Nigger Who Has Permission

Yesterday on the view the ladies decided to discuss the word nigger.  Though I am huge fan of Whoopie, she completely lost me when she decided to defend the continued use of the word nigger by blacks.  This word reclamation project has got to stop. It is not appropriate for us to use it, and then say to whites that they cannot.  I am particularly bothered by the assertion that this word can be used as a term of endearment. A term of endearment is honey, sweetie, or baby, not a word that signifies that a group of people are not human, or somehow less than based on the colour of skin. If the genesis of a word is hate regardless of who or circumstance the meaning will not change.

The continual usage of the word by blacks keeps it alive.  Each time it is used, it is a reminder of the terrible inequalities that exist in this society. It is assaultive speech.period..When I hear a black person saying nigger, I hurt for them because to me it is an indication that they have internalized racism to some degree.  They have actively chosen to employ the master tools, and as we are all aware, this is not the path to freedom and equality.  To take ownership of that word is to admit to some degree the possibility exists that we are all potential niggers. 

I find it disheartening that it was Elizabeth who had the courage to say that the continual usage of this word is wrong.  She showed great courage in confronting Whoopie and Star on their hypocritical approach to this issue.  How is it that a white woman is the one to have to tell blacks about the perils of racism, when everyday we are forced to confront it?  What does it say about our level of racial comfort?  We have a high drop out rate, many of live in poverty and black children have internalized blackness as, and less than, yet we insist on owning labels that reinforce  this as a positive.  If we as a people are going to demand respect from others, we need to practice it ourselves.  We need to start to associate blackness with positive metaphors.  Blackness needs to mean good, beautiful and strong. When we hold on to labels from the past we are only breathing life into an ugly, self-defeating trajectory.

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