Tuesday, July 10, 2007

We Need To Bury Racism Not the N-Word by Akindele Akinyemi


I was at the N-Word funeral at Hart Plaza yesterday. While there were hundreds of people there my concern is this.

How do we bury the N-Word for real?

Some say it starts in the home. However, if your parents use the N-word what difference does it makes?

I mean how many people after the funeral went right back to use the word?

Our people are caught up on so many concepts of death it is not funny. "I love you to death", "man you kill me", "n**** I'll kill ya", and even a burial of a word that is so ingrained in our minds it's is not funny.

The other thing I am hearing surprisingly is so many people my age felt that the funeral was a waste of total time. Many are asking what was the NAACP thinking about when it came up with this? Some have even gone as far as saying "what was the purpose?"

That is deep.

Before Imus and Michael Richards used slurs in public the Rev Al Sharpton was already talking about the issue of lyrics in rap music. Oprah Winfrey caught flack from Ludicris after an appearance on her show to promote the movie Crash. Oprah put him on the spot about Lyrics in songs. Female students at Spellman college cancelled a bone marrow drive because the artist Nelly was involved. Nelly's sister who has since died needed a bone marrow transplant and he was using his celebrity to promote the issue. The women at Spellman had a problem with a video he made for the song Tip Drill the event was cancelled. The issue of racy lyrics has been out here awhile it is just now getting national attention.

However, instead of politicizing the issue where are our churches on this issue. How can the largest corporation in the Black community be silent on such a critical issue.

Thousands of people attend the funeral for the n-word. Why wasn't it tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands? It tells me that even though this issue is important to thousands, it isn't that important to the millions that live in this country. Look at the Latinos that march for immigration reform, millions marched across the USA at the risk of being caught and sent back home while thousands marched for a word that I don't like and don't use.

Because we live in this democracy, we are given the freedom to say and do what we want, unless it affects someone else's basic rights. After seeing this burial up close and personal it felt like it was a publicity stunt that will have no impact on the way that people choose to talk. In a month this whole thing will be forgotten, other than footnotes on the peoples resumes that were involved. It's unfortunate that you have such a negative view on others, obviously that's been formed by negative experiences that you must have endured throughout your life.

Symbolism means nothing, and that's all this was about. This is about a total lack of respect for other people. Respect is something that is no longer practiced. Words may hurt feelings, but feelings can easily change. But a lack of respect goes to the core of a person. Everybody wants to be respected and that is so much more important that a ceremony that does nothing more than generate publicity. Stop being so sensitive about words and start finding ways to develop respect for others.

Do you really think super-rich thugs and wannabes are going to stop doing what makes money because a bunch of "leaders" and guilty-conscious liberal whites stage a ceremony? The main purpose of which is to put the spotlight on themselves. You think that is going to influence anybody to stop doing what makes them money. It's more likely to influence people to use the word more just to show that they aren't controlled by the self-appointed leaders who lead nobody except the media.

Shouldn't WJLB live broadcasters be there to explain why they use the word constantly on air for the general public to hear?

I only pray that as a human race we are beginning to grasp the fact that we aren't all that different and we continue to strive to provide better experiences to one another. One of the great things about this country is that we all are provided with the tools and the opportunity to make better lives for ourselves. We are not destined to live a certain quality of life based on a predetermined cast system. All anyone needs is drive.

Finally, I believe the NAACP had a funeral for the wrong word. Instead of the "N" word, they should have buried, deeply, the "R" word -- racism. I can't believe the NAACP still has as its top priority the futile effort to eliminate racism. For one thing, there are enough laws already on the books to combat the manifestation of racism. As for racism itself, neither the NAACP nor all the lawmakers in the land can change the hearts and minds of haters. So, stop obsessing on racism.

The NAACP wants to "eliminate" a word they don't like ? How about "honkie" or "cracker" or the other slanders they like to use - words that I don't appreciate hearing ?? It's all racist.

So freedom of speech depends on getting approval to speak it ? And these black racists get to decide ??

Suppose the NAACP could indeed magically eradicate racism. What changes would be wrought in the our community? Few, if any. Our brothers would still be perpetrating a vastly disproportionate amount of crime; 80 percent of Black babies would still be born illegitimate; and a huge number of Black kids would still be dropping out of school. In short, the self-inflicted problems that are today's biggest stumbling blocks in the Black community would still be in place. And these are what the NAACP should be obsessing on. But it's much easier and more heroic to say you're fighting external villains than to courageously face the reality that people don't want to hear. Just ask Bill Cosby. But until the NAACP, and other Black organizations, quit hiding behind racism, and begin facing and remedying those self-inflicted problems, the road to Black problems will continue to be be strewn with major obstacles.

Unfortunately, this is more posturing by a group that was, at one time, relevant and has in recent years, lost that relevance. The group is now nothing more than a collection of well to do Blacks that see it as their duty to be a dues paying member of the NAACP. These well to do people are the only people who can afford a ticket to attend these annual gatherings where the most pressing issue they can find to address is the ceremonial burial of a word. My hope is that at some point, the people that need assistance from the NAACP could afford to be members and attend the dinners, etc...When the people who need help and representation can't afford membership, what good are you? I understand that expensive dinners are necessary as fundraisers and those who can afford to go have made their contribution to the community efforts for the ensuing year. The problem is that I never see any community events/assistance. This is not to say that these events do not happen, only that they are not visible. I would love for the NAACP to be relevant again but it doesn't seem to be in the cards right now.

By the way....how much did the NAACP pay Kurtis Blow and Eric B to come to Detroit?

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