This is one of the hardest posts I have written. I worry about the backlash being the subject is so divisive, no matter what community you are apart of. I mean no disrespect I am just trying to understand.
Am I racist? This is a question I have been asking myself a lot lately. I recently left a position where I was working because the atmosphere was toxic to me. You see I despise the word “Nigger” or “Nigga” these are the same word just different accents, not language. There are certain parts of the country that have a hard time saying er and instead use an A, the opposite is also true. I apologize for writing the word from this point on I will use “N” as a replacement for it as to not make myself vomit from writing it too much. I was at times stuck in a room with a bunch of people who constantly were using this word. These were people of African American descent. Does that change the meaning of the word? In the 2 months I worked there I heard it used in both a friendly way about people they liked, and a derogatory way about people they disliked.
When I was young someone told me that N meant an ignorant person, though it had negative racial overtones. This is why we do not use the word. In the past 5 years I have been looking into the issue of race. With all the unarmed shootings of Black citizens by police I wanted to get the real history of the issue. I have seen countless documentaries on the subject, did my research project on the Islamic Empire and read through some slave narratives. I do want to try and understand these issues more so I can be more helpful to the fight for equal rights. The thing is I do not think I will ever understand the double standard of it is ok for an African American to say it and not a Anglo-saxon white person.
I am an egalitarian this means: I feel everyone should have the same rights as everyone else. I would would not want a black person saying it anymore than a white person. So, when I was working there it was a shock to my system every time I heard N, and I heard it a lot. I am also a person who is for the first Amendment of the constitution. Yet, in this story I start to try to control people from using this word. I started off nicely, but as it was continually I was getting more belligerent about it. To the point where I would start blacking out for a couple of seconds. This has happened to me before but only when I was extremely drunk or was physically assaulted. This is where I knew I had to leave that situation. One I hate being a hypocrite and two I did not want to end up in a fight. I worried if I heard it enough that I may accidentally use N out of sheer frustration.
During the 2016 election was when I was reading the Slave Narratives of Frederick Douglass and Linda Brent. It was after the election of Trump that I realized how powerful that word really is. I was doing homework the day after the March against Trump was happening here in Minneapolis, Minnesota, of which I was a part of, and I hear a pounding at my door. It was a neighborhood kid I see when I am walking my dog. The kid is mildly autistic and is normally a real good kid. I went outside to see what was going on. I had found out he had done something most white people here in America know not to call a African American. He called one of them a N. This caused him to be chased and almost got his ass kicked. I talked to them all and tried to smooth things over with the group of kids and apologized for what he had said. Then I shock one of their hands. Then went to his mother and told her the situation, using N as a quote. I felt so dirty after I said it.
Visions of people getting whipped, tortured and raped flew into my head. I did not realize the affect N had on me still. I figured it was most likely caused by all the tension in America. I did not really give it too much thought. Then I took the position I had recently just quit. I loved the job working on diversity calendar, being able to explore ideas that I have. I just could not deal with being in a room with 10 to 15 people saying N so much, about once every 5 minutes or so. it got to a point where my heart started racing, ears began to burn, it felt as if all my communication skills were drowned out by that one word. In the beginning I let it go, but the more it was said the more angry I got. I am having all these physical reactions to hearing N with the images of people being raped, tortured, and lynched. I was in a U.S. History, if you know anything about U.S. History, you know it cannot be discussed without the racial element to it. It was not just in the south either as many of us tend to think it happened in the north to.
Images like these:
Then I would not say the word again, I never had a desire to really say it. But if you would not want a white person to say then why would a black person saying it. This is the point I was trying to get across. It seems like the Daily Show has the same Double standard now. At least when it comes to President Obama for taking a $400,000 job from an industry he helped to prop up. If you wouldn’t want a white president to do it then why would you want an African American president to do it. Did he not run on Change. Yes, I find both Clinton and Trump repulsive. I had high hopes for Obama it turns out he is no better than the rest. That is where I think people have differing opinions. We expected him to be above the corruption. Why should we give him a pass when we don’t give the others a pass?
I try to use the same criteria across the board this way I do not give a bias unless the it is based on facts, Like climate change. I do not like being a hypocrite and if I realize it that I am becoming one I try to change it. This is what it mean to be intellectually honest with oneself. Realizing that we are all human and that if we are all works in progress.
If we are not working to be better humans then what are we doing with our lives.