The unique thing about this is her tears came during a heated discussion about use of the word Nigger, Nigga or however you want to spell it. One of the hot topics was of course the video of The WRONG Rev. Jesse Jackson using the word at the same time he mentioned his desire of neutering the presumptive Democratic nominee for president.
Since there are now two black women on the show, of course the entire panel was looking to them to "explain" why it is OK for black people to use it but not white people. This probably the dumbest segment of hot topics I've ever watched.
Take a look:
Of course, anytime the word nigger/nigga comes up in conversation amongst a crowd of racially mixed people it's going to get heated. I didn't expect Hasselbeck to cry and I didn't expect the ignorance that flew from Sherri Shepherd's mouth on the subject. I have heard the argument that Whoopi Goldberg has about the word having as much power as you give it. I've listened to my brothers and my cousins and in some cases some of my best friends who defend themselves by saying "it means ignorant" and they grew up using it.
I got news for some of you guys who think the word nigga means ignorant. That's not what it means. Take a few minutes and look the word up in the dictionary, it'll piss you off.
The Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines the word as:
nigger:1. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a. a black person.
b. a member of any dark-skinned people.
2. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive. a person of any race or origin regarded as contemptible, inferior, ignorant, etc.
3. a victim of prejudice similar to that suffered by blacks; a person who is economically, politically, or socially disenfranchised.
In the description, Dictionary.com states that nigger is probably the most offensive word in the English language. I'm going to have to agree with that. How is that word endearing?
I think it is agreed that words do have power. I think that we as bloggers have no choice but to agree because why else would we further exhaust ourselves after a full day's work, some of us write for a living, just for the sake of putting words together.
Since we know words have power, we should assume that their definitions and origins should as well. I've already addressed this in a much early post but since this keeps coming up, it may warrant redundancy.
The word nigger is derived from the Latin word nigre which means black. Some where around the 1700s, some southern slave owner got a hold of the word and butchered it and it derived into the racial slur that it is.
I don't, won't and will not ever use the term "the n-word" because I think it takes away the power and seriousness of the word. It should never be shortened or otherwise disregarded because it does carry a lot of weight.
The first time I ever remember hearing the word in a song was in Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman." After that, rappers picked it up and you started hearing it in all their songs. Rappers began describing themselves, their friends and their enemies as niggas.
Personally, I think the gratuitous use of the word is a testament to the hate that so many black folks have for themselves. Whether it is sub-conscious, subliminal or blatant, a lot of us do hate ourselves and how could we not? It's what we've been taught and fed throughout history. It's in everything that we do.
Going back to slavery, our ancestors were not viewed as people, they were viewed as livestock and treated as such. They were beaten and degraded and they passed that along to their children who in turn passed it on to their children.
We have come a very long way and I am thankful, but there are some things that we have yet to let go of and this word is one of those things. It saddens me that we continue to degrade ourselves and piss on the memories of our great ancestors with not only this word but some of the downright ignorance that we subject ourselves to on a regular basis.
I don't want to get up on my soapbox but I think it is high time we kill the word. Hell, the NAACP had a funeral for it, buried it and everything and it has risen again. How in the hell do we expect the rest of America to stop treating us like niggers when we insist on identifying ourselves as such and acting that way?
Because of this, I can see why some white folks in America would be confuzzled as to why they can't use it. Hell, I wonder the same thing. I get offended when anybody, and I mean anybody calls me a nigger. If you call me a nigger/nigga, be prepared to fight me.
I won't lie, I've used it before. People in my family, my parents included, use the word - often. But I'll tell you what, if I call somebody a nigger/nigga, I mean to offend them. Shoot, every time I hear somebody use it, I take it as a teaching moment and tell them why I don't want to hear it. Now, they get tired of me bringing it up and now I rarely hear it when I'm around. We've got to police ourselves.
It's going to take some of us "educated and enlightened" folks to keep saying until it gets on their nerves to the point where they will stop saying it. Better yet, let's try to get us all some help to deal with why it is we hate ourselves so much that we have to to degrade ourselves every chance we get. Then, let's stop using it. Let's start one person at a time and we won't have to have dumb ass conversations like that one.