Nigger. Everyone fears the word. That’s the saddest thing. People fear the word more than the context behind it.
Here’s some context to the word nigger. People don’t want to use the word nowadays because of the stigma that comes along with it. The main reason people are hesitant to use the word is because they don’t want to be labeled “a racist.” Being called a racist in today’s culture is like, well… being called a nigger.
In the words of Strom Thurmand in his implementation of the “Southern Strategy,” saying the word nigger is will no longer bode well politically because it is not politically correct. His strategy was to continue divide the country racially and implement a mindset that relished in the true definition of a nigger, a person who is stripped of their legal, unalienable rights (i.e., the right to vote, to pursue success, freedom from oppressive governments).
So what Strom did was to make sure every political debate centered around “states’ rights” and “busing.” During the Civil Rights era, Strom defended the states’ rights to ignore federal mandates on segregation. You see, Strom did something much worse than simply use the word nigger. He made sure blacks stayed less well-off by pushing for legislation that denied certain inalienable rights (e.g., busing).
I am not upset nor mad at Dr. Laura’s use of the word nigger (11 times). I am more upset that there is such a brouhaha over this insignificant lady. However, I can see how some blacks are upset, because even though comics and younger generations of blacks may use the word frequently, a large proportion of the black population still despises the word (think about those blacks that grew up during the Civil Rights Movement and before).
Dr. Laura messed up terribly when she willfully dismissed a caller’s concern. A black lady called in to Dr. Laura’s radio station asking for assistance because she felt that her husband (who is white) may have been ignoring racists comments from his other white friends. The caller felt upset. Whether this is true or not (the claim of racism), is beyond the point. The point is, Dr. Laura cuts off the caller saying that what the caller experienced is not real racism, but the caller is just being “hyper-sensitive.”
Then Dr. Laura goes on a tirade about how black people use the word all the time (so do two wrongs make it right?), black people are too sensitive, they shouldn’t marry out of their race if they can’t deal with white friends saying the word nigger, how black people only voted for Obama because of his skin color, and she found it “hilarious” that blacks are still complaining about racism in a “post racial” era (since Obama is president, of course racism doesn’t exist anymore). Hmm… sounds more like a blame game than a help hotline.
This is where the problem lies. Black people and white people see things from two entirely different perspectives. Blacks see things from a perspective of color. Whites see things from a perspective of non-color. We’re never going to see eye to eye, but that doesn’t mean we can’t listen to each other and stop dismissing each other’s concerns about race because believe it or not, it’s not going to go away if we just ignore it.
Whites are concerned that black people are quick to judge them as racists (and use “the race card) and blacks are concerned that whites are quick to dismiss many of their racial concerns. The discussion cannot be had because white and black people are too busy pointing the finger at each other. One is saying “I’m not a racist, but you are!” and the other person is saying the same thing.
This problem we have emerges from our inability as a nation to discuss touchy issues. We’re too busy being defensive and nothing can be done. You see, racism is a valid concern for all races. Everybody can be prejudiced and xenophobic, but racism in institutionalized, stemming from generations of control and power over a people. Racism is America’s deepest wound and it is going to take many more years before it is healed.
Instead of being like Dr. Laura, we need to listen to each other instead of waiting for that person to finish so that we can talk. We need to stop listening for gaps and contradictions in a person’s logic and listen for what they intended to say. Then, only then can we move on together.
Just because we give people the rights that they were promised in the Constitution doesn’t mean that rights are being taken away from others. This is not a zero sum game. People think that giving others equal opportunity for education will take away from their opportunity for education. Well, that is America for you. The land of equal opportunity; Equal opportunity to fail.
Sadly, in this country, some are more likely to fail than others. Nobody is promised success. There are no positions with your name on it. Everyone is competing for the same thing, so many become confused, thinking their privileges should have more say than others’ hard work.
But until we can come together, in the eyes of the wealthiest 2% of America, we’re all niggers, whether you are White, Black, Hispanic, purple or a turtle. As long as we keep bailing out the wealthiest and they keep shipping jobs overseas, preparing for other emerging markets, we will all be niggers.