Monday, May 29, 2006
Racism and the "N" Word
We fool ourselves if we believe racism is no longer a problem in our communities, our nation and, yes, even in our churches.
I run into evidence of persistent racism and racist attitudes frequently.
The "N" word is alive and well in our culture.
I watched a debate last Saturday on CNN about the use of that offensive term. The debate arose in response to a defense attorney's argument that his white client, on trial for beating an African American person, could not be accused of committing a hate crime simply because he was shouting the term during the attack. The man's lawyer referenced the frequent use of the term by black people in daily speech and in popular music, calling it a "term of endearment."
As a white person, I can never see the term as anything but evil. When I hear it, I cannot remain silent, nor can I ignore it.
I know and I remember where the word came from.
There was nothing endearing about Jim Crow laws and culture.
Racism is evil. Always.
And, let's be clear. Racism is not the same as simple prejudice.
Racism is personal prejudice coupled with the power to impose the determinations of that prejudice on others and on the community. This is the story of Jim Crow.
It is out of this power matrix that the "N" word originates. It is around hateful power that it does its unjust and evil work. Don't be fooled about the importance of this word.
Take a look at this very powerful website:
Be sure to view the photographic "Intro."
Be prepared to be reminded of the reality of America's past. And, remember the powerful images the next time you hear the ugly word.
There is never a joke here.
I pray you won't tolerate its utterance.