Monday, July 09, 2007

NAACP Symbolically Burys N Word


NAACP Symbolically Burys N Word - AP

Gestures are good. Saying hello, for instance, to people in an elevator is a nice thing to do. Slowing to allow cars to merge into traffic is another. But some gestures, like burying the N-word are silly, even at the hands of the once mighty NAACP. Not because the N-word is good, for it certainly is not. However, ‘nigger’, or any of its variations, is a vessel of ignorance, regardless of whose mouth it exits, and it is this ignorance that needs a real funeral – not one for show.

Burying the word in a ceremony is no different than putting departed Aunt Sadie’s favorite dress in the ground, while her body lays somewhere unattended and in open-air decay. The ignorance that has blacks and whites using the N-word so creatively, in all directions, sits fully nourished away from the spotlight of the cameras, microphones, and salivating ‘info-tainment’ hounds reporting on its faux demise.

I attended an open-air farmer’s market this past Sunday and in the midst of the organically grown fruits and veggies was the drone of an amateur gansta-rapper whose ignorance was ever-present, without a single utterance of the N-word, the H-word, or any other expletive begging for deletion. I was nonetheless annoyed and embarrassed by what he was saying, as well as how he was saying it.

When the young, thuggishly adorned, man finished his serenade, I was amazed that some people clapped their seeming approval and encouragement. I did consider that their reward may have been to secretly encourage the sweet silence following his finish. In a world where good is bad, and up is down, I would have desperately taken the long-odds that the clapping would tell this kid that he needed to get back to his real future - the books. But no such luck.

Fortunately, I had a back-up plan – an unceremonious exit to my car, organics in hand, where Fourplay was waiting on the CD to take me home.

James C. Collier

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15 comments:

Eddie G. Griffin said...

James, It behooves me never to criticize a positive move in the right direction, no matter how juvenile it seems. As I understand it, this was an action conceived by the Youth Division of the NAACP. When was the last time you saw young people take the initiative and leadership role in a socially conscious act? If nothing more, it raises public awareness to the point that whenever someone does use the n-word, it becomes a conscientious act in opposition to this social statement. Maybe you wish to continue using the n-word in private or in literature, but this action, at least, makes me think twice about its usage. Either you are for this action or against it. There is no middle ground to waver on. If you agree with the principal, that abandoning usage of the n-word is for the betterment of society, then how can you not be "acting white" by waffling on it. Be a man. Take a stand.

James C. Collier said...

EGG: "...then how can you not be "acting white" by waffling on it. Be a man. Take a stand." The idea that children thought up this show does make it more plausible, and if true, this should have been made clear. As for your admonitions, you are a bewildering fellow who presents as a bully of sorts, and not very persuasive.
/JC

Eddie G. Griffin said...

I hope not to bully or offend, but to provoke more forethought. I believe good leadership is tried by fire. Should I not be harsh in my criticism? Should I sugar-coat? Gee, I wish that I had had it easy coming up through the ranks of the revolution.

The fact that young people dreamed up this idea of burying the n-word does not make it plausible- I agree that the action is immature from my perspective. But then too I would not expect everybody to be seasoned freedom fighters, no more than I would expect you to be as me in experience. Not to belittle any of your work, I simply suggest letting the kids do their work the best they can, give them guidance, and (for us) concentrate our energies on the big battles- not pick on and criticize the kids.

CapCity said...

didn't realize this was a youth initiative ...now it leaves a less bitter taste in my mouth. i was feeling this was another way to take advantage of u$ by marketing our pain for the airlines, hotels, etc. to ca$h in...
hope the elders & official leaders of the NAACP help the youth understand we need more than ceremony...i'm doing what i can as an individual - can't speak for others...

Mammy said...

I like what Capcity said "i'm doing what i can as an individual - can't speak for others..." especially because it DOES start with each individual. More or less and it becomes mindless lemming-like snarkiness.

I am always curious about how others feel. Specifically, I am curious about how you and commenters on your blog feel about Carlos Mencia or movies like "Next Friday" (both finding humor in obvious stereotypical behaviors).

While I understand the initiative to 'bury' the 'n' word, I do feel there is a healing in humor, sort of poking the devil with his own pitchfork. Is that waffling or white of me?

Homeland Colors said...

James, i don't always agree with you, but you were dead on with this one. It was pointless, if it was a youth initiative, their energy should have been better directed by some of the elders. A good direction would have been into the issue of public schools in Detroit.

Eddie G. Griffin said...

Homeland colors, Most so-called "civil rights" actions are juvenile, looking at it from my vantage point. I've seen more battles and more sophisticated campaigns. I am an avid student of Gen. U.S. Grant, master strategist of the civil war. In the current campaign against the n-word, sure the kids were nothing more than cannon fodder, for taking the hit of criticism. Those of us who fight the rear-guard battle must watch their backs against being slander for their effort.

JustMeWriting said...

I agree totally..."However, ‘nigger’, or any of its variations, is a vessel of ignorance, regardless of whose mouth it exits, and it is this ignorance that needs a real funeral – not one for show."

It's nice that the young people thought it up, but the elders could have guided them in anothe direction...this has been blasted all over the place and NOW, I've even heard talk that Al Sharpten is considering doing a 20 city tour to kill the use of the word 'ho'. YES, this is what our so called 'leaders' are up to...they're fighting the good fight with foolishness.

plez... said...

can someone please tell me what they put in the pine box?!? *smile*

levity aside, my wife and i watched in disbelief as the "minstrel show" (i.e. n-word funeral procession) proceeded down a street in Detroit. such a waste of time... i doubt the sideshow prompted many to bury the word in their personal vocabulary, and i wonder how many it encouraged to begin or continue using it?

Homeland Colors said...

If I ever get beaten by the police i'll be glad Sharpton's around, but other than that, he's just good to get the media to show up. The civil rights era leaders just don't seem to understand that battle for civil rights is all but finished, but the battle for better education and to end poverty in African American communities is just heating up.

Byrdeye said...

"Nigger" is easy to fight because it's an "enemy" bullet (or at least used to be).

The harder, but far more damaging, problems to solve are the internal ones...

For example, 70% of all Black babies are now born to single moms. The lack of a household father has created a lot of this gang culture. Daddyless boys with no discipline looking for father figures in each other. The blind leading the blind. Now, while many might be tempted to blame this on White racism...the opposite is actually true.

Cuz this statistic has actually gone UP in leaps and bounds since the late 19th century! And most sharply right after the Civil Rights era!

1890: <20% single Black moms
1960s: 23% single Black moms (3.1% for Whites)
2000+: 70% single Black moms (vs 1/3 amongst all Americans)

Now, tell me when Sharpton decides to do a 20-city tour targeting THIS problem? Not that I'm sure it hasn't been addressed already...but obviously to NO AVAIL.

Brother Eddie G. Griffin said...

Well said Homeland colors. We recognized the end of the "civil rights movement - black revolution" in 1976. We still have a problem with "what constitutes education"... the drop-out rate says that we are just not "getting it" (in terms of education). But is education defined only by white academic standards, in our weakest areas... and why are these areas weak among our children... why do they become alienated so quickly? Ending poverty will not end "poverty mentality". You can take a person out of the ghetto, but taking the ghetto out of the person is MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.

I am tired of asking WHY? I have started asking WHY NOT?

J. Scott said...

Living within the impoverished black community in Baltimore for a few years opened my eyes in a lot of ways. I gained a greater understanding of what has created and perpetuates the trends of urban black poverty. But in my day to day dealings with black parents from that community, I've slowly seen my hope for that population start to fade. The magnetic power of street life and street culture combined with 'generational curses', absent fatherhood, and general disillusionment makes me quite skeptical that we will ever see an end or even a reversal of the trends that keep black communities such as Baltimore's impoverished. The best that we can really do is try to reach out to the enlightened children that are endowed with an understanding that they are surrounded by madness, and are in search of an alternative.

Eddie G. Griffin said...

Building a more perfect community is a love-hate thing. You got to love it, in order to even have a desire to improve it. But you got to hate it enough to change it. Someone like me, from Fort Worth, cannot tell Baltimore how to solve its problems. I'm too busy trying make Fort Worth the "model city" to emulate... which means solving problems here at home first, then exporting the solution abroad. By the grace of God, we have taken some baby steps forward.

Lucy said...

I'm glad there is even discourse about this. This blog is great. I hope you get a chance to publish the book, and that it flies off the shelves. I'll be stopping back often. I'm a standup comedienne in NYC talking about these issues. I speak "white" and I have a black skin, so it's astonishing to most audiences to hear what I have to say about race.

Thanks again for making such a stride with this blog/book--definitely a move in the right direction