word from NPR's News and Notes program. This has been an ongoing debate among African Americans for some time now, however, the current debate seems to be more urgent. It was brought on by the recent tirade from Comedian & Actor Michael Richards, which was caught on video at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles.

Paul Mooney, a well known African American Comedian who often used the word in his performances, says that the Michael Richards episode cured him forever. He will never again use the N Word. He said that it was like shock treatment for him, and that the incident made him more introspective.

In this first segment, Paul Mooney is in a debate with Rapper KRS 1.

It is no surprise that the often despicable Rap community is STILL attempting to justify the use of this word so that they can continue to use it in their lyrics. (I should point out that my anger goes out to most of the Rap culture....definitely not all of it). And why would they want to give it up? They have made millions while using the word and Black leaders have allowed them to get away with this nonsense for so long.... why stop now?

But of course this is a position that raises my blood pressure quite a bit. It is one of the many things about so-called "Hip Hop culture" that aggravates me to no end.

There is one priceless moment in the first segment where KRS 1 (who often gets too big for his pants) gets checked by Paul an indirect way. It's a rare event to see African Americans stand up to rappers these days. It's about time.... The coddling and excuse making must stop!

Listen to Segment Here

In this next Segment, The African American Roundtable Continues with the N Word debate. Other issues are also covered. As usual, the Roundtable sets things straight!


Topics include the debate over the "N" word, Ford's attempt at a financial turnaround and a pray-in in Washington, D.C., held to protest racial profiling of passengers. Farai Chideya's guests are economist and author Julianne Malveaux; Ron Christie, vice president of DC Navigators; and Walter Fields, CEO and Publisher of the

Listen Here


Related Links

Black Leaders Call For An End To The Use of the N Word

Abolish The N Word Website.


Anonymous said...

Angry Independent, Here is my politically incorrect diatribe on the "Abolishing N Word" debate.

I've never used the N word myself in conversation, even as teen. My mother and step dad never allowed me or my brothers and sister to use the word in our house, or around them. We were taught within our family that is a word black folk did not use against one another.

We were discouraged from using it. It worked, all of my siblings don't even think about using the word today.

I only use it while writing about the use of it.

I don't think we can pass laws or orders from civil rights groups or old school and new school opinion makers on how black folks, both youth and adults use words.

We can however "encourage" positive communication through alternative educational strategies that work.

For over twenty years, since the demise of the radical black groups, youth have really not had any organization to join, the provide positive progressive "political education" the way the old Black Panther, Republic of New Africa, and old Nation of Islam would.

Today's black youth are caught in a "political and social leadership time warp" in which black youth having limited quasi-political organizations. Those black individuals, who have lots to say, do nothing except make money off of black folk’s pain, including selling books, speaking on college campuses, or just selling themselves for profit instead of contributing through creative ideas, planning and implementation at the street level. Or as my good friend of mine from years ago, use to say, from a dead level.

Don't forget that many of todays black youth are from baby's having baby's. The baby's of the 1980's having babys' with no political understanding of the community let alone the city, state, nation or world.

I'm personally opposed to outlawing the use of any word. I'm opposed to outlawing the N word, like I'm opposed to burning books. There are some words that have provided a safe haven and outlet for many an African American males who survived urban segregation, racial hatred and jail by having the opportunity of calling a sales clerk, boss, co-worker or other person acting in a racial way, one of the many names like; honky, grey boy, white trash, redneck, or cracker - and just walking away.

Without those words, they would have a fight with the black guy beating the crap out of the white guy and going to jail.

The old sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me theory.

Well, for this black man, a few of those words said under my breath, growing up in Boston during defacto segregation of public schools, housing and the job market, provided my outlet to vent, survive and grow. I stayed out of jail, did not bust a white racist in the head; this because I had the ability to call a name and vent, versus physical confrontation.

Was it better than fighting, dame right! Today, do I have alternatives to saying those words, yes, and no. During Katrina and many times afterwards I;ve found myself calling Bush a stupid redneck. And sometimes I do want to call O.J. negro. Let me stop.

Should the words honky, grey boy, white trash, redneck white boy, or cracker be outlawed or banned? No. Should the N word be outlawed or banned, no. We should replace it with the word Negro. When we feel like saying the word Ni#4@r we shoulkd replace it with negro.

Should African Americans create institutions that educate our communities about the history and the derogatory meaning of the N word? Yes.

Should the many African American millions, and the two or three black billions contribute to some type of fund to educate our people about the use of the N Word the B Word and other words. Yes. Has Robert Johnson, one of the billionaires made part of is Billion on derogatory black videos with the N word B word and every other negative expression contributing to the contnued demise of modern day African American culture. Yes. Should he be held responsible? Yes. Is anyone holding him responsible? No.

We rather blame others... it's easier.

Brian said...

Good points LN

I can basically agree with you on the point that the word should not be legally abolished. I was just using the "Abolish...." graphic because it fit the subject.

I don't think it should (or even could) be done away with in a literal sense through any kind of legal banning.

I am supporting efforts to get people to stop using the word on their own.... Let's do it through "shaming". Make it no longer the cool thing to do (if it ever was cool).

I don't think any of the advocates for ending the use of the word literally mean (or expect) that it
should be legally banned. But folks could still be encouraged to stop using it....and that is the effort that I support.

Using the word makes Black folks look like idiots.

I also agree that there are very few institutions out there for young African Americans to teach them anything positive. It's a shame. We have poor inner city schools, parents that are not parenting, a media system that portrays Blacks as Sambos, and a world that tells young Blacks that they are not good enough. This is what young folks are constantly bombarded with, day in and day out.
All of these things coming at you at the same time doesn't leave much fertile ground for anything uplifting, any self esteem, etc.
(Maybe we can get Cosby to run for {President...he has hit on a lot of these issues).

And I agree about BET (Black Exploitation Television). I haven't watched that network in quite a few years. It is one of the main culprits. BET is part of the self degradation culture that is so much a part of the "Black Community".

White folks look at how Blacks use the N Word, look at the kind of self destructive culture that so many young Blacks embrace, look at the degrading images of Blacks that Blacks themselves help to perpetrate (mainly in Hip Hop Culture)....and they see all of these things and they mock and laugh at us.... I know they do when they are amongst themselves.

And it makes me sick. The fact that Black folks even have to argue about the use of this word in 2006 (a word which was used against us during one of the worst genocides in history)
shows that Blacks have a long way to go in terms of their own education and introspection on this issue (and many other issues).

I don't see people of other races using these kinds of sickening words towards their own.... I don't see that celebrated on television and radio and in magazines and on the net. But I do see the N Word all over the media used between Black folks.

It is Black folks who are killing their own image.
I am for any effort to do something about changing that... although, that doesn't necessarily mean literally making a law to ban the N word. This is a cultural effort.... not a legal one.

Anonymous said...

JustMeWriting said...

I totally agree with you A.I (angry independent not allen But I think that's the way to go...shame them into submission. Most black people have lived with the word for so long it's like family...we hang out with it, take it to dinner, school, work and then to bed.

I once held to Dave Chappell's theory that our hate for the word empowers it, but I'd say it was the opening video on the abolish the N word web site that turned me around.

I felt like a kid in a toy store that was giving away free candy when I read those They were the thoughts I scream everyday. WE'VE got to change things; too many of us DON'T parent our children. DON'T teach them morals and values. DON'T encourage them to GO, BE, DO... their uncultured, uncivilized, uneducated and under the radar for the rest of the world.

I'm going to stop there because I'm not even going to get on BET like Aaron McGruder said throught the dialogue of Dr. King; BET is the worst thing to happen to todays Black people.