Wednesday, February 4, 2009

TheTVObserver: The "N" Word


This two-syllable expression is arguably the most divisive word in society. Dr. Phil tackled this touchy topic with help from a panel of outspoken luminaries: civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton; legendary comedian and writer Paul Mooney; CSI actor and author Hill Harper; comedian Sheryl Underwood and conservative radio talk show host Michael Graham.

I though the whole program was interesting but failed to address the issue. I personally find it offensive to use the word no matter your race. It’s a BAD word, a HATEFUL word and I don’t understand why a black person can continue to use it as part of conversation either in kind or not. If you listen to rap music, television shows, and movies. Its N@#$ this N@#$ that and always from the mouths of black people.

I often ask myself do black people use the word to belittle each other? Or do they just use it because it’s a fashionable statement, like calling women bitches?

I don’t get it and like I mentioned earlier, I find it to be very offensive despite your race. When you look at the history of the name and the people who suffered its continued use and association, I find it very alarming that a black person can find it amusing or fun to continue to throw the name around.

Is there a double standard that allows black people to use this sensitive word, while non-blacks are forbidden? I want to know, because if a white person used the name. All black people would be up in arms. That to me reeks of a double standard.

The debate heated up when Rachel, a white guest, said she calls her husband the N-word all the time. Then, should hip-hop artists be censored or fined for using the N-word in their songs? Becky says rappers promote negative stereotypes with their lyrics, but find out who Rev. Al Sharpton thinks should face the music.

Plus, does tone or intent make a difference when using the N-word?

Some say the N-word is a term of endearment, while others believe nothing can improve an epithet historically used to oppress African-Americans. Endearment or not I say NEVER use the word. Because the very fact that the world in discussing how it could be used is a perfect example that it should be used.

What is the point of calling someone the N-word?

The debate heats up when Rachel, a white guest, says she freely utters this incendiary term. Then Becky, another guest, said that she clutches her purse when some black people walk by, because the blacks in her town are “gangsta.” She also feels that blacks cry racism too often and believes Black Entertainment Television promotes separatism. Hill Harper critiqued her logic since BET is owned by a white conglomerate.

I find that people who did not suffer from the use of the word from history, will continue to find it exciting and use it without thinking about it.

Also some use it because they just want to make money out of the ignorance of the public.

Do you use the N-word? And do you think white people should use the word as well?

When faced with increasing criticism for his "nappy-headed hos" commentary, Don Imus deftly flipped the conversation, suggesting that he found inspiration from the world of hip-hop. The conversation quickly and disingenuously turned into a debate about the role of hip-hop in spreading sexist and vulgar language, as if scripted by the folks at CBS Radio and NBC. Central to this discussion was the sense that a double standard exists where black male rappers are permitted to call women "bitches" and "hos" and are subject to little scrutiny while old white men like Imus face a public crucifixion for what some deem a bad joke.

Author and longtime Washington Post Book World editor Jabari Asim had heard all of these arguments before in relation to the use of the word "nigger" in American popular culture. In his book, "The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn't, and Why," he places the focus squarely on American society and the undercurrents of white supremacy in our culture.

On the other side of TheTVObserver landscape is The View which offered another perspective on the matter. It all started when Barbara Walters asked Sherri Shepherd if it is okay, essentially, for black people, (particularly black comedians) to use the n-word. Shepherd responded “Yeah I have no problem with them using it. It’s something that means something way different to me than it does to you.” Then Barbara started to ask so, “If I used it” and Sherri cut her off saying, “I don’t wanna hear it come out of your mouth.”

Then ultra-conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck chimed in, and all hell broke loose. She and Whoopi Goldberg got into a tense discussion that left Hasselbeck crying at the end. After using the word n**** at least 8 times, Whoopi then gave Elisabeth an explanation of how the world isn’t peachy keen for black people and how it is acceptable for blacks to use the n-word and not whites.

On the other side of the coin we have Hip Hop moguls who’ve made million from the use of the word. Some of hip hop’s biggest names like Jay-Z, Ashanti, Chuck D and Pharoahe Monch use the word, but their white counterpart s are not ALLOWED to use the workd.

The question remains: Do you use the N-word? And do you think white people should use the word as well?. There is also a website called niggermania which is just disgusting.

© 2009. TheTVObserver. All Rights Reserved. Pictures used on TheTVObserver graphics are the property of their respective owners. All rights reserved. The Dr. Phil Show © Peteski Productions and Harpo Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

Footsteps said...

I've never/would never use(d) it. It offends me (I'm white). Like you, I don't get why anyone, black or otherwise, would choose it with the history that's so solidly attached. The likelihood that someone would be offended or hurt by it seems enough reason to dig a little deeper in one's vocabulary.