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  1. #1
    j2k4's Avatar en(un)lightened
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    Ala. Conference Debates Use of 'N-Word'

    Saturday, February 24, 2007

    By DESIREE HUNTER, Associated Press Writer


    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — With a debate swirling nationwide over the n-word, a historically black college in Alabama has set aside four days to discuss the racial slur.

    Participants at the conference, which began Thursday and ends Sunday, discussed topics ranging from the origins of the epithet to whether juggling a few letters makes it socially acceptable at the N'Surrection Conference at Stillman College.

    Organizers said the goal of the event is to challenge the use of the n-word "through the use of intelligent dialogue and a thorough examination of black history."

    Debate over the use of the word has escalated in recent months, with comedian Michael Richards' racial rant prompting black leaders such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and California Rep. Maxine Waters to urge the public and the entertainment industry to stop using it.

    Clarence Sutton Sr., president of the Tuscaloosa chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said he's taken deep offense to the slur since a 1960 incident when a knife-wielding white youth slapped him and said "Nigger, you wanna fight?"

    "From that time on in my life the word 'nigger' was personal. I associated it with the hate and the very deep disdain that this gentleman had perpetrated on me at the time," he said.

    These days, Sutton said, it's mostly other blacks he finds using the word.

    "I'm fighting now because we have lost a generation of young people who don't know the history associated with that word," Sutton said.

    Others, like community activist Tim Robinson, said they don't have a problem using the word "nigga" because it's distinctly different and is considered a term of endearment when blacks say it to one another.

    "It was 'nigger' which was the bad word, but you've got our people that just went and changed it up a bit," said Robinson.

    Some city councils, including ones in New York and New Jersey, have joined a nationwide effort to get people to stop using the word and the AbolishTheNword.com web site was launched last April.

    Andrew Hacker, a political science professor at Queens College and author of "Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal," said just getting rid of the word wouldn't stamp out racism.

    "I really think that as far as white people are concerned, the word is almost on its way out," said Hacker, who is white. "That said, there are a lot of white people who still in the privacy of their own minds think the word even if they don't use it because they regard black people as genetically inferior and that word categorizes that."

    Kovan Flowers, co-founder of AbolishTheNWord.com, said striking the word from use would help set an example for other races.

    "We can't say anything to Hispanics, or whites or whoever unless we stop using it ourselves," he said. "It's the root of the mind-set that's affecting why people are low, from housing to jobs to education."

    Stillman senior Maurice Williams said he organized the conference hoping to educate his peers about the history of the word. The event includes a community fair, charity basketball game, unity march and discussions ranging from the word's origin to its use among various ethnic groups.

    "I had to understand that a lot of the images that we portray in television, in the media, in the hip-hop environment _ all of those things have the same connotations as the n-word itself, so therefore it's the n-word personified," Williams said. "Where do you see another culture portraying some of these same images?"

    Rapper Tupac Shakur was credited with legitimizing the term "nigga" when he came out with the song "N.I.G.G.A.," which he said stood for "Never Ignorant Getting Goals Accomplished."

    Stillman English professor Alisea McLeod said she doesn't buy it.

    "It's hogwash. What this is really indicative of is a heart problem," she said. "What is coming out of mouths is what is coming out of souls. These are not words that are uplifting and I think (they) point to a bigger problem _ a lack of self-love."

    Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
    “Think about how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that.” -George Carlin

  2. The Drawing Room   -   #2
    Quote Originally Posted by j2k4 View Post
    "We can't say anything to Hispanics, or whites or whoever unless we stop using it ourselves,"
    Exactly!

    Where's busybody?

  3. The Drawing Room   -   #3
    Mr JP Fugley's Avatar Frog Shoulder BT Rep: +4
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    Surely the issue is what's in someone's mind when they use words. Words themselves mean nothing, they are only sounds or scrawls on a piece of paper. They are only there to help us communicate or record our thoughts or feelings.

    Case in point, in a recent post Billy called Colt Seevers "Jock", quite obviously meant to annoy him (don't deny it, everyone knows it's true). However other people under different circumstances may use the same word in conversation and it would be perceived as banter.

    Surely it's all down to the intent of the speaker and the perception of the listener (whether they are the subject or not). Rather than the word itself, without some context.

    To demonise a sound is pretty meaningless.
    "there is nothing misogynistic about anything, stop trippin.
    i type this way because im black and from nyc chill son "

  4. The Drawing Room   -   #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr JP Fugley View Post
    quite obviously meant to annoy him
    Who, moi?

    I guess it's like if someone called me a christian, that would be an insult to me, to accuse me of believing all the crap it takes to be one.

    As to the 'N' word, it's completely hypocritical of certain people to claim they are allowed to use a word, yet others aren't, especially when the two 'N' words sound exactly the same.

  5. The Drawing Room   -   #5
    what is anyone hoping this will achieve? You're not going to make an abusive word harmless through a conference.

    On the whole who can say nigger and who can't debate, I think anyone can say it to anyone else, but depending on context its going to be taken in very different ways.
    For instance:
    1) one black person saying it to another is intrinsically less insulting than white -> black, because the slur applies to the speaker as well as the recipient (like one gay person calling another a poofter for example)
    2) speaker is friends with the recipient, basically this just means the recipient knows its not a term of abuse, just banter and so takes less/no offence.
    3) what is actually said and how its said.

  6. The Drawing Room   -   #6
    Busyman™'s Avatar Use Logic Or STFU!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ava Estelle View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr JP Fugley View Post
    quite obviously meant to annoy him
    Who, moi?

    I guess it's like if someone called me a christian, that would be an insult to me, to accuse me of believing all the crap it takes to be one.

    As to the 'N' word, it's completely hypocritical of certain people to claim they are allowed to use a word, yet others aren't, especially when the two 'N' words sound exactly the same.
    No one claims that. I think anyone should be allowed to use it.

    Know your audience.

    I think people should be allowed by law to show they are fucking pricks.

    I also think I should be able to talk amongst my friends the way I see fit without it being illegal.

    Also nigger and nigga actually don't sound the same. Besides the movies and some white folks on the news, I haven't heard anyone say the word nigger (until Michael Richards). Honestly.

    My girlfriend, friends, and some coworkers have all said nigga. It's similar to the difference between figure and figga. They just really don't sound alike.

    Even if a black friend of mine said nigger it would sound weird. Even worse is the word nigra, which I've heard in some movies like Mississippi Burning.

    Either way, know your audience.

    It would foolish to use the word nigga among my coworkers in the presence of my supervisor for instance.

    Also to give an example of too much of it's use, I watched a comedian named Katt Williams on HBO. He seemed to use the word whenever refering to black folks...I mean every single time. He was funny as all get out but that was a bit of a turn off....I mean it was every single time. Richard Pryor used to do the same in some routines.

    If a Mexican called another Mexican a wetback, I won't feel I can do the same to a Mexican. If a Mexican it doesn't mean I can.

    This goes to a person's common sense and goes past race. A group of black people that I don't know joking amongst each other with any multitude of insults (not necessarily racial) doesn't warrant me to jump in and do the same.

    The same can be said for family members. It wouldn't be cool for me to call your sister my cum dumpster just cuz that's what you call her, Billy.
    Last edited by Busyman™; 02-25-2007 at 01:13 PM.

  7. The Drawing Room   -   #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Busyman™ View Post
    It wouldn't be cool for me to call your sister my cum dumpster just cuz that's what you call her, Billy.
    No matter how hard you try busybody, you always have to revert to type, you just can't help yourself, can you?

    If I called your mother a fat black whore, would that be OK?

  8. The Drawing Room   -   #8
    Mr JP Fugley's Avatar Frog Shoulder BT Rep: +4
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    That depends if she is. However I'm guessing not.

    We only know that she's a microwave thief just now.
    "there is nothing misogynistic about anything, stop trippin.
    i type this way because im black and from nyc chill son "

  9. The Drawing Room   -   #9
    Busyman™'s Avatar Use Logic Or STFU!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr JP Fugley View Post
    That depends if she is. However I'm guessing not.

    We only know that she's a microwave thief just now.

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