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Prevailing Against Prejudice

Okay, so I’ve discovered through multiple very frustrating discussions on social media over the past few days that the use of the n-word and the racism surrounding it doesn’t need to be the topic of discussion. Apparently, we need to go back to basics and discuss something a little different.

“Prejudice: Wrote a song about it. Like to hear it? Here it go…

SO many people are trying to say that if a black person can use a word, that white people should be allowed to. Well, AGAIN, I iterate that MOST black people:
do.
not.
use.
the.
n-word.

I know that if I’d said it, my mom or dad would have beaten my behind. Further, that’s just about the most ignorant argument you could possibly come up with, in my opinion. How can you possibly sit there, with a straight face, and claim that “black people use the word, so whites should be allowed to?” A minority of black people use the word, and if you’re pointing at that small group and projecting their actions on an entire race, that’s what’s called prejudice.

Prejudice is when you see one person do something and assume that everyone like that person does the same thing. If we’re going to be prejudiced about black people using the n-word, which we all agree is disgusting, let’s play a game where we stereotype some more groups by their horrible actions just to see how ridiculous these assumptions are:

  • All members of the clergy molest children.
  • All white kids smoke marijuna, snort coke, and use inhalants.
  • All Germans hate and kill Jewish people.
  • All professional atheletes abuse their spouses.
  • All women cut off male sex organs when an argument goes sour.

These all seem like completely ridiculous and extreme conclusions to jump to, right? Except prejudice plays a LARGE role in politics today. Have you ever heard any of the following presented as “fact” in a political forum for debate?

  • All people on welfare are abusing the system.
  • All women use abortion as birth control.
  • All unemployed people are just too lazy to get a job.
  • All Muslims are terrorists bent on destroying America.

Yes: I’m sure you have. It’s absolutely disgusting that prejudice is still promoted in this country, but it’s really easy to see how this reinforced behavior spills out of the political arena into everyday life. If you see someone doing something, well, that means that everyone must be doing it. . . It can’t possibly be an isolated incident, oh no.

It was suggested that everyone be “banned” from using the word, but that’s not even possible. No word was ever taken out of the dictionary because it was offensive. Several have been banned by schools or publications, but none have been effectively struck from the vernacular. Dictionaries remove words that are considered obsolete. Plus, I’ve never argued that people shouldn’t be ALLOWED to use the word. I’m a full proponent of freedom of speech. I HAVE argued that they shouldn’t WANT to use the word. People should feel that the n-word, and everything attached to it, is beneath their level of respect for themselves and for others.

YES: I said, in my own blog post, that black people using the word gives “permission” for its use. I agree that it does, to a certain extent, but if that’s the ONLY thing you gained from reading my words, you’re clearly missing the point of the previous entry. One person saying a thing doesn’t give license to the rest of humanity to do so. If you’ve said the word to describe yourself, or allowed someone else to do the same, then you’ve no reason or right to get offended if another person uses it to describe you. You’ve claimed it — and if you’re a black person, you know exactly what I’m saying here. But just because ONE black person claims a word or name doesn’t mean that we’re all claiming it together. It’s ONE black person, and we don’t have to be identified by his or her actions. I specifically refused to give consent for the use of that word to describe me in any fashion or form . . . by anyone.

To me and MANY other black people, the n-word isn’t any less repulsive when Paula Deen says it than when Samuel L. Jackson says it. It’s an ignorant, ugly word, no matter who’s saying it. I don’t wish to hear people using it, ESPECIALLY black people. We should be too proud to wrap our lips around those two hateful syllables. Mine wasn’t a call to excuse its use by anyone: It was a call to equally reject people who use it, regardless of color. If we refuse to reward it in anyone, people will stop saying it because the cost of doing so will be too risky.

But, for heaven’s sake, stop standing on this ridiculous and disgusting pedestal of “vocabulary equality” while pointing to the few black people that use the word. It doesn’t give you or anyone else the right to be a bigot and spew racial slurs at those blacks or the rest of us. Be a better person than that, regardless of your skin tone.

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