Ahhh… this word has taken on multiple meanings over the years, and has been used by a myriad of people from all walks of life and races. From comedians, to young brothas standing on the corner yelling across the street to the next young brotha. Yet for all the justifications I hear from folks who choose to use it, I have yet to find that any of them truly make me feel good in my spirit when I hear it.
It’s an ugly word. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It was conceived in hate and I’m sorry but no amount of trying to “reclaim it” can negate nor obliterate that fact. I am tired of hearing folks act like it’s a part of Black culture. IT IS NOT!! And adding an “a” to the end of it does not make it so people!
There comes a time when you gotta say enough is enough. And trust me, at 42 I get it. I’m not new to the concept and understanding of the reason why folks use this word. Or why people are confused and think anybody should be able to say it because, let’s face it, folks of all races have been given the “pass” by some Black folks. And it is quite apparent that as unflattering as it looks to me to hear it being spoken aloud by a Black man or woman or young brotha or sista, there are some people who believe it makes them appear cool. Hence why we see so many young men of different races revel in calling each other it…
Now, as much as I detest it, I feel strongly that the use of it should remain solely with those of African ancestry. And if anyone chooses to allow the word to fall from their lips, it should be behind closed doors where no one except them and whomever they happen to be talking to can hear it.
For as Joe Morton put it in his poem “The N-Word as Sculpture”, “I would stain the word with blood-the blood shed by the freedom fighters everywhere- and bury the entire construct in “barren ground”, so one could stand over it and read it… and to illustrate…that wherever this word is planted, nothing grows.”