Of course I'm referring to the recent "funeral" with respect to the word "nigga." As I knew the topic would be discussed ad nauseum, I initially decided to leave this topic alone. Obviously, I couldn't resist.
I sincerely understand the desire to abolish any and all derivatives of the word "nigger." It was born of pain and venomous hatred. I don't believe someone my age can fully appreciate the power this word once held. We have not endured the same brand of racism that our forefathers did. Bigotry of that sort, though it does still exist, is decried as extreme and unacceptable behavior. Many of those individuals (and their offspring) believe that we need this word to be abolished, fully extinguishing its power so that we can heal and move on as a people.
However, there exists another school of thought. Some believe, transforming it's pronunciation and adopting the word as our own is also a means of depleting the strength of that word. It's a classic defense mechanism. By taking it, it removes the sting when someone else uses it.
I don't typically use the word. Well, that is to say, it's not a part of my daily lexicon. However, there are people in this world that I belive are niggas. Believe me, I am in no way being endearing when I use this term. Bobby Cutts is the perfect example of who I would put in this category. I also admit that I have occasionally used it for signifying purposes. I didn't grow up in a family that recognized themselves as such, so it's not something I would use to refer to my man, or my children.
As far as it being "buried," it's little more to me than a symbolic act from a symbolic organization. When was the last time the NAACP effected earth shattering change? (Beware the first person to post something re: Don Imus will be hunted down and flogged in the streets.) Can I also say that I find the National Association for the Advancement of COLORED People burying the word "nigga" ironic. If a white person used the term colored, we'd look at them like they asked our mama, "What that thang smell like?" Or is "colored" a word that we can use, but white people can't? And if that's the case, what makes "nigga" different? Just asking.
But honestly, they want to bury the word? Fine. Can you also bury public school systems that provide substandard, outdated books to inner city schools, while keeping public schools in more affluent areas up to par? How about burying the myth that most of our black men are in jail? Bury the judicial system that imposes harsher prison terms on African Americans than their white counterparts for committing the same crimes. Or if that's too much, would you simply bury the notion that something is "wrong" with our hair? Maybe you could start by getting Al Sharpton to step away from the Dark N Lovely? Just a thought. Bury the complacency that comes with expecting black men to cheat and/or abandon their families, black women to be Sapphires and hoochies and black children to be unruly and disrespectful.
My point is, if they focused more on burying the REAL issues that make people FEEL like niggas, a symbolic burial might not be necessary. Because we could stand up as black people.