For iPhone users:
Except for news stories or commentaries, I can’t remember the last time I used the N-word.
I don’t use it in my private life, not even to refer to my friends or buddies.
I don’t call people my N-words.
I don’t see it as a term of endearment.
And by no means do I use it casually to refer to other black people who I’m talking smack about. That’s just me.
I do hear the word all the time, mostly from young people, and sometimes from older ones.
I’ve debated the use of this word for what seems like forever now.
I understand some people feel differently than I do about using it. I am not the word police.
But I have stated that I think we, black people, should stop dropping that word so much, especially considering that it is the last word some of our ancestors heard before they were lynched, raped, whipped or beaten to death.
I understand some people, especially aficionados of rap and hip hop, feel like by using the word they’re taking the power back and out of the word.
I do not understand the concept of taking the word back or the power out of it, especially when someone other than a black person says it, we lose our minds.
If we were taking the power out of the word then it wouldn’t matter who said it.
We wouldn’t care who called us the word.
So last week when the NFL proposed fining players who use that word on the field and in the locker room some people lost their minds.
Players, analysts and pundits said no way, people say all kinds of things in the heat of the battle.
That may be true, but still not an excuse.
Like it or not the ball field and locker rooms are workplaces.
There is certain behavior and certain words that are not acceptable in those places.
Racist, misogynist and homophobic language are all unnecessary and should not be tolerated; neither should excuses for using it.
However, I think fining people in the NFL for the use of the N word is wrong unless you fine them for using other expletives and offensive words.
And for those who oppose the N word fine by saying you don’t want someone else defining how a group of people communicate with each other.
Imagine if white racists said no one should define how white people communicate with each other and therefore they should be allowed to use the N word amongst themselves and on black people.
What if they said they were just using it as a term of endearment to the black people they liked.
Would any black person like that?
I know I wouldn’t.