Sunday, April 08, 2007

The book on the right

Is the blatant picture of the book I'm reading (to the right of this post) uncomfortable to you?

It is to me.

Every time I pull up my own blog, the book seems to shout at me. I keep wondering who is pulling up my blog for the first time and what are they thinking...especially if they don't read the sub-title: "The strange career of a troublesome word"...and especially if they don't know me.

I suppose Mr. Kennedy could have been a little less in your face if he would have called the book "The 'N' Word" but Jabari Asim just did that last month in his book. (I would like to read his as well.) In fact, Stephen Colbert made a good point when he questioned whether or not "the 'N' word" is now synonymous with the "N" word. Check out his humorous, yet thought-provoking interview with Jabari Asim:




I go back and forth on the word...not in whether or not I should use it myself, but for what I should be expecting from the vocabulary of the kids/teens around me. Is it ok for them to use it? Is it ok as long as they put an "a" at the end instead of an "er?" Is it ok when people use it only when they are talking about someone who has made stupid decisions? Some of my [Black] adult friends use it from time to time as well. Listening to them often leads me to wonder, "Who am I to tell a Black adult not to use that word?"

I haven't come to any great conclusions. Most of the time, the kids/teens/college students refrain from using the word in front of me. They know it's not acceptable around me just like "shut up," "can't," and cuss words.

Ultimately, all of us will have to make our own decisions about what words we use and what words we accept. I'm reading "nigger" and hope to read "The 'N' Word" so I can at least have the knowledge of how and when the word originated, how it has been used over time, and it's significance in many different settings. At the minimum, it will at least give me an educated opinion.
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