Archive for August, 2010

So, Dr. Laura sets off controversy as she rants about race while on the air. She’s got a caller on the air and uses the “N-word” some eleven times. On the Air. dag….

And now she quits over the controversy, announcing that she will end her radio program at the end of the year… Here’s the story ….

This conversation is not new.  Nigga…. Nigger. Generationally speaking, the interpretation of the word sparks either vile vibrations of a racist society, or a sense of endearment among the brethren in the ‘hood.

The following is an extrapolation of a blog I posted back in 2006. I posted the blog in response to a news story I found online from WHAS=TV in Louisville. The station no longer carries the story on their site, but the general story was as follows:

Keysean Chavers was a freshman at Valley High School in Louisville, KY. He’s a Boy Scout, a football player, a member of the ROTC, and an honor roll student. One day, he was hanging around his teacher’s classroom door. According to Paul Dawson, the teacher, Keysean used the word Nigga as he told him to sit down…

“I was just kind of stunned for a second and I said, ‘Well then, get away from the door, niggaz.’ I repeated the same insult because that was sort of what I was trained to do.” said Mr. Dawson, who’s been a teacher in the Jefferson County School District for over 20 years… Yes, believe it… the teacher told the student to “get away from the door, NIGGA!!!”

Several of the students interviewed during the course of the school’s investigation did not hear Keysean say the “n” word first and Dawson says students use the slang version of the word at Valley High School all the time. According to the WHAS report, Dawson says “nigger” is a racial slur but says students use “nigga” as often as they say “dude” or “hey, man.” Dawson says as much as he doesn’t like the word, he still used the slang version to feel more comfortable with black students. “Why is this word used so frequently? So I just don’t understand it and I’m trying to understand it,” Dawson says. “I need help.”

Dawson was suspended for 10 days without pay.

Young Keysean and his mom are outraged and feel the 10-day suspension is not harsh enough.. They want the teacher’s job. Representatives of the black community are up in arms and the Urban League is calling for the teacher’s job.. They are calling the use of the word by the teacher a racist incident…

So let’s take a step back and examine this story. The issue is a by-product of the modern urban culture. The teacher is absolutely correct when he says that the kids use NIGGA as a term of endearment.. Listen to your teens.. They are going to greet each other “What’s up my nigga?” or “That’s my Nigga”. Or as the teacher explains in the news report “Can you lend a nigga a pencil?” (that was hilarious to me).. Even white teens are calling each other nigga… Latinos, Asians… (I wonder in the teen sub-culture, does a young white teen who gravitates toward hiphop, call his black friends “my nigga”?) Young people will quickly explain to you that NIGGER is the offensive word and is cause to get your butt whupped if you utter it…

In hiphop music, nigga is one of the main lyrics in songs… One of my favorite hiphop joints is from the classic cd by Tribe Called Quest called Midnight Marauders.

One of the tracks “Hey Sucka Nigga” attempts to explain the etymology of the word nigga and why the hiphop generation uses it as a term of endearment. I’ve had conversations with my college interns about the use of the word and they attempt to make me understand that if you say NIGGA or NIGGA, then you are using hip, urban slang and describing a friend or a cool person. However, if you say NIGGER and with a tinge of hatred and disdain in your inflection, then you are being racist.

This is the modern state of a word that has caused death and destruction for generations of our people. The use of the word is derogatory and our relatives and friends from the south can especially remember exactly how the word is used. I can distinctly remember being called nigger at my high school even as we were bused to school – a byproduct of Dr. King’s Dream… I can remember being called filthy nigger by whites while I served in the United States Marine Corps… I can remember being called an “affirmative action nigger” by jealous white folk as I moved up the ladder inside a bank where I used to work

I cannot condone the use of the word personally, and I do not know if we can stop the use as described above by our young people. And because our image drives American urban culture, folk are confused with how or when or not,,, to use the word. Why are we offended when white people use the word, but ok when we use it against or with each other.
On the other hand… I agree with Chris Rock when he says “I LOVE Black People, but I HATE Niggas….”( or is it Niggers???)

Should Dr. Laura quit? I suppose. But instead of getting ready to march, let’s take this time to examine our culture. Why is this word so pervasive in our culture? Why are the young people using it so frequently? Why are young people killing one another? Why are the scores in the schools so low? why are we going to jail so frequently? Why is the music so self debasing, misogynistic, and violent? How did we get so hung up on material things? How did pimpin’ get so glorified?? What’s up with the gang bangers? Crime, health.. These are the questions of import within our culture..

No, Dr. Laura should not have used the word, no matter her intent, no way, no how, in any interpolation.. But she is perplexed. She turns her TV on and sees the comedians, the rappers and some films using the word frequently and profusely. She is confused…….

Yes, the music promotes it… we, by our very actions deny our children the knowledge of the history of this word and other negative descriptors of ourselves…

Before we get so up in arms about this issue, let’s start in our own community and remove the word from our cultural vernacular… Let’s keep our community safe, clean and promote higher learning and spiritual growth at every turn… Once we do that, we will overcome….