N Word (extra Credit)

Published February 21, 2015 by djlwsu

Watch and offer your thoughts about film, especially as it relates to your own experiences.  Push yourself and engage the film (make sure you talk about specifics from the film, providing details and examples from the film). Think about history, privilege, inequity, etc. – 25 points. 400-500 words  Last day to participate: April 1

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6 comments on “N Word (extra Credit)

  • When it comes to the “N-word”, I have little experience with the word. I grew up in a pretty sheltered household and didn’t exactly understand or even hear the word until I was in the fifth grade. When I heard the word, it was from a white friend showing me a song where the lyrics used the word. I immediately asked my friend what the word meant. He explained to me that it was a word that only black people can use and if a white person ever said it, blacks would get extremely offended. I started to really notice the word in rap songs as I grew up but never used the word myself. However, in High School, I went to a school where the majority of students were white, and the students there would use the word casually to each other, and wouldn’t care if it offended the few black students that were near them to hear the word. My good friend at this school who was black came to me late in our junior year and asked me if I could talk to some of our other friends to stop using the “N-word” because he felt the word was offensive to him. I understood that it was offensive to him because the white kids using the word were in no place to use it. When watching the film, I felt that what Quincy Jones said was exactly how my friend felt. Jones said “when the use of ‘the N-Word’ in records as entertainment gets to be popular, it gives rights for everybody to use it, which means people other than ‘our’ race can use it, and I have a big problem with that”. I thought that the rest of the film was very interesting because it offered the different views of certain famous people of different ethnicities on their opinion and experiences with the N-word. For example, Samuel L. Jackson (a favorite actor of mine), opened his introduction to the fill by describing his early experiences of being called the N-word. He says “The first time someone called me a (N-word) was probably when I was a baby” He went on to say that this was because in his house growing up, the word was thrown around and because of this he embraces his roots. He later went on to say “the first thing I tell someone is that i’m a (N-word)” He describes the word and description of the adjective when he says “I’m one of those guys you really, really, really don’t wanna mess with.” When I heard this, I felt that the definition could be interpreted in different ways: one being that this meaning of the N-word is negative and derogative, the other being that the word shows dominance and accepting your culture. White actor Michael Rapaport’s opinion was similar to Jackson’s. Rapaport said that the word is currently turned to a slang word like: “homeboy”, “player”, or “pimp”. In the end of the film, Rapaport and Jackson both conclude that they believe the N-word should not be whipped from society. When I watched the section of the film that followed the famous black comedian Richard Pryor, I was surprised that more of his fellow black critics were supporting him in his rapid use of the N-word. I felt this way because the film said that Pryor was using the N-word with integrated audiences and I feel like white people at the time would have interpreted Pryor as making fun of his own heritage, which I believe would upset other blacks at the time. (It later went on to say that many black people were offended by his work, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that he had black supporters and fans in the first place). As for the question the film asks near the end, whether the N-word should be removed from society, I believe that the word should not be removed because of the history it displays and the fact that the word has been “said, written and you go somewhere to see this word”, and this means that it will always be in existence. I believe that I have no right to decide whether the word stays or goes because I am not of the same race, however, I have based my opinion by the different opinions offered in this film (the majority in favor of keeping the N-word around”.

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  • The N-Word is a word that I have had more experience hearing as I have grown older. I cant remember hearing the word until at least middle school, I went to a private school and I had a couple black friends that would occasionally say it. Starting in 9th grade, when I changed schools from a catholic middle school to a inner city public high school, there was a big change in the amount that I heard the word. Freshman year I had classes with many black people that I eventually became friends with, and I am almost positive that I never heard the word come out of a white persons mouth. I remember one specific incident where I witnessed someone get “jumped” for saying the N-word. This is something I probably will never forget and it is also a reason that to this day hearing the word out of any persons mouth comes with a sort of awkwardness. Samuel L. Jackson talks about being called the N-Word by other black people, and this is the most common use of the word that I have witnessed in my lifetime. When my black friends in high school would call each other the N-word it was always playful, and they knew that, it was never a derogatory term. Coming to WSU, I have to admit that the amount of racism and use of the N-Word that I witness has risen. I do not know the reason for this, maybe it is because I interact with so many more people and they all come from different backgrounds with different views. This is something I can not control, but I always do my best to step in and discourage racism when I hear it. This could relate to privilege in the way that more privileged people may not have ever been educated on the history of the word, or just choose to ignore it.

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  • Growing up in my house hold and city The N word was consistently used around me. I always never knew what was so bad about using it all the time. I went to an all black school from middle school through high school so I would hear it at least a 100 plus times everyday. So everyday I was interacting with different black students I would say at least 95% of people used the N word at school including my teachers. So I never would really have to worry about another race using it against me . One time my 10th grade year we played a team in clay charkville, Alabama for a regional game to make the playoffs it was a mostly white school we beat them and at the end of the game we had a couple people call us niggas at the end of the game, I didn’t take negative I just keep focused and we left it didn’t affect me by them calling me and my teammates that even though I knowing was in a way to bring us down and make us feel bad. I would say the reason why It didn’t bother was because I was so use to hearing it a lot my friends and other people in my surroundings that it’s just like a a regular part of daily language now which I don’t know if that is bad or not. They talked about taking the N-word away , I feel like that they shouldn’t because it has so much meaning behind it. The N-word is apart of a long line of history and if the white people are trying to take it away they are trying to take away a part of history that I believe many people need to know about and learn as they come into this world and leave. The word has so much power to it and effects people different ways depending on how you say it.

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  • The “N” word. It has many meanings. It has gone through a revolution! The “N” word originated from the 17th century, the latin word meaning “black”. The Dutch used it first just pronounced and spelled a little different and then from there on the word has evolved to what it is today. From it meaning that you are nothing, no matter how light skinned you are, no matter how educated you are, you will never be as good as the lowest white person, basically you are still a slave to whites, the word was used to upset and put fear in black people. Colored people tried to somehow change or morph the meaning of the word. people like Richer Prior, Chris Rock, other black famous actors, rappers and athletes try to embrace it. Richer Prior has probably the most influence on the new meaning of the “N’ word. Other black people got mad at him. Lots of black people today use it all the time as a replacement word of friend, homie or a way of saying whats up to an acquaintance. It is used a lot. My generation now uses it in day to day dialog. Every race says nigga now. White, Asian, Mexican etc… Black people don’t really like that now days any one or kid can say it and they just kinda have to turn the other cheek because so many people use now. There are kinda two ways to say it. “Nigger” and then you have “Nigga” The “N” word has lots of power. It started as white people saying it all the time to offend the black people, but now they can’t use it anymore. “Saying “Nigga” is like the only thing that white people do”- Chris Rock. Every black person agrees with Chris but however, young white teens say it all the time and Mexican’s say it, based on my experience. I feel like that it is only okay for black people to say the the “N” word and no one else, not if you have black friends or that you have black extend family members, Nah! Don’t say it! If you aren’t black then you don’t have the right to say it, Because your race or older family members did not go through something that you will never go through.

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    • Language matters: as we talked in class, language has meaning, history, etc. “Colored” is a term we no longer use because of its meaning, its history, its connection to/embodiment of racial violence

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  • The word nigga has been a part of my life ever since I could remember. It is commonly used in my household and I do not easily get offended. It’s a word that I embrace and something that I have moved on from. When I hear and see the word in movies or text I don’t see a reason to be upset because of the words meaning. In the documentary the old school man embraced the word nigga as a symbol of blackness and not necessarily as a derogatory term.
    If the word had some malice to it, then I would probably be upset. The power behind the word is how people perceive the word. I remember a time where I had a basketball game in Albany, Georgia and we traveled to the Northside of town and played this predominately white school. As we entered the gym they were already calling us out of our name, like monkey and niggas. We went through the game frustrated and some of my teammates acted negatively towards the crowd and got ejected. The word affects people in different ways depending on how they were impacted by the word. An example would be certain areas of the country such as the south, where segregation of black and white communities are still present. Usually these areas are divided up between socio-economic statuses.

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