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Just a thought…difference of opinions matter…you decide.
As the national presidential primary campaigns
erupted into unprecedented chaos on both sides with Republican presidential
hopefuls leaving the race; Sanders besting Clinton in the latest primary, and
“The Donald” becoming the GOP presumptive nominee, there are other issues
facing Americans especially if one listens to the liberal and conservative “talking heads” media
For me, I am intrigued with the ongoing issue of
use of the dreaded “N” word.
At the recent White House Correspondent’s dinner,
the host, Larry Wilmore, at the conclusion of his comedic remarks (which quite
frankly often missed the mark especially the far too long Cruz/Zodiac killer
routine) used the “N” word (though to be fair, he used the "a" and not the "er" at the end of the "N" word) when saluting and referring to the President of the
United States. “My n-----” accompanied
by Larry's traditional pounding of his chest/heart, and brother hug of Obama sent nervous and eruptive tremors among the majority of the evening's dinner guests. For the TV viewer, it appeared that the
overwhelmingly white audience thought Wilmore’s gesture was disrespectful, and a shock. Even former Black radicals, who used to
understand what the intent and purpose of Wilmore’s gesture signified, changed
their radicalism to conform with their capitulation to the majority analysis. These former radicals called the Wilmore
gesture disrespectful and unwarranted. Regular,
hard-working and enlightened community folks easily realized that these former Black radicals
now have corporate cable media “talking head” jobs that pay good money (no argument here about suggested adjustments to minimum wage,) and what is
that saying about “not biting the hand that feeds you.”
Here is the deal.
Every ethnic/racial/cultural community has the
right to define who they are; how they refer to each other within the
community, and when to forcibly take on the use of community language by others
who do not look like the community members or represent their best interest. As colored people became Negroes or vice
versa; then onto the challenging heated community debates over being called
“Black” and then eventually accepting African-American over Afro (remember the
Afro comb?) American nomenclature, the “black” community is complex in is use
of descriptive words to define who we are.
In the Nineties, I conducted several racial
understanding workshops for community college faculty members and staff, and
realized that the use of the “N” word was mainly generational. Civil rights era advocates disdained the use
of the word. The post-civil rights, Black Power Sixties/Seventies generation, embraced
the word as an endearment and respect within
the community to one another. All generations
agreed that the “N” word was not in the purview of or for use by white folks
for any reason. Why would “Blacks”
accept the use of that word by majority people whose history, actions, beliefs,
and proven historical disdain for people of African descents cause them to believe
the use of that word by whites was a sign of acceptance, endearment, or embrace?
So, why is this word usage issue still with
us? The majority culture still controls
and advocates what it wants the rest of us to believe. As long as there are artificial divisions and
obstacles to person to person, community to community pertinent discussion and
understanding, racial disharmony will continue.
Institutional racism will go deeper into the fabric and consciousness of
society. This simple characteristic will
keep the powerful in control to do just that…control, manipulate and direct the
masses to believe that they really have a say and more importantly, a choice in
any regional or national discussion.
What is there to do? A simple but complex solution is for each
community to elect and establish the cultural mores and ambiance for that
community including the use of words, and articulate those deliberations to
other communities who should accept those deliberations.
My bottom line prompted me to canvas my vinyl
record collection since I remembered that a national best-selling recording and
a runaway hit in my community (released by the powerhouse R&B/Soul recording
label, Stax Records, Inc. in 1974) did not cause any discomfort, uproar or
decrease the number of people attending his sell-out concerts. ’Nough said. You
decide. Stay creative, bill
* * *
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