Monday, July 16, 2018

N-word banned in NYC?


You can get on the J train to Manhattan on any given Wednesday afternoon during those dreaded school hours and hear the n-word used over 100 times. Those kids are not in any way necessary trying to start a fight or a riot of some sort, they are merely having a conversation. The n-word has been the center of many of headlines in the past year. Micheal Richards (Kramer of "Seinfeld") was the cause of a profane racial tirade at an L.A comedy club. Nicolas Minucci repeatedly used the word while he beat black male Glenn Moore in Howard Beach. He was convicted of a hate crime and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Moore lives but now has permanent damage to his hearing, vision and memory. The debate stands on whether or not blacks should use the word amongst themselves. Some say it all depends on the spelling of the word (a as opposed to er) and the context in which it is being used. It seems we promote freedom of speech but the moment that freedom liberates the "urban" community, those rights are trying to be revoked.

City councilman Leroy Comrie is requesting that all individuals stop using the n-word in respect to all those who suffered and endured so much to show that we were much more than what the white slave owners were calling us. Hip-hop pioneer Curtis Blows also decided to take a stand with Comrie stating " We need to stop looking at ourselves like we are niggas or niggers, so that we can elevate our minds to a better future. So I challenge the hip-hop community, I challenge you to abolish that word during the month of February - Black History Month - and beyond." Alot of emphasis is placed on the hip-hop community claiming that they promote the use of the word amongst the black community but if thats the case are we going to place a ban on bitch and hoes. Those words can be just as, if not more offensive towards women. They place a negative image on the young women who hear the word used and then see a young woman in a video dancing along to those same words. You may argue that its not the same thing but it is. Rappers like Mos Def feel that blacks are just taking " a word that has been historically used by whites to degrade and oppress us , a word that has so many negative connotations, and turning it into something beautiful.."

In reality, all non-colored people know that they should not use the word. Why would they want to? It makes no sense to embrace the n-word if you have never been in the position to understand the negativity of being called one. It also has alot to do with demographics and level of individual class. I mean when was the last time you heard Oprah refer to Gayle as her n-word...right. Now ask the same about Bronx born female rapper Remy Ma. She can not do an interview without using the word religiously. What it all comes down to though is being able to use that word if you want to. As long as everyone in the conversation is comfortable with the use of it , there is really not a problem. Even if the word was officially banned , how would that be enforced. Is there a fine? Are we gonna send everyone who uses the word to jail? Then there are those who will still embrace it at home. It is going to be impossible to completely take the word out of every ghetto in New York let alone America. I will personally continue to use the word in my everyday vocabulary because I grew in a society where all it means is that we are really good friends.

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Starbourne is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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