Kari, I just read your post you shared via Facebook and I have some counter arguments. Yes, the N-word is heard in music. It's heard in movies that discuss our history. It's in books that talk about this country and how my people were treated and viewed, and how we are still treated and viewed today.
Quite frankly I'm tired of the argument of the correlation of music, in particular, rap music to behavior. Music, is a form of art, a form of expression. Listening to music, listening to someones experiences is one thing...this is another. The debate of the usage of the N-word, black or white, rapper, singer, or not is complex and would require numerous discussions which is not my intent for this particular post.
Behind every action is intent. I firmly believe that they intended on spelling out the word 'Nigger'. It should not be taken lightly, and I would like to know where the joke was in spelling out 'Nigger'.
Addressing your statement about these girls receiving world-wide embarrassment and humiliation: I believe that is a little dramatic. We all know the power of social media. The power of the internet. These girls knew what they were doing, and I believe it's pretty safe to say they knew how people would react. Releasing their names, showing their faces is not embarrassment. By sharing this image on Snapchat they were giving the world permission to see their behavior. To react.
You're right. Too bad their shirts didn't say 'fuck' because then I wouldn't be writing this. Teenagers at Desert Vista, parents of black students, people of color wouldn't be addressing the issues we deal with on a day-to-day basis .
The word 'Nigger' is more than a swear word. For my grandmother who lived through segregation in Arkansas, 'Nigger', is a constant reminder of her being a child, and seeing signs on water fountains that read 'colored' and 'whites only'. Can you imagine the confusion, the hurt, the pain she had to endure. To my grandmother, 'Nigger' isn't just a word. 'Nigger' is her lived reality. Her history. My history. My aunts' and uncles', and great grandmother's history that should not be taken lightly. A reality that neither you nor I will ever completely understand.
I'm sure that because you're a white woman and I'm a black woman our views on this matter are different. How could you possibly know what it's like to be black. I don't think this "public humiliation" will teach these girls a lesson. And sadly, I don't know what will. Maybe more funding for African-American departments throughout the various school districts in this country? The implementation of courses that focus on the un-cut, RAW history of being black in America? The implementation of a more diverse curriculum beginning in primary school?
To the young ladies involved in this situation; sure, you may not think you're racists or white supremacists and I'm not saying you are, but your actions were inappropriate. What was your intent? Your reasoning? What makes you think it's okay to throw the N-word out there so loosely? Do you say 'Nigger' on the regular? Do you sing it when it comes on in your favorite songs? Do you call one another it behind closed doors or when your black friends aren't around? I'm just curious. Because I don't know what it's like to identify as a white young lady. I don't know your views on this matter, and maybe that's where we should start...
To everyone out there reading this... Just because you don't say 'Nigger' or 'Nigga' around your black peers doesn't make it okay to say it. If you consider yourself my friend/acquaintance or anything else please do us both a favor and just eliminate it from your vocabulary now.
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