For the love of humanity, why can’t we let this racist idiom die?
During a recent podcast, President Obama used the N-word, to disclose the state of race relations in America today. “Racism— we are not cured of it,” said Obama gallantly. “And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say ‘n—-r’ in public.”
Generally, when commenting on this slur, the white to black factor, is the major focus. But, in hearing the commander in chief, utter a racist comment, that has been directed at both he and the First Lady on numerous Internet posts. This is yet another wake-up call, for African-Americans, who use the word among themselves, with no concept of the damage it generates.
When dealing with highly controversial issues, we often allow our feelings to overshadow our powers of reason. Thus, the use of the N-word, has resulted in a three-ring circus, regarding which races are prohibited from saying it, and which groups can utilize this appalling slur, without fear of reprisal.
“For decades, blacks have contemplate the age old question, of why it is acceptable for African-Americans to call each other the N-word, but unacceptable for Caucasians to call, or even think of calling us that derogative term, detested by blacks of all ages and socioeconomic status,” says K.M Thierson, a public relations expert, who consults corporations on such issues as racial profiling and affirmative action.
Thierson, a long time voting rights activist, points out, “Blacks contend that the reason it is perfectly harmless for them to call each other the N-word, is because it is said in a good-natured mode, as opposed to the sadistic tone conveyed by non-blacks.” And while blacks maintain that calling each other the N-word is entirely natural, there are millions who disagree. They maintain people of color, should have enough love and respect for each other, to stay as far away from the word as possible. Unfortunately, that advice, doesn’t apply to some segments of the black population.
A glaring example of this debate took place in 2011, when a poll conducted by the now defunct Galvanic Institute of Sociology, interviewed 400 adults aged 20 – 80, to determine their thoughts regarding the N- word. When asked if they would be offended if they were called a ni..er by another African-American, 86 percent of the respondents said no, with 14 percent saying they would be offended. However, when asked if they would be offended if a White person did the same thing, a whopping 98 percent said they would respond negatively. Surprisingly, 2 percent said that being called a ni..er by whites, had no effect on their self-confidence.
The poll further noted that college educated blacks found the term less offensive, than blacks with 10 years or less of education. Experts contend, the former represents those African-Americans who view themselves as color- blind, and are oblivious, when it comes to racism. Theoretically, they fall under the same category as others who adhere to this bogus concept, like Chief Justice Clarence Thomas, and Michael Steele, former Republican National Committee Chairman.
It’s ironic, isn’t it? We laugh when calling each other the N-word, but clinch our teeth and bring out the fangs, when called that by Caucasians. Is there really a difference? Or do we feel less vulnerable, when we are put down by each other, instead of those other folks?