I have a friend who always posts thought provoking questions on facebook. Recently he posted this:
Is it ok African Americans to use the N word in reference to African Americans?
I'm not going to get into the historical reasons for my opinion. We all know what the word meant and how many people fought against the use of it.
My knee-jerk response to my friend's question was:
The issue is bigger than the "N" word. Somehow, somewhere we lost our sense of history and respect for those that came before us. Somewhere along the line speaking proper English became "sounding white". "Stupid" became cool. Individualism overtook community.
At one time I used to say that there are those that have just lost all manner of self respect. I don't feel that way anymore. These words have assimilated into our culture. They are being used with no concept of the negative imagery they portray.
Maybe it's because I grew up in a different era, I'm a product of the sixties and seventies. Maybe I'm making more of this than necessary. I just cannot accept the use of these words by ANYONE. There are thousands of people who have stood on the battlefield for civil and human rights that I pay homage to. I'm where I am today because I'm standing on the shoulders of those that came before me. It is unconscionable for these words to have become part of the mainstream vernacular.
I am absolutely certain that the majority of the African American community does not condone or subscribe to the use of these words. Unfortunately some of the content portrayed in the media these days only serves to perpetuate a less than favorable image of African Americans. What makes it worse is that we're allowing it to happen.