Essay On The N-Word
During a televised dog show one of the judges, an older woman, referred to a competing dog as a ‘bitch’. Spontaneously I flinched, frowned and then laughed out loud at myself. The reaction was due to hearing for the first time in years the word being used in its proper context. So conditioned to hearing that word in an offensive context had I become, that upon hearing it in its proper setting the same negative feelings arose for a moment.
Is there a proper context that the n-word could be used so as not to cause offense or hurt? Arguments for allowing its use frequently have an element of acquiescence to those who are habitual users. It’s so deeply entrenched in their vocabulary, it’s said, that little can be done to change people’s usage.
Many view free speech as their sacred, constitutional right. Their right to say what they wish must not be abridged no matter how offensive it may be to others -or so they assert. A fitting question for them is: How many black men and women who have died in wars, said to protect the Constitution and the American way of life, have been greatly dishonored by being called disparaging and heinous names by those who have benefited from their spilled blood? Even if no black man or woman ever wore a military uniform, we are all members of the human family and for that reason alone deserve to treated, spoken to and spoken about with the dignity that every other member of mankind should enjoy. If there is a term, designation, word or phrase used to identify us as individuals or a group or race or anything else that is offensive, undignified '' free speech or not- who has the right to use it? On the subject of rights: If we as black men and women use it, referring to anyone in our international brotherhood, do we have the moral right to to be offended when it’s used by others of a different race? Any reason offered to justify its use rings hollow as merely an empty excuse, or even hypocritical....