Essays, poems and Stories of an African-American

Saturday, 29 June 2013

The unpopular 3 N Words: Nigga, Nazi, Nuclear

The three words that have depicted so much trouble in a long line of human history are: the nuclear bomb, Nazi and Nigger. I am going to talk more about the word Nigger here. In my opinion it still wreaks much more havoc even today whether in jest or not (http://www.nazi-lauck-nsdapao.com/nigger-jokes.html and http://www.somethingawful.com/d/awful-links/awful-link-2566.php). The other words can be looked up by those interested in these topics. I was prompted into writing after I met two great friends who introduced me to a sensitivity cultural shock. It all began when I tried to figure out how to address them out of respect to their status, age and my cultural background. It turned I was asked to use their first names comfortably. I admit it was not easy at first but now am used. Once you live in someone’s home you do everything in your power to behave and remain cordial. You are called upon to balance the tenets of the adage ‘when in Rome do as the Romans’ and common sense etiquette. But, all this is lived experience that depends on whim, attitude and moods. These friends also introduced me to sensitivity towards diversity where such terms like: tolerance, feminism, race, equal opportunities, sexuality, power, inter-ethnicity, integrity, eco-conservation and rights hit me back strongly, even more strongly than before. And so in that situation I got to hear of a case of Paula Deen, a very well established celebrity chef who was being put to task for having used the word Nigga ( N-word) and arranged to recreate a wedding party in which black Americans would dress like slaves; the way it was before abolition of slavery in USA. This was the un-doing to Paula’s businesses (http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2013/0622/Paula-Deen-and-the-N-word-A-plate-of-bigotry-with-that-fried-chicken-video).  Paula did apologise for using the N-word but two incidences pointed towards pre-arranged and deliberate insensitivity towards racially inciting tendencies: arranging a slavery-themed Southern plantation wedding and; her attitude that was verbally expressed in a form that spells no remorse (http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2013/06/paula-deen-will-never-use-the-word-nigger-again-suffers-more-losses/). Paula Deen became a poster girl of racism and in the process lost allies and sponsors. It was also said that these very sponsors were not fair and needed to hold celebrities to the same standards like politicians whether democratic or republicans (http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2013/06/paula-deen-will-never-use-the-word-nigger-again-suffers-more-losses/). There are those who are called upon to talk about the ills going on as a result of bad governance and leadership at various positions. That the same tone they condemn the use of the N-word should be the same against say, corruption (http://goarticles.com/article/Why-So-Mean-to-Paula-Dean-for-Using-the-Word-Nigger/7700585/). Then one comes across a blog that posits treating ‘niggeritis’ a hate for black people (http://bluefolktronica.blogspot.com/2013/06/on-paula-deen-and-n-word.html). Many people are reacting differently. There are those who say that the privileged positions of those in charge of slaves and/or having a skin color other than that of slaves gave them the impression of lords. They expected to be served and have everything coming to them. The word nigger which is also spelled Nigga has been used been used abusively and as a demeaning attribute. The word was a death-cry and it led to the death of Emmett Till a 14 year old boy in Mississippi for making passes at a white girl (http://abcnews.go.com/US/BlackHistory/story?id=1543526&page=2#.Uc9jaGK1FiE).  The use of the word was followed by apportioning out suffering, despicable ill-treatment, ridicule and sub-human conditions. That is how the word was passed on to the present generation from past generations (http://www.philasun.com/news/4389/38/Paula-Deen-s-sin-wasn-t-that-she-said-a-bad-word.html). The National Association for the Advancement of Colored buried the word Nigger in 2007. Others, like the hip-hop and entertainment industry say in using the word Nigga (especially not spelled nigger), it is used as a ‘friendly’ term   (http://abcnews.go.com/US/BlackHistory/story?id=1543526&page=2#.Uc9jaGK1FiE). In various cases the N-word has been used to define lifestyle, outlaw and criminal identity (http://leejohnbarnes.blogspot.com/2010/07/mel-gibson-chris-rock-and-niggers.html). It is argued that the N-word can also be used as an euphemism depending on one’s peers or as an abusive term and that way it is still used derogatively. This has to be determined and one has to be put to task to explain their circumstances. In the case of Paula Deen there was an expectation of remorse but apparently it was lacking. The N-word is taboo and that is how American society is packaging that word. It has historical roots, tied with slave era and it is an extension of such mechanisms that lower a black person (denigrate). 

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