Monday, November 27, 2006

N-Word


OK. So we're having this problematic dialogue, it seems, around the country... about the use of the N-Word.

Problematic to me, because to me, no one should be using the N-Word period. White. Black. Latino. Asian. Kids with street cred. High-powered business people. Geeks. The elderly. Friends. Haters. The young. Enemies. Barbershop buddies. Whatever.

If people knew and really valued their history... it wouldn't even be a dialogue. Or a so-called "re-claiming" of the word. For what?

Anyways, been thinking about the whole resurgence of the dialogue since the Michael Richards N-Word outburst last week in L.A.

And there's some interesting online dialogue taking place at Keith Boykin's site on the incident and the use of the N-Word in the modern-day context. Jasmyne Cannick has a good column on the subject today.

This morning, read on Tayari Jones's site about the new article in latest Esquire Magazine, comparing "good" black people and "bad" black people... and the article actually uses the full N-Word in the headline. No astericks, abbreviations, nothing. You just have to read Tayari's site for more info.

Last year, Clay Cane's site did a great post on the use of the N-Word in today's context called, Embodying White Supremacy in Our Own Communities. Check out his analysis.

Earlier this year, we held a classroom discussion on the N-Word, and screened the recently-produced documentary, The N Word: Divided We Stand, as a catalyst for classroom discussion. The film carefully balances the dialogue and gives historical and modern context around the word's use. For many of my students, born in the mid-to-late 1980s, and with NO fleeting memories or understanding of life before civil rights legislation, that historical context was enough to make them question their use and acceptance of the word.
That's a start. Your thoughts?
fs

1 comment:

durante vita said...

I'm with you on this. I think I did a blog entry on how "faggot" cannot be reclaimed.