Why We Should Ignore the "N" Word
Yes, I am white. In fact, without a tan I may even appear translucent. However, although I grapple with my white brain and try to understand the things I have not experienced in this life, I look to others who have to teach me, inform me and make me understand their experience. I am only a human being who struggles and learns from my own experiences. However, I cannot idly stand by and watch the damage that is being done to our fragile society by the dreaded “N” word.
The Damage of the "N" Word
I cannot help but believe that the elusive “N” word has somehow evolved into a mechanism of segregation. This word that we have learned to despise wields too much power, and no word should ever be empowered to hurt, separate people or cause the current contention of rage. Words that develop a unique context are similar to weapons that are blasted away at others to oppress them, cause emotional distress or control them. The “N” word is the worst weapon of all. There are no laws to remove it, it is portable and you can take it with you in any social situation.
Who Uses the “N” Word?
People who desire to add the shock value of the “N” word may use it as a controversy in their artwork, such as music, poetry or comedy. By nature, art is controversial and the job of this medium is to make you think, make you angry or inspire you with truth and beauty. This is true for anyone who experienced viewing a work of art that has disturbed or moved them. True art makes you question your own reality, your perceptions or belief system.
Unfortunately, there are those who use this word for the purpose of “making themselves feel valued.” People who do not feel they are important rely on the “N” word to feel powerful and project their own inadequacies onto another human being. If violence is the last resort of a limited mind, then the use of the “N” word to win a debate or solve a dispute is the epitome of that revered adage. People who are intelligent, feel safe and valued do not feel the need to hate, hurt others and inflict social damage.
Words of Hate and Despair
This is the reason words should never have too much power. So, what if we change the way we feel about the “N” word and deflated its value. What if someone said that awful word and no one reacted? What if we just stopped paying attention to those who use it to gain power in their helpless lives? What if we simply take away their weapons?
Unfortunately, even if we remove the words of intolerance from our language, there will always be those who are intolerant of others and may find a way to express their hatefulness. Perhaps someday we will see the true spirit of community emerge, value are similarities and completely ignore the idiot that attempts to hurt someone with a mere word. It is easy for me to say that we should evaluate ourselves from the inside and not let others judge us. But, devaluing the power of the “N” word may be a good start.