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Commentary :: Race
Black History Month? Is It Only Window Dressing?
03 Jan 2006
Throughout Black History Month, while paying homage to Black History…every single day…there will be those African Americans referring to one another as the N-word.
Isn’t it ironic, that the very word that was used to denigrate our ancestors and all of the African Americans whom we’ll be paying homage to in the coming weeks ahead, we now use affectionately and endearingly among ourselves…the N-word. What a way to really show our respect, gratitude and appreciation.

Since Rosa Parks demise, much has been made of her contribution to the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s. Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday fast approaches. Black History Month is on the horizon. There should be a sense of reverence, pride and respect enveloping the African American community. But is there really?

Throughout Black History Month, while paying homage to Black History, every single day there will be those African Americans calling one another niggas. And this mockery, undignified act and lack of respect is supposed to be acceptable and condoned. Why is it that African Americans standards are lower than any other race of people on the face of the earth? All other races—standards—are far too high to even think of making a mockery of their ancestral struggles, let alone…actually do it.

Rosa Parks worried and warned that young blacks had absolutely no sense and appreciation of the titanic battles that she and the civil rights leaders waged to make America live up to its much betrayed promise of justice and equality. In a reflective interview, years later, she did not absolve herself and other blacks of her generation of blame for failing to pass on the torch. She called for a redoubling of the effort to make young blacks as she put it know what it means to be black in America today.

The N-word helps to bury the rich history and tradition of the African American, instead of embracing the gifts left to us by our ancestors, who lived and died to help shape the direction of history…we choose to make a mockery of their strength and bravery. There is nothing respectable about the N-word. And the rationale behind the idea of wanting to take it and make it respectable is absolutely incomprehensible.

The one word that maligned and vilified all of those whom come February we are going to go through the motions of pretending that we really care, honor and respect…we will all at the same time be showing more care, affection, endearment and respect to the very word that denigrated them—“nigga”.

Decades ago it was the white man conditioning and programming the minds of African Americans to refer to themselves as niggers. Today, year 2006, we now have blacks programming other blacks to refer to themselves as niggas. The supposition being…to take this incredibly degrading word…try and change it from a hateful, racial, derogatory slur and turn it into an affectionate and endearing purring little pussycat. With a slight adjustment in the spelling and pronunciation this is suppose to make everything okay and acceptable.

Everyone on the face of this earth—with the exception of African Americans—sees and accepts that word for what it truly is…a ugly, distasteful and disrespectful demeaning word. There definition of it will never change. And why should it? Why would anyone in his or her right mind want to identify with such a word in the first place? Anyone black that is, because now thanks to contemporary African Americans, the N-word is now a verbal expression being used by all races.

Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday is fast approaching, the one and only holiday recognizing a distinguished African American, which was by no means a gimme. Because white American didn’t think a black man was worthy of a holiday, it took a hard fought battle to get that recognition approved. And so how will African Americans be showing their respect and gratefulness. That’s right…on this day; African Americans will do as they do everyday, show no appreciation and respect for the civil rights struggle. They’ll be taking the very same word that was used to vilify Dr. King and others to use it affectionately among themselves…what a SLAP in the face.

Black History Month? Is it only window dressing? The answer should be obvious. Worldwide, African Americans are recognized and respected for their musical talent and athleticism, but are given no credit for having any kind of brainpower. I wonder why?

H. Lewis Smith, author of "Bury That Sucka".
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