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Should the “N” Word Be Banned? Part 2

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When I posted my original “N” word article here some two weeks ago, I didn’t anticipate that it would merit a sequel. As it was, the gist of the original premise seemed preposterous if taken literally. Of course, no one could “ban” a word here — this is America, and that kind of thing just isn’t done.

Indeed, though a few who perhaps didn’t read further than the title didn’t realize that the question was, in essence, a rhetorical one, the piece did generate hundreds of comments. Some of these, along with my replies, were longer than the original piece itself.

But most of what was discussed veered from the original question and onto other related concerns such as the state of bigotry — both black and white — in 21st century America. One of my “theories” was that some young African-Americans who bandy this word around so freely and publicly are akin to disenfranchised Muslim youth who both despise the country they live in but are perfectly free to criticize it. Unlike other Americans (with the exception of Native Americans, who of course used to call our country home), African-Americans were originally brought here against their will as slaves. Other Americans originally arrived as immigrants who came here eagerly and voluntarily in search of better opportunities for themselves and their children. As such, they tended to embrace the “American dream” with fervor, and many flourished and gave their children the best that their new country could offer in terms of education and opportunity.

American-born children of immigrants are generally very well assimilated from the get-go, and many, in fact, can’t wait to emerge from their parents’ “ghettos,” eschew the old ways, and embrace their status as full fledged Americans on a par with their peers.

However, there are some — and only some — young blacks who are, in essence, not fully “assimilated” and still reside, both physically and mentally, in a ghetto which they voluntarily embrace, at least to some extent. Those who eschew education as the purview of the “white man” and relish bandying about a word which has such horrible connotations for all Americans has resulted in a tragic, self-defeating cycle. Moreover, the fervently held belief of some African-Americans that there is no such thing as black racism and that they are still left wholly out of the socioeconomic loop is, in my opinion, a strictly 20th century concept. Elders who still pass this self-destructive, counterproductive belief system on to their children are, in essence, harming them grievously and compromising what could otherwise be a bright future, albeit a future with some struggles and challenges along the way.

We also discussed the extent to which well-meaning whites still harbor racism in their hearts, and the ways in which our culture still reinforces this. We discussed the extent of opportunities for all Americans, as well as some still existing roadblocks for African Americans. We also discussed the unique historical interactions between blacks and Jews, and the anti-Semitism, mutual resentment, and misunderstandings which still permeate some hearts and minds.

But what, then, of the original question — should this word, so rife with horrible connotations, be “allowed” to continue as part of our everyday lexicon? Some new developments in the past few days have convinced me that this sequel is worth pursuing, for now the question has indeed taken on a much more literal slant.

From Reuters on March 1, 2007:

New York City symbolically banned use of the word nigger on Wednesday, the latest step in a campaign that hopes to expunge the most vile of racial slurs from hip hop music and television.

The City Council unanimously declared a moratorium that carries no penalty but aims to stop youth from casually using the word, considered by most Americans to be the most offensive in the English language.

The New York City measure follows similar resolutions this month by the New York state assembly and state senate, and supporters of the ban are taking their campaign to The Recording Academy, asking it not to nominate musicians for Grammy awards if they use the word in their lyrics.

The article also notes that many young New Yorkers and rap artists use the word as a “term of endearment or as a substitute for black, angering some black leaders who consider those who use it as ignorant of the word's hate-filled history in slavery and segregation.”

The campaign against use of the “n” word has gained momentum since comedian Michael Richards of “Seinfeld” fame “spewed it in a racially charged tirade” at the Laugh Factory, a Los Angeles comedy club. Richards has since apologized, and the Laugh Factory has now banned comedians from using the word in their acts there.

Councilman Leroy Comrie, a sponsor of the moratorium, “also asked TV network Black Entertainment Television to stop using the word in its shows. Representatives of BET did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”

As for the Grammy issue, Ron Roecker, vice president of communication for the Recording Academy, stated: "They are not going to be supportive of something that excludes someone simply because they are using a word that is offensive."

Similarly, comedian Chris Rock, when asked about the City Council move in a Reuter’s interview, responded: "What, is there a fine? Am I going to get a ticket?" "Do judges say, '10 years, nigger!'"

Rock said politicians were trying to divert attention from real problems: ‘Enough real bad things happen in this city to worry about how I am going to use the word.’

Meanwhile, at historically black Stillman college in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a four day conference was held last week to discuss the racial slur.

Organizers said the goal of the event is to challenge the use of the n-word "through the use of intelligent dialog and a thorough examination of black history."

Andrew Hacker, a political science professor at Queens College and author of "Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal," said just getting rid of the word wouldn't stamp out racism.

"I really think that as far as white people are concerned, the word is almost on its way out," said Hacker, who is white. "That said, there are a lot of white people who still in the privacy of their own minds think the word even if they don't use it because they regard black people as genetically inferior and that word categorizes that."

Kovan Flowers, co-founder of AbolishTheNWord.com, said striking the word from use would help set an example for other races.

"We can't say anything to Hispanics, or whites or whoever unless we stop using it ourselves," he said. "It's the root of the mind-set that's affecting why people are low, from housing to jobs to education."

Rapper Tupac Shakur was credited with legitimizing the term "nigga" when he came out with the song "N.I.G.G.A.," which he said stood for "Never Ignorant Getting Goals Accomplished."

Stillman English professor Alisea McLeod said she doesn't buy it.

"It's hogwash. What this is really indicative of is a heart problem," she said. "What is coming out of mouths is what is coming out of souls. These are not words that are uplifting and I think (they) point to a bigger problem — a lack of self-love."

After reading of these new developments, I visited the aforementioned website, AbolishTheNWord.com. This excellent site has separate pages devoted to black history and the diabolical origins of the “n”word, as well as an entreaty to others to educate rather than argue. Among the items available via the website are flash cards with information on the word’s origins and intent to pass out to folks rather than confronting them when they bandy the word around in public.

But the most devastating feature of the site was the intro video, which made any mere words one could utter regarding the ugly legacy of this slur pale in comparison. Please check it out by clicking on the screen below to visit AbolishTheNWord.com.

So what, then, is the answer to the original question posed? To me, the answer seems clear — not to “censor” or “ban” the word, but to virtually abolish it by educating young people, one by one, about what the word actually symbolizes within the context of black history and the arduous 20th century struggle for civil rights — until it becomes as obsolete in current usage as, say, “talking picture,” “78 rpm,” or “photogravure.”

The “N” word, though it will always be with us, deserves in this brave new century to be relegated chiefly to the history books, rather than to trip freely off the tongues of young people who are unaware that those who sold, lynched, and tormented their ancestors in the century just past used it all too well — not as a term of endearment, but as a weapon with which to relegate another race to the status of subhuman pariah.

Rather than make it "illegal" to utter the word, why not just make it "improper?" In time, the "N" word may even all but vanish from our everyday lexicon and our collective unconscious like a long ago 20th century nightmare.

For to passively stand aside — as the "N" word continues to be uttered so ubiquitously in our cities, towns, and streets — would be, as the kids themselves might put it, strictly “old school.”

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About Elvira Black

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    NOTE re AbolishTheNWord.com website and intro video:

    To view the intro vido, either scroll down to the video screen when you click on this article. Otherwise, when the video finishes playing, click on the “view intro again” button on the bottom right of the screen. To view the site itself, go to the “enter site” button (this will not take you to the intro video, however.)

  • Captain Clambake

    “I didn’t anticipate that it would merit a sequel”

    It doesn’t.

  • http://parodieslost.typepad.com Mark Schannon

    You can stop writing sequels when your well-thought out and rational goals are reached. I have no idea why the clam thinks it’s unnecessary.

    I’ve been trying to think of other ethic/racial groups–and I can’t think of one that’s taken the worst slur against them and turned it into a favorite word.

    Jews don’t greet each other by saying, “Hey Kike, what’s new.” Italians don’t yell out, “Yo, Wop-boy, get over here.” Native-Americans don’t call each other “Indian Boy.”

    Among African Americans, it has to be a function of having been dragged here against their will — and holding on to that word has to have subconscious negative affects.

    Good job.

    In Jameson Veritas

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Oh, no, the horrible thought crimes! I love how this person Elvira quotes not only knows what white folks are thinking, but why. “there are a lot of white people who still in the privacy of their own minds think the word even if they don’t use it because they regard black people as genetically inferior and that word categorizes that.”

    Or, it could be that we think of the word because we hear it 100 times every damned day coming out of the mouths of black folks. Monkey see, monkey think.

    And if we’re not real carefully self-censoring, we’ll be saying it out loud singing along with our favorite Snoop record – hopefully not in front of black folk.

  • Doug Hunter

    After Nigger is banned will ‘the N-word’ be banned and replaced with an unpronouncable symbol which will then be used in graphiti and further banned and known as ‘the thing of which we do not speak’?

    Political correctness gone wrong. I’m glad I have a skin color where it’s not required that I I be hysterically afraid of a two syllable word.

  • moonraven

    Nothing makes anything more attractive than banning it.

    The whole judeo-christian tradition rests on the act of defying the prohibition.

  • STM

    Shanno wrote: “I’ve been trying to think of other ethic/racial groups–and I can’t think of one that’s taken the worst slur against them and turned it into a favourite word”.

    Aussies quite often greet each other using the word bastard, in some form or another: “You silly bastard”, “You old bastard”, ” … young bastard”, “pack of bastards” … etc, or a whole combination of them: “You silly pack of old bastards”.

    It most be the only place in the world where the term isn’t regarded as offensive. It is most confusing for other English speakers until they work out what is going on. I wonder if the soldiers guarding the convicts used the term regularly as a put down before their charges were flogged or hung? Probably …

  • STM

    “Hung” … Sorry kiddies, make that hanged … although some convicts, undoubtedly, were works of art. More Dali than Van Gogh, though, I suspect. Many looked like a Pollock, however, after they’d been given a damn good flogging.

  • Clavos

    @#8:

    Stan, you old bastard, you have a twisted mind, fair dinkum.

  • http://madcashier.blogspot.com/ Joe Harris

    A sequel. A four-day conference. Like I care. The silent majority seems to have condemned itself to kissing minority ass for the forseeable future. ALL races of the melting pot can kiss my white ass and call one another whatever slur they wish.

    Wanna talk like a moron and degrade your own race? Whatever. Wanna be a foolish racist? That’s your perogative.

    NIGGER!!! There, I wrote it in bold type, that’s how much I fail to give a juicy damn.

  • sr

    Elvira, may it please you if I describe your work as a masterpiece. Thank you and my best to your man. Forever in your corner. sr

  • Marcia L. Neil

    Everyone knows what a real “nigger” is — a white person who moves south and will do anything to stay there, and acts as a contact to stream in others. It’s a hair-curling role, often with bloodcurdling verbal opposition but sitting outside in the sun all day is worth the dissidence.

  • STM

    Clav wrote: “Stan, you old bastard, you have a twisted mind, fair dinkum.”

    Mate, you certain you’ve never graced us with your presence? You’ve got the lingo down pat in one hit there. You would dead-set love it here, for sure … the place is awash in warm saltwater, and boats. And life just tootles along nicely while you’re having fun.

  • JustOneMan

    More liberal bullshit….gee..if the government makes it illegal to say nigger all of our problems will be resolved..how fucking stupid!

    Next these guys will want to outlaw the word “faggot”. That will force John “Lil Faggot” Edwards to change his nickname!

    JOM

    PS Nigger!

  • Clavos

    STM #13:

    Much to my very deep disappointment, I never have, Stan.

    One of my long held dreams was to charter a sailboat in the Whitsunday Islands and cruise that very special area for a few weeks, but my wife’s disability has closed that door.

    Australia and its people have interested me ever since I had the honor of serving with some of your troops.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Nice job, Elvira…

    The proof of the pudding is the quality of the comments that condemn this article.

    ‘Nuf said.

    Have a good week…

  • The village idiot

    As long as we have the Jessie Jacksons and the Al Sharptons of the world feeding fuel to the fire of racism the so called N word(nigger) will continue. The liberal media always speaks of the black community as some type of alien entity. Americans are Americans. Can we all be on board the same ship. Serious troubles lie ahead for our nation and we better be of one mind if we are to survive. Our congress likes to lick their fingers to see which way the wind polls blow or just maybe these assholes vote by Eeny-meeny-miny-mo.

  • MAOZ

    (VI @#17 — pu-leaze don’t write about “lick[ing] their fingers” and “assholes” in the same sentence. Or at least put a comma in between somewhere. Otherwise, the mental image that pops into mind first as the eyes quickly scan is…. )

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    To my friends who commented here–and you know who you are–many thanks. Quite ironic that a guy who calls himself the “village idiot” is smarter than all of the real idiots who have commented here put together times infinity.

    Seeing the N word video moved me deeply–and though I still take issue with some of what Heloise and Zedd posted on Part 1–at least earlier on in the thread–I can see their point of view all the more clearly after viewing some of the comments here.

    As a white person, I like to fancy that racism is an older issue that we can overcome and transcend. But hatred of one group against another–whether of different races or the same–is probably as old as our species itself.

    The individuals who commented here so heartlessly obviously didn’t read or comprehend the point of the article at all. All I can say is I feel nothing but sadness and pity for them. They are undoubtedly ignorant, bitter souls who can only attack to make themselves feel superior. But you’re not fooling anyone–at least anyone with a heart and mind.

    Now stop stinking up my article and thread and get the hell outta here. Go play in your own shit somewhere else.

  • The village idiot

    Jackie Gleason called me tonight and told me to give Elvira this message. “BABY YOUR THE GREATEST”.

  • http://www.friendlymisanthropist.blogspot.com alessandro nicolo

    Al, she didn’t quote it herself. It was the political scientist she quoted. STM, George Costanza on Seinfeld started that, you bastard. :<) Black race issues is big business for guys like Sharpton and Jackson. Just another industry on its last legs. Like the coal industry.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Allesandro:

    Thanks, and PS–can’t seem to e-mail you–it keeps bouncing back!

  • http://www.friendlymisanthropist.blogspot.com alessandro nicolo

    Yeah, been having problems. It’s all fixed now. Give it a go.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Elvira,

    How did you ever get those bars of “Strange Fruit” to play in the background while folks read this article?

  • Zedd

    Mark sed “I’ve been trying to think of other ethic/racial groups–and I can’t think of one that’s taken the worst slur against them and turned it into a favorite word.”

    Mark think a little harder. EVERY group does that. What is implied is that African Americans are different from ALL other human groups. That further implies that they somehow deserve what has happened to them because THEY are not like ANYONE else.

    Its not the N word that will end racism. It will take all of us facing our history and understanding what it should have and has cost us.

    African Americans have expressed superior grace and have demonstrated amazing coping skills and resiliency under the circumstances of this great land of lies and child like pretence and denial (regarding this issue).

    From your comments it is clear that you only think of the of the African American dilemma only on the surface and shy away from a mature and necessary consideration of this bizarre matter. Ponder upon it. Your views will change.

  • sr

    Ruvy, I also wonder about the strange fruit sounds myself. I think it’s brussel sprouts singing to brocolie on the golden gate. Of course sprouts and brocolie are not in the fruit family. Heck if I know.

  • STM

    “George Costanza on Seinfeld started that, you bastard”

    Nice try alessandro, but Seinfeld wasn’t filmed at the turn of the 20th century :)

    Our smiling-assassin rugby coach in the early 70s would invariably greet us at the start of training with, “G’day, you useless bunch of bastards”. My son still plays, and says his coach is much the same. I reckon George pinched it from us.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    sr/aka the village idiot:
    You’re not too bad yourself, my friend!

    Sandro:
    At first I thought that Al was saying it was my quote, but he got it right. I’ll try the email again…

    Ruvy:
    It’s all thanks to our own Phillip Winn, who was able to get the video installed. I thought it would only play the music when you clicked on “play intro,” but the way it turned out the music (and the video intro) start as soon as you open the page. As I said, to replay the clip, just click “replay intro;'” to enter the site itself (well worth a look), click that. But I can’t think of a more apt song than that, and even though Billie Hoiday did her own version, this one is quite effective as well.

    Zedd:
    I can see Mark’s point as well as yours. I sometimes say “kike” in private even though I’m Jewish, but I don’t do so loudly and repeatedly in public, because first of all I know it is offensive and seconly I myself would look like an anti-semite! But obviously if you’re black, you can’t be mistaken for a white racist.

    I, for one, found the Chris Rock quote very funny and he had a point as well. It would not be cool if we tried to totally abolish this word in every context–especially vis a vis artistic license. You can mock something at the same time you use it–ethnic comedians of every stripe do this all the time.

    But I understand what you’re saying as well. But I don’t think it’s at all badly intentioned. Sometimes when whites try to say the “correct” thing it backfires depending on how others may take it.

    What you’re referring to, I think, is the kind of deep rooted racism or preconceptions buried deep within the cultural unconscious. That’s something that’s more automatic and colors one’s world view even without one realizing it. But it can indeed get to the point where one is afraid to speak at all, and in some senses I think that may not be totally productive. And yes, part of me feels like I may come off as holier than thou or condescending when I talk about how horrible racism is etc. But I think it’s better to use this as a starting point for discussion and further mutual understanding, despite any initial awkwardness it might entail.

    And finally, as I already stated, man’s inhumanity to man (or woman) is undoubtedly as old as we are. We are a territorial species, and even Indian tribes would recognize their enemy by the color of their warpaint and feathers (or what have you). In the civil war, the only thing differentiating the north from the south was the color of their uniforms. In Nazi Germany, all Jews were required to wear yellow stars that said “Jude” so even if they didn’t “look Jewish” they could be identified as such. In order to identify the enemy, we will deliberately invent some readily distinguishable difference even if it does not “naturally” exist.

    STM:
    I envy you the fact that you Aussies seem to have perfected a kind of “n word” prototype–from what I gather everyone is free to use myriad “insults” in an endearing way, thus rendering their “bite “innocuous. Maybe, as you imply, it’s partly because your ancestors were initially prisoners who were able to make a go of it in a new land. I don’t think we’re nearly that evolved as yet.

  • Zedd

    I think that individual AAs get to use whatever word they want to. Who are AA shaming themselves to? Who do the rest of Americans think they are that they should be impressed especially since they are the ones who are the criminals in the race issue.

    Let Blacks say whatever they want to say to themselves and about themselves and mind your own business. Jesse Jackson and crew come from a generation which cared about what Whites thought of us. This generation doesn’t because we’ve grown up with them and know that they don’t know any better than any one and don’t deserve any deference and have nothing for us to impress.

    The REAL solution:

    – Why don’t we start a campaign to stop Whites from thinking that they are the standard for EVERYTHING.

    – Why don’t we teach Whites what Blacks have contributed to this country so that they can stop feeling so GREAT about themselves.

    – Why don’t we start talking about what RACISM really is to SHUT all of the smug Whites up who think they KNOW.

    – Why don’t we highlight just how ignorant the majority of the American populous is about EVERYTHING so that we can end White supremacy once and for all!

    That is the real problem!! It’s not Blacks making fun of a word that was/is used against them. ITS JUST A WORD. The problem is our sick society.

    All of the excessive gushing over this piece is because of a sort of self congratulation and a diversion from the real issue of RACISM.

    I think it is funny (not really) that we can talk about race when the topic is how bad Blacks are for using a bad word against themselves. Not why it is there in the first place and what else still exists that is harmful to these people.

    HYPOCRITS!!!

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Zedd:

    Thanks for the comment…you seem a little, um, tense today (lol).

    All I can say is that this “N” word campaign was spearheaded primarily by African Americans. Whites et al may “care” to some extent, but not enough for it to be a gigantic issue for them since they don’t generally use the word, at least not publicly.

  • Zedd

    I’ve heard lots of Whites commenting on its use by Blacks whenever someone who is not Black is chided for using it. YES Whites do care about Blacks “getting” to use the word and are quite vocal about it.

    However, my comment was about Blacks and that they should use it whenever and however they choose. THEY are not the problem here. I also made mention of the fact that the older civil rights activists made as part of their goal, impressing Whites. I say, that is not the goal at all. Blacks can’t do all of the work. The problem with racism against Blacks is WHITES and their attitudes.

  • sr

    Zedd says the promblem with racism against blacks is whites and their attitudes. Dam right Zedd not so sharp sharpten/jackson. Fuel the fire fool. Blacks can’t do all the work. Why? Do you believe their inferior? You say older civil rights activists made as part of their goal, impressing whites. Are you for frecking real dude. Ya they impressed them white folks as they got lynched, water hosed, attacked by police dogs, shot, beaten and God knows what. Did Martin Luther King Jr. set out to impress? I guess he gave is life just to impress people. Just blame it on the Jews. Everyone else dumps on them.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    sr:

    Bless you for pointing out the obvious–it needs to be said and I have said so ad nauseum to Zedd et al in Part 1.

    Zedd blows hot and cold, and wants it both ways. If whites are concerned, they are “condescending,” and if they’re not, they’re the enemy (actually they are either way). So what are us white folks left to do?

    Zedd, let’s put it this way:
    If I, as a Jew, want to overcome antisemitism, I’d probably do well not to be a walking representative of the very worst stereotypes of the “kike.” Sure, I could choose to be cheap, exploitative for greed’s sake, and so on, but though these flaws know no color, if I do so I am not only showing my attackers to be “right,” but betraying my own people’s beauty and sullying their dignity to boot.

    So yes, no one can “tell” anyone what to say. That’s not the point. It’s not whites who say this term in public, and it’s not our problem–it’s a problem in your own community. I noted that I thought Chris Rock’s comment was a brilliant rejoinder (humor is perhaps the deadliest weapon of all) .

    But BLACK folks have started this campaign, not whites. The reason? Because they don’t want to be seen as “niggers” by the world at large any more–they’ve fought too long and hard, alongside other whites, and yes, Jews, to stand by and witness all that hard work and struggle go back down the drain.

    Your motives are your own–just to be angry and resentful and blame whites for everything, perhaps. But I will try to resist being sucked into your two-faced psychodrama yet again if I possibly can.

    As they say, if you’re not part of the solution, dear Zedd, you are part of the problem. And when you deliberately add fuel to the fire, and attack fellow AA’s for trying to approach a problematic issue, you hurt no one but the poople you purport to care for so much.

    PS–If you insist on hurling insults at whole groups, it might help if you spelled “hypocrites’ correctly. Just food for thought…

  • Clavos

    Populace, too…

  • Zedd

    sr

    You post makes no sense. I would love to reply but I don’t know what you are saying. Perhaps your emotions got in the way.

    Why are you so emotional about this topic?

  • Zedd

    The entire point is that racism against AAs (the group that is being discussed on this thread) is not from the N word. The N word is not the problem and we all know it. Making that point is not insulting anyone.

    Lets get to the real problem.

    THAT is the point…. whether it feels good to you or not. What Whites have done to Blacks in this country is the problem. Why would anyone be insulted by me saying that is just odd. Perhaps denial?

    You see, we are accustomed to Blacks begging and marching, chastising one another and saying from afar what hurts them. We are not however used to being told directly what the issue is. Its simple really. Don’t you think?

    sr:I still don’t know why you got all hot and bothered.

    Elvira: I don’t understand you so I wont be responding directly to you. Its not because I am a rude person but because I KNOW that you will turn everything I say upside down and see attacks where there are none. That will only exasperate and annoy me AND cause everyone else to think that women are too emotional to hold a reasonable dialogue. I will however participate by commenting to points on this thread.

    BTW (one sister to another) don’t concern yourself about spelling errors on blogs. Its out dated. Everyone makes them. You too. I’ve been on line for almost 20yrs and that silly tit for tat about spelling wore out when people were still posting on boards. Its just going to happen. You see, venues such as these are conversational. No one is writing an essay or completing their dissertation. Those that are over cautious and constrained actually reveal a desperation for acknowledgement or respect by STRANGERS. Also the spelling thing could be a matter of spellcheck or no spellcheck. It is no indication of intellect. However, critical thinking is. Try it. I realise that its horrible for a woman to express confidence in anything but I am rather confident in my reasoning abilities. When you make a fuss of such things you display your defeated or intimidated state. So…. I intimidate ya huh?? It’s okay. Now PLEASE don’t start stalking me like the other two times.

    Lastly, try to stop yourself from talking about people’s intent or desires. You are bound to be wrong. You have been wrong with me EVERY time. When you say Zedd wants… Skreeetch…stop. Or Zedd thinks ….. Stop!! You are most likely wrong. Ask.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Zedd:

    Yawn…oh, I’m sorry, now what were you saying?

    I’m interested in many things, but above all, perhaps, I am an avid “student” of the human condition. Nowadays, I’ve been asking myself, what makes people say and do blatantly irrational, even self-defeating and seemingly contradictory things?

    In some cases, they are in complete denial, and will posts things on a thread such as this, seemingly unaware of what they are saying to the world at large. I don’t have to say a thing, really–you have said it all with your utterly absurd comments, here and elsewhere.

    Thouugh no one can crawl inside another’s head and really know what motivates them, it is also true that many times, we ourselves are the last to really know why we continue to spaek and act and think as we do. So here’s my two takes on your comments and outlook as evidenced by your comment “style”:

    A: You are bitter and angry, with some justification, over what has been done to African Americans (though in the interests of full disclosure, it should be pointed out that you were born in South Africa, not here, and thus you, like I, are speaking “on behalf” of a group you do not technically belong to.

    No one, save for the bigots who have peppered this thread, would deny the horrors that have happened to AA’s in this country. But they are far, far from the only ones in this country, or in this world, who have suffered at the hands of their own race and/or others. Thus my point about uniforms and other artificial modes of distinguishing “us” from “them.”

    Since this is such a universally evident phenom, it seems likely that as a species we are hard wired to distrust the “other.” If an Indian tribe settled in a given territory spots someone from another tribe coming over the horizon, how will they know if he is friend or foe? In the interests of self-preservation, they will be wary and suspicious and fearful, and may attack before they themselves are attacked in turn.

    Those who invade or exploit others–black, white, brown, Jewish, or otherwise–are following the darker aspect of the human urge for territoriality. Just as two animals may fight for control of their turf or for their right to breed with a potential mate–sometimes even til death–so humans from time immemorial, have invaded and conquered others when they had the technological means to do so. Thus we have the British and Roman Empiires, the Spanish Inquisition, World Wars I and II, and yes, the “exploration” of our land by Christopher Columbus and the subsequent invasion of native American’s homeland, and the subsequent destruction of their indigenous culture.

    This is hardly unique to America. Look at what is happening in Darfur, for example, as we speak if you want to discuss crimes against humanity in general, and women and children in particular. People of the same skin color slaugheriing, torturing, raping, and controlling others of their race with almost unrivalled cruelty.

    So yes, what happened to African Americans goes against the very constitution we ourselves fought for. But the same happens everywhere there are homo sapiens on this earth–and has since before we were even a full fledged species.

    As a Jew, I cannot speak to what it is like to have black skin in a racist society, but I can speak to what it is to be a jew in a world–not just a country–where antisemitism is a perpetual spectre, especially when groups or leaders decide they must find someone to blame for things. In Nazi Germany, the Jews, who contributed so much to their homeland, were little by little done away with. First the intellectuals and the great thinkers, Jew and non Jew; the homosexuals, the handicapped, and so on. If there had been blacks there in any numbers, doubtless they would have been purged as well. But Jews were the niggers of Nazi Germany at the time, and they were not only killed in small groups or individually as blacks were here, but exterminated wholesale in a deliberate attempt to eradicate them from the face of the earth.

    So what could it be, I wonder, that makes you insist that you are so “unique,” and that despite some real progress, that racism is still just as alive and well as it ever was before the civil rights movement helped pave the way for the beginning of an end to the worst examples of racism here?

    What would possess you to tell others they are getting too emotional, when you yourself are doing the same thing?

    What would cause you to further take on the mantle of champion of women’s rights with the same twisted, self defeating MO as you do with the race issue, by excusing your ignorance and lack of spelling skills (or lack of care in proofing your own posts) by saying that I’m being too hung up on trivialities?

    I am a writer, Zedd, but I am no snob. My father couldn’t spell worth a damn, but he was one of the smartest men I’ve ever known. My own boyfriend can’t spell either, but when he writes a letter or a card he is not above asking me for the correct spelling of a word so he will not look foolish in print.

    So yes, even the greatest authors doubtless made typos, but the point is that we share a common language, and each word has a proper spelling attached to it, unless we are making a deliberate point in altering that spelling.

    Thus, when you call others (a whole race, actually) hypocrites, and try (I suppose) to indicate how superior and intelligent you yourself are, when you mangle the word you are using to label said group so badly, you are only serving to make yourself look like a fool in the process.

    That is why we have the preview button–because everyone, myself and everyone else here, make typos. But a simple proofreading of a post or comment can help prevent embarssment, as well as miscommunication. This is a limited medium–I cannot see your face, or even know for certain that you are a black woman, rather than a white man posing as a black woman in order to make blacks and women look ignorant and foolish. Whether you admit it or not, you are making “sisters” of every race look bad, and helping to promote the very stereotypes you claim to abhor.

    You refuse to address the bald truth–this is now chiefly a black on black issue, and blacks are the ones, for the most part, who have brought this issue to light. The fact that I, as a white and a Jew, chose to write about it even though I’m not black does not mean I’ve gone beyond my “place.” I may not know what it’s like to be black, but I know what it’s like to be part of a sometimes despised minority group. And as John Lennon says, woman may indeed be the nigger of the world, but I for one don’t intend to give any sexist additional fuel for the fire. There is still racism and sexism in the fabric of our society and the world, but the way to root it out is not to play the victim and pretend we are back in the pre-civil rights and pre-women’s sufferage eras. We have, indeed, come a long way, baby (as the commercial from the 60s/70s said). To get all the way there–and perhaps even to see the first woman president or African American take office–does not involve going backwards and pretending we are still in the era of Jim Crow and The Feminine Mystique. Much wiser to stop licking our wounds and get on with it, be part of the solution, and prove the racists and sexists who still are amongst us wrong by deed rather than mere words. Talk, as they say, is cheap, and actions, of course, speak louder than words–including the words exchanged on a comment thread on BC, or even bandying about or debating the use or non use of the “N” word itself.

    So I must conclude that you are perhaps truly unaware of what you are doing, and that you are defeating your “intended” purpose. This is understandable–it is part of human nature to blame others and to be in denial about what we ourselves do to contribute to a problem with self-defeating behavior. This is probably a much more important factor in why blacks and women do not have complete equality in this country. The laws are in place, but it is up to us to take advantage of those laws, try to institute others if need be, and work actively to solve the problems we see that may still hold us back.

    But in the end, it is always easier to point the finger and blame society, the whites, the Jews, or what have you. Much easier indeed than looking within oneself to see what one is doing to exacerbate the very problem one is supposedly trying to overcome. It’s a very common problem in us humans. When taken to extremes, this scapegoating can produce the most egregious racism and oppression–as when the Nazis turned to the Jews and declared them the cause of their country’s economic and political problems.

    OK, so perhaps you are in denail. Theory B is this:

    You know full well what you are doing, and are cynical about it. You want to get back at whites in this small, petty way, rather than take up the gauntlet and do something positive, as the folks who started this “N” word campaign are trying to do. And no, we are not talking censorship, but an educational campaign to point out to youth that using this word not only negates the struggles of their parents and grandparents, but helps perpetuate the very racism they are battling. As they say, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

    Perhaps you are all too happy and even secretly gleeful at the prospect of seeing young people held back due to their own ignorance. Perhaps you cherish in your own secret heart, at all costs, the spectacle of young people and elders like you who encourage it continuing to perpetuate a tragic self-fulfilling prophesy. Playing the victim, esp in America, does have its rewards–you get to have your cake and eat it too. You can be racist and accuse all whites of being so. You can encourage youth to say the n word when it only hurts themselves in the “interests” of black liberation and self-expression. You can get your rocks off by coming on threads such as this and trolling around, playing mind games.

    If only you were consistent, though. When you see you are getting nowhere and making a fool of yourself, you turn around and try to reconcile. It is transparent, self-serving bullshit, and you fool no one–except, perhaps, yourself. Because no sooner than part 2 comes out than you are back to squre one again.

    As far as women’s rights–I would rather prove by deed as well as word that I am the equal of any man, rather than crying about oppression and looking for special dispensations at this juncture. If there are still inroads to be made, and there are, it is only by positive action that things will change–not by passively waiting on the sidelines and pouting like a spoiled little girl about how I have been demeaned and exploited in the past. If Margaret Thatcher, Indira Ghandi, Hillary Clinton, Condoleeza Rice, and many other women who have risen to the highest levels of government and every other field had taken your path, things might still be as you seem to wish them to be.

    It’s clear to me, that whether unconsciously or deliberately, you like the fact that racism still exists, and in fact seem to want to do your level best to make sure it is here to stay. This way, you can do a job halfheartedly and cry racism or sexism if someone calls you on it. This way, you can blame the white man for every problem you have instead of addressing what you yourself can do to try to change it. This way, you can attack the whites you so obviously hate by saying there is no such thing as black racism and that you and only you are allowed to tell others how to think or speak, and that every attempt by a black person or white to move onward and upward, no matter how well intentioned, is a sham.

    You, my dear Zedd, are the sham here. You are part of the problem rather than the solution. You are part of the reason racism still exists by blacks as well as whites. By the attitudes you express, you are the one harming the next generation of black children and preventing them from succeeding rather than languishing in a ghetto you seem determined to preserve even if it means they are sacrificed so you can maintain your self-righeous victimhood.

    One thing I do know–either way, any further “dialogue” with you is pointless. Unlike you, I have other articles to write and this is a waste of time for you as well as I. So though you are certainly free to continue to make a fool of yourself over and over here, why not click on another article and spew your venom there? I’m sure you’ll find plenty to keep you busy for a long time to come.There’s lots of other writers and fellow commenters to torment, accuse, attack, and tell how to think and what to write. BC has thousands of articles–why not start fresh on another one? Or perhaps better still, why not try another website or forum, if you don’t already, and spread the “wealth” around to as many white “racists” as you can? Whether you realize it or not, you are only fueling the fire of the racist commenters here, and attacking those who believe in civil rights and women’s rights and do more than just sit back and complain about it.

    What a sad waste, for someone who sounds like they are, when all is said and done, an intelligent woman. Pity you do all in your power to undermine that fact with your malicious, hypocritical rantings here. But I, for one, have no more time for these mind games of yours Zedd. So rant on if you must, but I for one am done with the likes of you.

  • Zedd

    Elvira

    The topic is about AAs that is why I am speaking about AAs. Basically you have spent 2/3 of your post asking me why I am focusing on them. Please excuse my tendency to want to bring reason into the conversation. I am focusing on AAs because they are the topic.

    Again, as for the spelling thing, let it go. It was silly. You knew what I was saying but you chose to attempt to be smart but it fell flat. Just move on and don’t do it again with someone else. Its silly and makes you look petty and defeated.

    You are bitter and angry

    You didn’t stop yourself.

    I don’t know if you read my post a few weeks back. Its a running joke that Whites always say that Blacks are angry. Why would I be angry. I was born into racism. It would be weird to be angry about something that is, well NORMAL. I have moments of feeling annoyed, some of laughing at the nuttiness of it, others of being angry at the results of it. But for the most part, I am just living my life.

    I am just stating the obvious. Just because you are not aware of it like I am, it doesn’t mean that it stops existing when you turn away from it.

    It sounds like you are saying IF you had to live as a Black person YOU would be angry. Nope I am not angry. I am a happy person. Like I said to Nancy, while I come across as serious and enjoy intellectual engagement and look prim and proper, I am in inner chuckle mode most of the time. Stop imagining Blacks as angry. Its sort of one of those goofy White things that we talk about….. now you know.

    Unlike you, I have other articles to write and this is a waste of time for you as well as I

    You didn’t stop yourself again did you. Don’t over extrapolate. Its crazy. You don’t know anything about me or anyone on these threads. Pull yourself together.

    I still dont understand why its problematic for me to say the problem with racism against AAs is that Whites are racist against them not that AAs use the N word. I am missing your objection. I would evaluate just how committed I am to ending racism if I were you. You seem to be fine with tisk tisking Blacks for using the N word but when I say Whites need to stop being racist, you object and accuse of all sorts of unrelated things. Check yourself.

    Since you cant see my facial expression I should state that I have a slight smile on my face and feel

  • sr

    Zedd, just a question for you. Being of the negro race do you believe the Jews have treated you favorable and fairly? I sincerely want to know Zedd. It’s a simple yes or no answer. What say you. This comment is not ment to be nagative. This just may be my last comment on BC.

  • http://www.losthearandbeyond.blogspot.com walker

    I didn’t notice the link on the bottom of your blog post to here until now.
    The word nigger is not racist, people are and racism is not skin deep, a true racist is racist all the way to the core of his soul.
    Words don’t make people racist their actions do.
    If you ban the word they will find another one to replace it, they could use jungle bunny it’s just as bad, but you could get that banned to along with the rest of the dictionary but it still won’t do any good.

    You can’t change how people think by banning words unless then want to change and it’s not only that word.
    If you are going to ban that word, I think it’s only fair and ban other words such as greaser, chink, cracker, WOP, Paki, gook and the list goes on.
    By the time we ban all these words and the ones people will come up with after which could be used in racial slurs we will all be using sign language to talk and express ourselves and the most popular sign would be us jerking off because that’s what we spend most of our time doing instead of trying to make things better.
    Sharpton, Jackson and other activists are just keeping themselves in the limelight because they can’t afford to be forgotten and loose the millions they receive yearly from supporters.

    As for the N word (nigger) bringing us back to slavery, that’s bull because the T word (Taxes) has enslaved all of us already.
    Let’s ban Taxes instead and set us FREEEEEEEEEE.

    As I said on your blog post: Assuming the “N” word is “Nigger” and all its derivatives, then putting aside the first amendment making it possible to make it illegal to say the word, would be racist in itself and viewed as a way to suppress Black Americans.
    At least that’s the way I see it.
    Watching TV and the news I have noticed the “N” word is mostly used by Black Americans.
    Look at the stand up comics from Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy to Chris Rock and many other new black comedians rising through the ranks, they use the “N” word in their acts.
    I have seen it here in the bars when one calls the other My Nigger or something to that effect.
    So if a law like that were to be passed, a lot of colored people would be taken away to jail first.

    Next, White people for the most part are terrified they may say the “N” word or any other statement fearing they may insult someone of race and in many cases rather not associating with them.
    The whole thing is crazy with all the political correctness flying around.
    That in its self is racist, not associating with people of race because you may accidentally insult them.
    In fact I have to wonder if calling one a nigger wouldn’t be better than ignoring them in at least their existence would be acknowledged.
    Just think if we were all born blind we would never know about color and the world might be a better place but then again we would probably separate people by scent, a new form of racism.

    It’s time we all stopped the bullshit and learned to get alone instead of fueling racism with ideas such as the one proposed which is meant to separate people and keep such racism in the light to create tension to bolster support for activists.