Pleasantly surprised–and definitely honored–to discover that I’d been quoted by BET’s T.J. Holmes. Writing on The Grio.com, the former CNN weekend anchor took to heart some of what I said in my January editorial, Our N-Word Conundrum. Here’s the pull:
But, as Rob Fields pointed out in his op-ed on Loop21 earlier this year, there may be consequences of my use of the word:
Show me another ethnic/racial group that’s worked as hard as we have to either reclaim a word used to dehumanize them or force it into global circulation.
Remember when Michael Jackson said “Jew me” and “kike me” in “They Don’t Care About Us”? That entire album, HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book 1, was pulled and reissued. Why? Because Jews maintain a morally defensible position: They were not then, nor are they now perpetuating the idea within their community, let alone to a global audience, that either of those words are worth reclaiming.
Clearly, the black community has come to a different conclusion about the n-word. Fields argues that in “reclaiming” the n-word (and all its variations) we have popularized, globalized, and normalized its usage, which can be confusing to those — especially a younger generation — outside of our community.
Words have power indeed. Thanks, T.J., for letting me be a part of your meditation.
You can read the full piece on TheGrio.com here.