“Die N-Word”

Those were the words of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who yesterday participated in an NAACP ceremonial "burial" of the racial epithet, complete with pine coffin and eulogies.

Is the NAACP alienating itself from younger African Americans by excoriating a term commonly reappropriated in rap lyrics? The group’s chairman, Julian Bond, told the Associated Press that younger members of the board were responsible for planning the event. Indeed, there is a movement within hip hop and pop culture to stop using the word: Check out Abolish the "N" Word and these comments from comedian Dave Chappelle. But politically-engaged progressives who critique the term are often accused of preaching from a place of class privilege.

Are women more likely to embrace the c-word to describe their sexual anatomy if they don’t live a life where they’re slurred with the term? And how about "queer?" There’s a word that, for its adherents, has a much broader meaning than the terms "gay" or "lesbian," or even "LGBT." "Queer" represents a willingness to bypass fixed categories of gender and sexuality entirely. Has this word lost its sting?

–cross-posted at TAPPED

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>