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A Dialogue on the infamous “N” word

 
 
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 11:31 am
Has there ever been a real dialogue about the word nigger/nigga in America?

As someone who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and lived through the civil rights movement and Jim crow laws it sadden me that today’s black youth and anyone would adopt the word nigger, or nigga as a term of endearment.

In my opinion, which doesn’t count It is disingenuous for young black Americans to say that they have empowered this word to mean anything other then what it means. A rose by any other name is still a rose. The word nigger/nigga was used in America as the ultimate slur and insult to Black Americans.The term nigger meant that you were less than human. It was used hatefully.
There is an ugly and sad part of American history attaché to suck a term. It is a vile term used often at the lynching of Black Americans.
The ramifications of racism go far, lasting for centuries. It is a false belief that one can empower such a word. That is part of the sickness and problem of racism. The only analogy that I can draw is that at one time Group A was allowed to throw feces on Group B. Then, at one point it became unlawful for group A to continue throwing feces on group B. After a time Group B started to throw feces on others members of group B as a act of endearment. But if it was not ok for any member of group A to throw feces on a member of group B, even if it was done as a act of endearment
I heard a sport journalist say that his best friend, who happens to be white, cannot say the word nigga to him but that other black Americans can? Is that truly a friendship?
People claim they want to have a dialogue but people on TV, Radio and other forms of media and forums can’t or will not even say the word. They refer to the word as The N word. How can you have a dialogue when you can’t say nigger?
,
 
layman
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 12:47 pm
@argome321,
Quote:
People claim they want to have a dialogue but people on TV, Radio and other forms of media and forums can’t or will not even say the word. They refer to the word as The N word. How can you have a dialogue when you can’t say nigger?


Good question, Arg. I posted this video in another thread. Whatever else one may take from it, I think it's fair to say that there is at least some "discussion," artificial or not.

argome321
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 12:58 pm
@layman,
Quote:
Good question, Arg. I posted this video in another thread. Whatever else one may take from it, I think it's fair to say that there is at least some "discussion," artificial or not.


Yes, I saw your posting of this video. That what lead to my post.
layman
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 01:04 pm
@argome321,
I understand, or at least think I do, every sentiment and argument you are making, Arg. But I don't quite agree. And, because I don't I will be, and have routinely been, labeled as a "racist." While acknowledging the distaste and abhorrence that a given person, or group of persons, may have for any particular word, I don't quite agree with what you are suggesting when you say this:

Quote:
A rose by any other name is still a rose.


You are quoting Shakespeare here of course, but his point is different. He's saying that changing the word used to refer to something cannot change what that thing is. I agree with that completely. So what "power" does a word have, beyond what any given person chooses to give it? Whatever I call you, good, bad, or indifferent will not change who/what you are.

If I call a beautiful woman an "ugly bitch," does that in any way change what she is? Of course not. It just reveals my bitterness, misogyny, or whatever subjective motives I may have for saying it, and no more.

Changing the word used cannot change the thing. And that includes real prejudice/racism. "Prohibiting" a racist from showing his stripes does NOT suddenly make him a "non-racist." It simply helps him conceal his true sentiments. And, as you note, it stifles HONEST discussion.
layman
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 01:33 pm
@argome321,
I don't know if you've looked at this thread, entitled "Is "colored people" offensive" (or something close to that--I'm not looking at it right now):

http://able2know.org/topic/267735-1

Some, very limited, discussion took place in that thread, but a concerted effort was made to "shout down" those who didn't take the "prohibitionist" view, even if that view was expressed by the NAACP.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 01:34 pm
I leave others to wrestle with themselves over this. As for me, I knew as a teen that the word is far too ugly for me to ever use, even in these kinds of discussions. If the entire world suddenly decided it was an okay term, I still would not be saying it.
layman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 01:40 pm
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
If the entire world suddenly decided it was an okay term, I still would not be saying it.


Sure, Ed, and I don't disagree with you one bit on that point. But that doesn't mean that others, who don't have the same associations with the word that you have, mean the same thing when they say it as you would mean, or use it in the way you used to see it being used.

They "could" mean it in just the way you object to, of course. But that is not necessarily implied.
0 Replies
 
argome321
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 01:54 pm
@layman,
Quote:
If I call a beautiful woman an "ugly bitch," does that in any way change what she is? Of course not. It just reveals my bitterness, misogyny, or whatever subjective motives I may have for saying it, and no more.


I guess in a perfect world, what ever that means, words should not have an effect on people. But they do. Hence, "The Pen is mightier than the sword.'

Words effect us emotionally for better or worse. 'Preach a better sermon...yada yada yadder a

Think about this, and perhaps you could answer a question for me?
Why do people seem more upset if you call them a liar then if you call them a murderer?

The Language of a culture is heavily based in the psychology of that culture.

The sports journalist I was referring to was Wilbon of Espn's Pardon the interruption. His best friend..is his TV partner.

The word nigger still divides people as racism is apt to do.

And people do use words to define and shape us.
Words of encouragement, words of disapproval etc. play upon our psyche.
layman
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 02:01 pm
@argome321,
Of course words can hurt, and they can be used with the INTENT to "hurt" someone. My only point is that neither the "pain" nor the "intent" is in the word itself.

Quote:
I guess in a perfect world, what ever that means, words should not do have an effect on people


But, you presuppose that the "effect" a word has is universal. Take a look at the video I posted and focus for a minute on the first (very short) interview. The black guy just laughs and says something like "I don't care." Should he care? Does he have a "duty" to vociferously object and "take offense?"

One thing I notice about the video is that all the interactions are amicable rather than hostile. Does it really help promote "justice" (or whatever abstract ideal one thinks he is pursuing) to assume (and almost require) that people take an adversarial position with respect to each other?
argome321
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 02:09 pm
@layman,
Quote:
But, you presuppose that the "effect" a word has is universal. Take a look at the video I posted and focus for a minute on the first (very short) interview. The black guy just laughs and says something like "I don't care." Should he care? Does he have a "duty" to vociferously object and "take offense?"


No, No I am not saying it is universal. That's why I added that the culture of language is based in the psychology of that culture

The Shakespeare quote is just to say crap is still craps no matter how you season it or dress it up. LOL
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 02:13 pm
I do not use it...and have suggested to others who use it as a slur that I think the usage sucks. But I have absolutely no trouble whatever with blacks using it to other blacks in a friendship way.

We each have our own way to express solidarity...and those who choose to express it that way have every right to do so.

Oh...Argome...you use that word "disingenuous" way too much. The dismissive way you use it is much more demeaning than casual use of the "n" word among brothers and sisters.
argome321
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 02:21 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
I do not use it...and have suggested to others who use it as a slur that I think the usage sucks. But I have absolutely no trouble whatever with blacks using it to other blacks in a friendship way.


I have nothing against the word itself per se. The problem for me is that
it has beocome a dividing mechanism between races. Meaning that racism still has a strong grip on our culture.

Quote:
We each have our own way to express solidarity...and those who choose to express it that way have every right to do so.


No disagreement here


Quote:
Oh...Argome...you use that word "disingenuous" way too much. The dismissive way you use it is much more demeaning than casual use of the "n" word among brothers and sisters.


I call'em as I see'em
layman
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 02:26 pm
@argome321,
Quote:
The Shakespeare quote is just to say crap is still craps no matter how you season it or dress it up. LOL


Sure, Arg, and we agree on that. But, likewise, nutritious food is still good for you, even if some people, who don't care for that particular food, call it "crap."
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 02:28 pm
@argome321,
Quote:
I have nothing against the word itself per se. The problem for me is that
it has beocome a dividing mechanism between races. Meaning that racism still has a strong grip on our culture.


I agree with you completely that racism still has a strong grip on our culture, Argome...but I cannot understand why you consider this particular thing to be a dividing mechanism between races.

It isn't as far as I am concerned...although maybe I am simply more tolerant than you.

layman
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 02:32 pm
@argome321,
Quote:
The problem for me is that it has beocome a dividing mechanism between races.


I agree with you, Arg, as do many other black people. Here is another video, which I have posted in other threads, which attempts to draw attention to the counter-productiveness of "dividing" people:

0 Replies
 
layman
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 02:43 pm
@argome321,
I am about to repeat a portion of a post I made earlier:

Quote:
Take a look at the video I posted and focus for a minute on the first (very short) interview. The black guy just laughs and says something like "I don't care." Should he care? Does he have a "duty" to vociferously object and "take offense?"

One thing I notice about the video is that all the interactions are amicable rather than hostile. Does it really help promote "justice" (or whatever abstract ideal one thinks he is pursuing) to assume (and almost require) that people take an adversarial position with respect to each other?


Arg, you reposted some of this yourself, but you did not address the questions asked, or comment on the observation made. Do you have an opinion on those questions, such as:

Should he care? Does he have a "duty" to vociferously object and "take offense?"
argome321
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 02:50 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
I agree with you completely that racism still has a strong grip on our culture, Argome...but I cannot understand why you consider this particular thing to be a dividing mechanism between races.

It isn't as far as I am concerned...although maybe I am simply more tolerant than you.


Frank, this is where the lines of communications fails.
It isn't a matter of tolerance. It is because I live it everyday.

I say this not in a way to insult you or anything like that, but the black experience still is very different then what you are use to.

It would be foolish for me to say that I speak for Black American as a whole. As it would be foolish for one person to speak for any entire group, But I feel safe when I say that most Black Americans that I know don't and never will trust white America.

argome321
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 02:53 pm
@layman,
Quote:
Arg, you reposted some of this yourself, but you did not address the questions asked, or comment on the observation made. Do you have an opinion on those questions, such as:

Should he care? Does he have a "duty" to vociferously object and "take offense?"


I need to re-read through the posting before I ca nmake some definitive answer.

Not a cop out I'm going to go through right now
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 03:00 pm
@argome321,
argome321 wrote:

Quote:
I agree with you completely that racism still has a strong grip on our culture, Argome...but I cannot understand why you consider this particular thing to be a dividing mechanism between races.

It isn't as far as I am concerned...although maybe I am simply more tolerant than you.


Frank, this is where the lines of communications fails.
It isn't a matter of tolerance. It is because I live it everyday.

I say this not in a way to insult you or anything like that, but the black experience still is very different then what you are use to.

It would be foolish for me to say that I speak for Black American as a whole. As it would be foolish for one person to speak for any entire group, But I feel safe when I say that most Black Americans that I know don't and never will trust white America.




Well...the lines of communications definitely failed here, Argome.

I have not said one word about whether or not Black Americans trusts white Americans...not even hinted in that direction. I have no idea at all about why this is coming into this discussion at this point.

I am asking you why you suppose a black person using the "n" word with another black person...is a "dividing mechanism" between the races.

I am glad we are having a more reasonable conversation here, but if you could address that specific, I would appreciate it.
argome321
 
  0  
Reply Thu 12 Mar, 2015 03:17 pm
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
Well...the lines of communications definitely failed here, Argome.

I have not said one word about whether or not Black Americans trusts white Americans...not even hinted in that direction. I have no idea at all about why this is coming into this discussion at this point.

I am asking you why you suppose a black person using the "n" word with another black person...is a "dividing mechanism" between the races.

I am glad we are having a more reasonable conversation here, but if you could address that specific, I would appreciate it.



NO and I am not saying you have said such a thing about Black America trusting White, But it is part and parcel of the reason as to why black people uses the n word with another black person.

It makes black people belong
0 Replies
 
 

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