Monday, February 11th 2019
Astonishingly, a School Committee Member in our town is currently under hot scrutiny for having said the full N*word out loud in front of a group of students. In the turmoil that has ensued, of course there have been white ladies on the public forums bitching about why is it okay for black students to say the N*word around school all the time. (Never mind that unlike the school committee member in question, the students using it are; a) African American and b) children!)
Anyway, for deeper insight, here is a most beautiful 5-minute reflection on Words That Don’t Belong to Everyone.
Ta-Nehisi Coates on words that don’t belong to everyone | We Were Eight Years In Power Book Tour [4:58]:
In the words of one parent:
“I have heard loud and clear from Black friends and colleagues that under no circumstances should a white person use the N-word in full. Not reciting lyrics, not quoting poetry, not quoting a slur to denounce it, just no. I think that understanding the impact of it is important for those of us who want to have good discussions that do not inadvertently cause pain to our friends and neighbors. It’s a good idea to explain that to your children, too, that someone within a group may choose to “reclaim” a slur, and use it within the group, but people outside the group cannot do that because the context of words give them meaning.. It’s not reclaiming when used by a non-Black person. Also, many Black people do not use this word in any circumstances, either. I would suggest that as a ground rule for life, that we not use the N-word if we are not Black.
“I recognize that the intent was not negative, but impact on the listener is different than what’s in your heart.”
And in case it needs to be said, NEVER WEAR BLACK FACE EITHER!!!
Thankful to be living in a more enlightened time than the one in which I was raised. And DEFINITELY making sure my kids get the bulletins in this area! Dang.