For the record, I believe the N word should be banned. It is not a term of endearment.
Yet it is being pulled from my ancestor’s grave and dusted off. And with over 1,025,109.8 words in the English language, I question why
Please find another word that doesn’t echo with my Bigmama’s cries to be treated with dignity as she cleaned and cooked for white folks most of her life, while laboring with only a 4th grade education, resulting from living behind walls of racism, segregation, and poverty. Please find another word that isn’t covered in the blood of my Great-grandma Mahalia and my great Great grandma Sarah who both did laborious, sweat producing, back breaking tasks in the fields of Georgia.
I want us to respect the ancestors with no voice. Let’s respect the millions with brown skin who, while being called the N-word, were told that they couldn’t come in the front door because of the color of their skin, who had to sit on the back of the bus with Rosa Parks, were lynched in the trees of Mississippi, and were sprayed with powerful water hoses as they marched across the Selma bridge. Let’s respect those with no voice who knelt underneath slave masters hurling the N-word to make them feel less than human, to keep them in their place, and to demean them every day of their lives.
They have no voice. They need us, Debbie. They need us, Larry. They need us, Mr. Rapper, whoever you are. They can’t post pictures on Instagram of their bones in the grave, wrapped in cob webs of the N-word. They can’t tweet that it will never be viewed to them as an expression of affection, fondness, tenderness, sentiment, warmth, love, liking, and caring. They can’t shout “Don’t call the first African American President the N-word.”
I love my brown skin. I love that African Americans are survivors and that we often identify with each other through the struggle of our history. Call me sweet-cakes, baby, lovey, survivor, strong black woman, but don’t call me the N-word as a term of endearment, for when you do, I hear nothing but my bigmama’s cries and see the blood dripping from my Great Grandmama Mahalia’s hands.
I hear the cries of my ancestors each and every time I hear the N-word. I see the blood dripping in slave ships. I see “colored only” signs. I hear the wails from the street down below the balcony on which Martin Luther King was assassinated.
Its use causes some of us to feel extreme despair and sadness.