I think the discussion about sensitive language was really important. Like many of my classmates, I don’t use the n-word and I get pretty uncomfortable when confronted by it. I think we pretty much reached a unanimous consensus that ‘nigger’ is really never acceptable and ‘nigga’ is more context dependent. The reason I prefer to use the expression “the n-word” instead of using the word itself is because it makes me uncomfortable to say, unless I’m reading aloud or something of that nature, and, like Sarge mentioned, it can be easily mistaken when said by a white male. I’ve always thought of this as being the more polite and socially responsible route, but in a previous class I was introduced to the notion that this may, in fact, do more harm than good. The idea is that if you say “the n-word,” you’re putting the actual word into people’s heads and not owning up to it, or not having enough courage to actually say it. It could also be seen as an attempt to hide or run from the history of the word, while, for me, it’s about removing the word from mainstream discourse as much as possible so that people aren’t as desensitized to it. I’d like to hear other class members thoughts on this, too.
I went back and listened to “Murder to Excellence” again after class and read along with the lyrics, like Henry suggested and wanted to share some of the lines that resonated most with me. I also looked up some of the lines on genius.com and found some additional interesting information.
“Power to the people, when you see me, see you”
This reminded me of the videos we watched last week of Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o accepting their awards and how important it is to have representation and role models that look like you.
“I feel the pain in my city wherever I go
314 soldiers died in Iraq, 509 died in Chicago”
This blows my mind every time I hear the line and think the chart (credit to genius.com) is shocking.
“What’s the life expectancy for black guys?
The system’s working effectively, that’s why!”
I think this goes well with the previous quote because these deaths are being blamed on an epidemic of “Black-on-Black” crime as opposed to being recognized as the systematic force it is.
“Now please, domino, domino
Only spot a few blacks the higher I go”
In Domino’s, you try to have the fewest black dots (pips) and the fewer you have, the higher your score, which is an incredible comparison to the way structures of power keep Blacks (and minorities in general) out of the upper levels.
I’d also like to hear others’ opinions on the term ‘minority,’ because one of the authors we read earlier really disagreed with its usage and I’m curious how others feel towards/interpret it.