Revisiting the "N" Word: Responses to my Column | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Revisiting the "N" Word: Responses to my Column

The Clarion-Ledger printed my most recent rebuttal to columnist Leonard Pitts column on the "N" word yesterday. I know we've THOROUGHLY discussed it here but some C-L readers chimed in with their thoughts so I thought you might want to read a few and give your feedback.. ENJOY..or not, depends on how you feel :-)

rabric21 writes:

Jus' read over your article in the "Ledger," and some of it is true.
Some isn't. I'll go ahead and say, racism crosses all lines. If you doubt what black folks think of white folks, listen any Wednesday night you desire to Charles Ever's radio program on 90.1 fm from 8:00-9:00. I have...many times...and have heard plenty of 'black racism' towards the 'white' community. You'd think after all the (so-called) progress we've made in race relations, especially in the South compared to other USA sections, that wouldn't be so; however, it is. No, 'rappers' didn't invent the 'N'-word any more so than I invented
the radio. On the otherhand, they 'do' choose to perpetuate it, and (they) thus 'are' responsible for their part of its continuing usage. If they had sound intelligence (compared to the likes of a Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, or Louis Armstrong, for example), they wouldn't h-a-v-e to use it to get their message/point across! Anyone who has a decent understanding and command of the English language knows there are plenty of other good synonyms which could be used to express their heritage and interests/concerns. They they
'choose' to continue using the 'N'-word only shows their utter ineptness at doing so! And the complicity of the rappers(?) with current social issues within that community and society-at-large cannot be discounted. I once read in the Bible about "...(setting) one's affection on things above, not on things of the earth." In other words, what you 'choose' to read, listen to, know and understand will, in time, determine so much about who and what you are and become. Fools who choose to listen to 'rap' decide to remain ignorant of greater truths as well as means by which to express themselves--at least in a manner that'll ultimately bring them respect and (perhaps) fulfillment. It is a clear understanding they've chosen to follow the low road of life instead of 'pulling themselves up.' In other words, 'K,' you h-a-v-e to, at some point, decide to 'rise above' your past--and go on to even a more promising future. We see it all the time in the hispanic and oriental communities about this area. They're 'paying a price' for the sacrifice(s) made to improve themselves, their (own) image and that of the community at large, and 'be somebody!' Rappers? For the most part, it's just the opposite. My wife puts food on the table at night for my family, but it's 'my choice' if and what I eat. I can (still) blame her for not cooking what 'I' like/wanted, but that'll solve little at
the moment. Her response might well be, "If you don't care for what I've offered, fix something different yourself--tomorrow night." Thus, 'if' the past hasn't served the black community well, you do 'not' have to continue sitting in it! It's your choice. You can always 'hitch your pants up' (like a real man!) and make something out of yourself' in spite of your challenges. Sadly, when it comes to 'rap'(?) music, I see and hear--what little I can stand of the idiocy!--little which convinces me those affected by it
w-a-n-t to do that. As a result, rappers (and their fans) will continue to be looked upon with disdain and suspect, and they'll continue to 'drag down' those they mentor with their lyrics and (so-called) music.

kblute writes:

I am writing in response to your 12/18/2006 column in the Clarion Ledger, and
would like to pose a couple questions. In your closing paragraph you mention
"...rappers didn't put the word in the mouths of black children; their
generation did, along with society itself.". I agree completely! But is it not
true that much of this generation, and society as a whole, is strongly
influenced by the music we listen too? You do not have to watch many television
shows or read many magazine articles to recognize the role music plays in the
world today, especially in American culture.

Please don't get me wrong. I am not saying that hip-hop is to blame for
"society's ills". That argument is absurd to say the least, because I believe
art imitates life. But I also believe that life imitates art in an equally
powerful manner. That being said, do you believe that hip-hop is possibly
exacerbating some of these problems? And perhaps more importantly, do you
believe that hip-hop can help resolve some of these problems?

Given hip-hop music's enormous influence on our youth, our culture and our
society, I believe it can be a very positive force in helping us all move
forward. I am not saying that everything needs to be rosy and include "why
can't we just get along" choruses. We have many problems in this world, and
artists should not shy away from holding up that painful mirror to society. But
I also hope they can do more than simply identify and describe those problems.
I would be interested in any feedback you would care to share on the subject.

algerhiss writes..AND THIS IS FUNNY!!!

Your humorous little rant in the Clarion Ledger regarding Michael Richards was priceless. Your parents must be so proud.

Every old Klanner still around, from Edgar Ray Killen to the recently departed Sam Bowers, would no doubt smile each time some self-annointed "artist" would go into his "rapper crapper" mode. People like Killen and Bowers probably thank you for continuing their work.

Idgits like yourself, Little Sean Combs and Little Russell Simmons are such buffoons. Please, stay away from the children and contain your maniacal lunacy behind closed doors.

cleanbychoice1 writes:

Brother, I just read your viewpoint in today's Clarion
Ledger and it was dead on. I've heard about you but I
am unfamiliar with your music. To be honest, I prefer
rock. However, I do listen to some rap and after
reading your comments I am an instant fan. God Bless
You and Best of Everthing 2 U!

rhenry writes:

Though I didn't read Pitts' article, I agree with you that rappers are not responsible for the use of the "n-word". You wrote, "What those who criticize fail to realize is that our music is cause and effect: a response to the conditions that we came up in." My father was an alcoholic; therefore, if your statement was true, I would be an alcoholic and so would my four siblings. I understand that blacks have encountered hard times, but haven't we all? Many people grow up in horrible conditions, but many also struggle to overcome the effects.

As for the "n-word": I am white, from Mississippi and a '60s gal. I didn't use the "n-word" while maturing. I didn't use that word until, probably, I entered my 40s. Now, I used the word, "nigger" simply because I am sick of the racial crap spewed by blacks while they accuse us of being racial. Blacks are the most racist people in the US, in Mississippi. So, now I am racist and damn proud of it. In today's society, it is more acceptable to be homosexual or swinging parents than it is to be racist, but I don't follow the norm. I encounter blatant racism everytime I shop in my hometown which is probably about 55-60% black. Most blacks are sullen, resentful and sometimes downright hostile. I show them respect and courtesy as long as they are show courtesy to me, but I won't take their crap. I didn't make them black, nor did my ancestors own slaves.

Further, I can understand why Richards lost his cool. When people show blatant disregard and disrespect for others, why is it absolutely necessary for the other to shut up and take a battering? Though the Bible tells us that, "soft words turnth away wrath", it is often difficult to follow those words of wisdom. Rather than harping on racism, blacks would do well to follow Bill Cosby's lead; actually, we all would.

brianr wrote ... AND THIS WAS DEAD-ON!:

I believe you need to more clearly define what you mean when you say society is to blame. If you mean that most of these ills were born of the complete abdication of parental responsibility by many of today's parents then I am in total agreement. However, if you mean that so called "bad role models" or societal temptations are to blame I do not agree at all. Most, if not all of what people consider to be "societies ills" can be correlated almost perfectly to the downfall of the American family. This is a problem that permeates all classes, races and divisions of society and thus there is plenty of blame to go around. But why not simply place blame where it belongs: squarely on the shoulders of the people that continue to abdicate their parental responsibly as teachers, role models, nurturers, disciplinarians and guideposts. In other words, if my kid turns out to be a menace to society then it is primarily my fault and my failure as a father. Period. Why is it so difficult for so many people to grasp (or admit) this?
___________

Those are a few..I've recieved since yesterday. Id say these are some of the high (and low) lights LOL...This discussion will never subside but a least some folks are talking. What ya think?

Previous Comments

ID
109534
Comment

That Alger Hiss fella is comical to say the least..Ive seen him lurking over at the "other" site (MS POL)...Ill post a few more as they come in...

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2006-12-19T11:48:38-06:00
ID
109535
Comment

OH YEAH!!! And I will be BACK on Kim Wade's show TODAY at 5pm...We're going into part 2 of last week's discussion. TUNE IN 1180 AM on yo dial!!! Hope you guys can catch it!

Author
Kamikaze
Date
2006-12-19T11:51:11-06:00
ID
109536
Comment

Rapper crapper. I'm hurt I didn't think of that first. How about that Kay Boyd? You go, Klan Girl! She was funny. And she shouldn't have to respect people who don't respect her.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-12-19T12:12:07-06:00
ID
109537
Comment

I love this part: Thus, 'if' the past hasn't served the black community well, you do 'not' have to continue sitting in it! It's your choice. You can always 'hitch your pants up' (like a real man!) and make something out of yourself' in spite of your challenges. Yeah, it doesn't take a "real man" to admit what white supremacy has done to our society and try to do something about it, huh? I sure do wish people could bother to learn what "racism" is. Defensive white folks have almost succeeded in disempowering the word, and the ugly power behind it, by using it ad nauseum to mean any criticism of the actions of the majority culture. This is truly intellectually vacant, if mighty convenient for people with my skin color. And it's sad because in so doing, they are also shooting themselves in the foot and relegating themselves to a defensive life of "whiteness." It's an interesting, and very 21st century approach, to maintaining separatism and superiority.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-12-19T12:20:19-06:00
ID
109538
Comment

That algerhiss person's letter leads me to believe he has some size issues. Bless his heart. One day he'll learn that his feeble attempt at humor through condescending sarcasm will NOT pump it up. rabric's use of oriental says all I need to read from this person. Rabric is clearly ignorant of the nuances of racism. And the metaphor involving his wife's cooking is priceless. He's clearly out-of-touch with anyone younger or more educated than himself. Thanks for the post! Really sheds a light on the nimroddery still out there. Especially anyone who says, "no wonder Michael Richards!" Bless her heart. Does she not know the NORM of heckling and such in the comedy club scene? Probably not. I doubt she's had an abstract thought since the 60's.

Author
emilyb
Date
2006-12-19T12:26:51-06:00
ID
109539
Comment

And we're still using the Bible to back up ignorance. Amazing.

Author
emilyb
Date
2006-12-19T12:28:21-06:00
ID
109540
Comment

Emily, what great humor! You're sounding like Ali. Donna, you rock as usual. I love your insight.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-12-19T12:32:28-06:00
ID
109541
Comment

Yeah, the cooking metaphor is priceless. I love it when ignorance is delivered with such, uh, authority. Folks, this is privilege speaking at its most naive. Thanks for sharing, Kaze, we *need* to hear these kind of voices so people can't say they're not still out there (or, alternatively, realize what's so goofy about such narrow thinking). And Ray, not to diss our dear Ali (whose column returns this issue), but Emily was here first being her funny, punny self. She took a little sabbatical for a while to, oh, find Mr. Steam Jeans and the Princess and put their crazy families together. I'm so glad she's back in all her razor-sharp glory. Bless her hilarious heart.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-12-19T13:06:31-06:00
ID
109542
Comment

Thank you :) I've said that Ali and I are working on a book of letters together. Or really instant messages. Stuff we can't say out loud right now because we could get sued or lose jobs or something. I'm personally just waiting on my some relatives to kick off. This book will fund our retirement. And it will put those "Why Do Men Have Nipples" guys to shame.

Author
emilyb
Date
2006-12-19T13:12:44-06:00
ID
109543
Comment

Well it seems that we have gotten hung up on the "N" word. The "N" word has a synonym and it ain't "TRIGGER." It's the "C" word, the "PW"word, the "H" word. The titles, if you will, are all negative to Whites, but just as the "N" word is an exclusive for Blacks, these exclusive for Whites. I would never dream of callin a White person the "[email protected] Nec#" word; however, I hear Whites use it all the time - right here in my office. There are books, songs, and all types of paraphernalia. I can't wear it - I can't use it and neither do I choose to. Someone one (White) just sent me an e-mail entitled: Roudolph the RED NECK Raindeer. By the way, I asked my father, now deceased, what was a [email protected] Nec& and he said that they were farmers who had very light skin and the skin was reddened during the hot Summer months when they were tilling the soil and planting their crops. I was about seven or eight. The problem is not the "N" word as it relates to Whites or other Non-Blacks using it: The problem is the BEHAVIOR(s) associated with it. "Cramer used it in its most negative sense. He associated the behaviors of hanging, sticking instruments in the "a$$, and using his believed superiority (real or imagined) to let the "N" words know that he could, for all practical purposes, mess them up. When the "N" word means nasty, dirty, uneducated, ignorant, careless, criminal, foul, low-down, dirty, second class, no opportunities for upward mobility, left-out, left-behind, poorly paid, passed over, overworked, cheated, physically, sexually and emotionally abused; we have a problem. These things, more often than not, are the PROBLEM and we can not talk them away. It will take more positive actions - Not just verbal diaglogue.

Author
justjess
Date
2006-12-19T13:59:13-06:00
ID
109544
Comment

Jess: My Mom can't stand Jeff Foxworthy, for making that term popular. She's disliked him since he became popular.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-12-19T14:03:23-06:00
ID
109545
Comment

Ok, Donna. I didn't know Em was first. Way to go, Em.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2006-12-19T14:06:49-06:00
ID
109546
Comment

Missed the discussion in the other thread by a few weeks, so I'll somewhat offer my thoughts on the original article and not so much Kaze's reply. In every attempt to maintain sanity and clarity of the history behind the word "n!gger", I do not totally agree with Mr. Pitts' viewpoint. He uses a bold subtitle, "A FORM OF SELF-HATRED". However, it is not self-hatred itself. The current [overly-] justified use of the word is made possible NOT by those who would think themselves as inferior, but, rather empowered. Yes, I know that the empowerment line isn't anything new; wasn't trying to spark a revelation. Everyone has to think about what they write or say. Mr. Pitts failed to make mention of the fact that any rappers using the n-word merely made reference to themselves. Here, I'll 'jump sides' if you will. Rappers [and the label execs and other money-hungry, evil folk making deals] are guilty of making it an everyday word. Rappers did not create the word. What young and middle-aged blacks could relate to the tales presented by Niggas with Attitudes? Those who thought themselves to be the same. Of course, anything and everything has the potential for going excessive. Time eludes me. I'll have to come back.

Author
lilsoulja
Date
2007-01-05T17:52:24-06:00

Like independent media outlets around the world, the Jackson Free Press works hard to produce important content on a limited budget. We'd love your help! Become a JFP VIP member today and/or donate to our journalism fund. Thanks for considering a JFP VIP membership or one-time support.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

comments powered by Disqus