The “N” word

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 11, 2010 by iWrite

The word “nigger” or any of its derivatives (nigga, niggah, nig, nicca, etc.) is a word that has undeniably been one of the most detested words in the English language for years. But growing up in an African-American community, I heard and used it everyday. Some are offended by it, some think that the word is disgusting, and some think that African-Americans have the right to use it after it was used for decades to oppress Black people. I, on the other hand, have mixed feelings about it.

A little over a month ago, an adjunct professor at my school, Towson University, was fired for saying “the ‘N’ word.” According to The Towerlight, Zaruba referred to himself as “a nigger on the corporate plantation” while discussing a textbook titled “Themes of Contemporary Art” in his Visual Concepts class. That was a Monday. On Thursday of that very same week, Zaruba got a phone call from the University (not sure exactly who called him) saying that he was fired.

Here’s my take.

Maybe Zaruba was inappropriate in using the term during class but what about the professor, like Richard Vatz, a Towson University faculty member who is known for his outlandish and brash comments during class? Or the professor of a women’s studies class who openly allows students to express their feelings and thoughts about topics (such as racism) in class? In my opinion, if it was so offensive, then everything that is equally offensive to someone should be eliminated – right?

Of course not.

I don’t curse. I used to, but when I decided to live my life according to the Word of God, I decided that cursing was not conducive to the lifestyle that I want to live. So I stopped. When I hear cursing, however, it can be very offensive, especially when it’s loud and obnoxious. Most of the time, walking across campus or even sitting in class, I hear it and I cringe. I often wish that these people would just choose different words to express themselves (as if there aren’t a cuhjillion words in the English language) – but they don’t. Should they be banned from campus? Should I call the office of the provost and complain about them? Doesn’t sound too fair anymore does it? The “N” word is no more offensive than curse words or ignorant statements. Maybe the solution is that we fix our speech. Make ourselves aware of these things that come out of our mouths. Really try to say positive words and lift one another up instead of constantly tearing each other down. Maybe words like “nigger” will disappear from the English language because we will explore other ways to edify one another.

For all of my Twitter fans – #imjustsayin


Go mobile!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 17, 2009 by iWrite

images from and Image edited by Firenza Walker

At about 8:30pm Wednesday, I suddenly realized that as a commuting journalism student, it was imperative that I own a USB flash drive — immediately. So, I grab my keys and storm out of the house with the intentions of heading to the Staples right up the street. But, no; Walmart’s rollback prices got me again.

I thought about the possibilities: 4GB flash drive for $12.00 — oh JOY! So, just to make sure I had realistic expectations, I pull out my handy dandy Blackberry. I type in in the Browser and wait. I had anticipated sifting through the website’s huge pictures and many links on my mobile phone but was surprised when I was confronted with a very clean design consisting of a single search box, a “home” link and a “store locator” link.

“Wow, Walmart has a mobile site,” I thought, “These stores are stepping their game up. I wonder if Target has one?” Cool beans. So I drive up to the Walmart and head inside, only to find no flash drives, not even one. Disappointed, I stop at the Subway on the inside of the Walmart (that’s a completely different article for another day) and then head out the door. I decide to look up Target’s website on my phone’s browser. They, too, had a pretty decent mobile site. A little more links but efficient nonetheless. After contemplating Target and Walmart, I remember that there was a Office Depot down the street from my house. At this point, it’s already 8:58pm. I know that Office Depot was probably closed but just to make sure, I pull out the Blackberry again.

“Surely, Office Depot doesn’t have a mobile site,” I thought. Boy, was I wrong. They definitely do.

So I say all of this to say, WOW. Technology is really making it very easy to get information. Ignorance can no longer be an excuse. Knowledge is LITERALLY at your fingertips; it’s only a Blackberry or an iPhone away. If you do not have a phone with internet capabilities (a Blackberry preferably) then you might want to invest. I saved about an hour of running around trying to find a flash drive at 9pm all because I was able to access the internet on my cell phone. Needless to say, I never got my flash drive but I did get a great post from my journey!

To tweet or not to tweet?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on August 4, 2009 by iWrite

I’ve recently experience a decrease in the amount of people who tap into social media as a form of communication or even entertainment. With all of the buzz about the latest status-updating phenomena, Twitter, most of the people that I’ve encountered refuse to sign up for an account.

I, personally, have an account and I follow celebrities, my friends and professors. I’ve witnessed friends win free tickets from celebrities on twitter, interesting debates and conversations take place, and breaking news — all of that in 140 characters or less.

According to Wikipedia,Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. This is done in 140 characters or less much like a text message. Users can follow and have others follow them; this is very similar to friends on Facebook or MySpace. I suppose what makes non-Tweeters so leery is the fact that someone can possibly follow you without you following that person. In a way, it does seem a bit stalker-ish but I think the concept is completely missed in this case.

The idea is that someone follows one person and hopefully that person will follow them back. Kind of like “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” type mentality. In most cases, non-Tweeters are simply thrown by the idea of Twitter and confused by it’s concept and purpose. But as many of us in Twitterville have said, you won’t understand until you actually engage.

Ethics or Sensationalism?

Posted in Uncategorized on January 14, 2009 by iWrite

When is it ever right to publish something like this?


or this?


According to students in my MCOM385 class, it’s ok to publish the first, but terrible to publish the second. Does this seem a little unbalanced to anyone else? The first depicts a man, who was easily identifiable because he was the only chef that was in the WTC at that time of morning and clearly the man in the picture is wearing a chef’s jacket. The picture was publish the day after 9/11. The second picture is showing charred bodies of four US Contractors in Iraq who were ambushed, murdered, hung and beat with shoes–the ultimate symbol of disrespect in the Middle East. There were only four US Contractors in this truck that was ambushed and all four of the names were published. Taking a guess, you could probably figure out who the people in the photo were…and so could their families.

When does sensationalism override ethics?

Safeway's Inaugural Special

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2009 by iWrite

My MCOM385 Professor pointed this out to us in class tonight. Has anyone else seen this?


I thought this was interesting. Look at the bottom right corner (in the blue). If you can’t see it, it’s an ad for an Inauguration Meal Deal for, none another than, fried chicken. Sigh…


Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2009 by iWrite

I’m retaking this NewsEditing class for the second time. It’s a really complicated class, I think, for no reason. There are so many ins and outs to that darn AP Style Book. I’m pretty used to it now since this is my fourth year using it. Hopefully that’ll help me this go ’round.

Anyway, at the beginning, the professor made us stand up and introduce ourselves (all 9 of us) and tell what we wanted to do with our journalism degrees (assuming that was why we were taking the class). Five out of nine of us said that we had absolutely no idea what we wanted to do. Now I figured that the reason could be that we were still stuck in what I call the “middle year syndrome” where sophomore year and junior year is still kind of far from graduation so you haven’t really been actively looking for a career. Or, we really are preparing to enter a dying profession where the career opportunities are scarce.

Will the gifted, young, journalists, like myself (by no means am I being ostentatious) be the future of this decaying craft or will we turn away from it all together?

Submerged in the news….daily.

Response to "Screw AP Style!"

Posted in Uncategorized on December 11, 2008 by iWrite

I never thought that I would get so many comments to a post that was just me expressing how I’d been feeling for the past year.  I’d like to highlight a few things:

“I would only stick with journalism if you’re willing to reinvent it and be a part of the future. If the only thing you ever wanted to do was work for an existing media company, I’d run far, far away from journalism.”

“Or will they bridge the gap to create a new journalism that officially breaks with profiteering, bankrupt corporate owners to create a hyper-local, hyper-effective journalism controlled by and focused on our community concerns?”

“Yep, you’re not cut out for it. I’d recommend policy work or charity stuff, with the warning that you’re likely to find there too that tangible impact on the world is hard to come by.”

Is my heart in it? At this point, I don’t think so. Am I cut out for it? Of course I am.

I have been thinking alot about being apart of such a Journalism Renaissance that would completly revolutionize journalism as we know it today. I have been getting encouragement and several discouragements from people about the feild in general but I WANT to be a part of it. I WANT to be a part of change. To re-create the art of storytelling and essentially change journalism from mere reportage to a tool used to make a change. To use my “creative energy to plan awesome marketing campaigns/web sites” as well as to keep people in the know. Awareness vs. just information. It may sound corny but, I want to spark a nerve to make people want to come from behind the television, come from behind the newspapers and the computer screens and begin to “change the world.”

Can I do it? YES. Will I have opposition and adversity? Of course…the best can’t live without haters.