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