The Gross National Debt

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

You're the wrong color to sit there

Be certain. I do not care for Bill Maher. However, I support his right to say what he wishes, including his use of the "n word" as the NPR report so mincingly puts it. http://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2017/06/12/532474238/ice-cube-leaves-bill-maher-shaken-and-stirred-over-the-n-word

I also support the entertainer Ice Cube's free speech. 

He is wrong and given the opportunity, I'll say that to his face. He's still got the right to say it.

The issue is, of course, Mr. Maher referring to himself as the "house nigger."

Unlike NPR, I am not going to dance around this subject like it is radioactive. I'm not going to put out a hint so strong that the whole word might as well be used.

It is a word.

It is a collection of letters that form phonemes which create syllables which then become a word.

In the English language, this particular collection of sounds is offensive to some, a term of endearment to others and just a matter of everyday speech to yet others.

Interject those sounds into a conversation in another language, say Mandarin, and the result is either nonsense or something else entirely.

It is a word.

If the word is racially charged, then so be it. If the word is comforting, so be it. If the word is nothing more that another word, just like every other word in this post, hallelujah we have achieved communication!

It is a word in the English language.

If one person gets to use it, another person also gets to use it. If one group gets to use it, another group gets to use it.

It is a word.

From the NPR report, "But, as Cube told a visibly frustrated Maher, 'that's our word now, and you can't have it back.'"

Yes. It is our word. It belongs to everyone and anyone who speaks English. It belongs to people who want to learn to speak English. It belongs to people who do not and will never speak English.

It is a word.

If this word nigger is so charged with invective and hate. If this word nigger is so reviled. If this word nigger is such an offense, well, let's do something about it.

Use it. Make it familiar. Treat it as just a simple word. Exorcise the hate.

I'm old enough to remember when the word sucks was considered offensive and borderline profanity. Repeated and regular use of that word degenerated the meaning. It became a byword for something is not very good. It is now part of the routine vocabulary of the average English speaker.

The other problem here is Ice Cube is perpetuating racism. As are all the other people who claim some segments of society can use the word nigger and some cannot.

Racism. Pure and simple.

Ice Cube appears to believe that his recent African heritage gives him special rights to that word. He then denies others not of recent African descent the right to use that word.

That is racist.

Lemme rephrase.

Ice Cube appears to believe that only people of recent African descent may sit down at the diner to have lunch. Everyone else must stand or eat outside.

I hear the howls of anguish. Oh ye who doth protest to the moon, please enlighten me.

What is the difference between where someone is supposed to sit and what words they are allowed to use, if you are making that division based on skin color?

It comes down to this. We are all human beings or we ain't. We are all truly the same in the fundamental matters, or we ain't. Minor matters like a tan line, hair, the need for glasses and etc. that's just a thang so we can tell each other apart because if everyone looked exactly the same, how boring that would be.

If Bill Mahr wants to be the "house nigger" good for him. Bill is trailblazing here. He's ripping the hate from that word. He's trying to turn it into nothing more than some sounds. Bill is trying to say we are all equal. He's got my respect for that.

Ice Cube is trying to widen the chasm that needs to be filled in. That's his right, but I will not respect it or him.