Everybody is a n***a to a n***a.” - Ice-T
Every so often, the N-word rears its ubiquitous, bloated head and sparks a national conversation.
This time is different and the same, concurrently.
White teenage students of Forsyth County High School Class of 2014 in Georgia have come under intense scrutiny after they plastered their school with the terms “N***a We Made It.” Not only did they drape giant sheets with the phrase, they also marked up windows throughout the institution. A prank, they called it. The students were simply being mischievous and have already been disciplined the school proclaimed as the news started to pick up steam. But, how were they disciplined? Were they spanked like privileged brats? Were they re-conditioned rigorously to not be racist and understand their actions real meaning? Or were they just suspended from school a couple of days and spit back on the streets?
I’d like to know, because these are the future members of our society and a strong indicator of what is breeding inside American schools. So, no this was not a simple prank. This was an overt act of racism, and likely meant to purposely uber ignorant just to get attention. Virgil once proclaimed that “fortune favors the bold” and these kids were bold. And, the color of their skin (and gender) is an awesome indication that they are highly-favored in America. Most high school pranks are done covertly, but with the advent of social media, these attention-hungry parasites wanted credit for their acts. The images spread online before the school officials could take the banners off the exterior of the school.
The scourge of racism is a virus, and like any other virus, it is increasingly resistant to societal efforts to eradicate it. Once upon a time, a white student called a Black student a n***er in a rural school district in Newark, Delaware. That white student found his head crashing into a public school window with the Black student tried to push it through. My friend, the black student, was suspended from school for an extended period, but he was no longer disrespected by his classmate. There was a time where these racial epithets were overt acts of war and, being called a n***a or n***er elicited a mighty response. These days, the old cures for racism no longer are effective and the new strands of the virus are mutating into new forms. Many racists are emboldened these days, like the virus that realizes the cure no longer harms them. But, in the case of black people, the virus is not the real issue.
We, the “cure,” are the real problem. We’ve gotten frail.
Just look at the comments under these articles about the teens at Forsyth County High. You have (presumably) black commenters saying that its OK for white people to use the word n***a because times have changed or because there is an “a” at the end instead of an “er.” We’ve failed to provide an appropriate answer to whites that query “why can’t we use it too?” This is because we’ve lost our way and have mentally wandered back into the “master’s” plantation again.
Maybe I’m old school, but I refuse to allow anybody to call me a n***er. If they do, they will soon be re-educated. And no, it doesn’t have to result in a head getting bashed. For example, I have an Asian friend that truly didn’t know the implication of the n-word from a cultural, historical perspective. Knowing his intention years ago, I simply talked to him and he obliged, understanding my points. If I was a betting man, I’d put money that these Forsyth County students use racial epithets regularly either because the black students didn’t check them or, because they felt powerful enough to withstand the “punishment.” I think the men that killed Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis also gambled with their lives, but I digress.
These incidents are increasing so don’t think that the children we raise won’t be side-by-side with these young vermin that grow up to be old vermin.
In South Orange, New Jersey (not far from Newark) volleyball-playing students were chided for wearing t-shirts that said “The South” with content on the back that revealed a decidedly pro-slavery stance. One person from this school that I spoke to said that their school was the most racist in the state. What an honor
Another incident - even more shocking - went down in Howell, MI. A simple basketball game brought out the worst (or the best, depending on your stance) in people when the “white” team won the game. On social media, some proclaimed, “All hail white power. #HitlerIsMyDad.” Others hashtags included #kkk, #lightthehcross, #rosaparks, #wewhite. Disciplinary action has been levied against the students. I am certain the "action" did nothing.
In 2013, a Brooklyn teacher asked a 13-year-old student if they were a “monkey.” At the time, the Department of Education investigated the matter, which made headlines in the New York area. See, even “liberated” northern cities are breeding this intense racists - right in school. The students at Forsyth County High could have picked any number of songs, including a Drake song like, “Started From The Bottom (Now We Here).” But, no. They decided to use the song that would be highly offensive and controversial to black folks.
Black people have to take a long hard, and potentially painful look in the mirror if we are to reclaim our self-respect and the respect of others. This will definitely include re-assessing how we project ourselves into the mainstream. Certainly, these idiots calling us the N-word isn’t an indication of who we are, but it becomes problematic when we actually adhere to we are what we are called. To me, this is why so many black people are willing to take that “bullet” defending another race’s right to use the term. They actually believe they (and others) are n***as.
Perhaps we should re-christen the 80’s hit “We Are The World” a new song called “We Are The N***as” as a show of our complete loss of backbone - or solidary with our lighter friends. I’m sure Justin (Timberlake or Beiber) will sing the hook. They love our swagger.
And perhaps…just maybe…that is all this is - the age-old rape and pillage of Black Culture. The act is where the proverbial outsider lives vicariously through song lyrics (commercialized, often corny Hip-Hop) and television’s finest programming (think TV's Love & Hip-Hop) to get a glimpse of the good life of a n***a. In reality, these disingenuous individuals are not really blurring racial lines or fostering a deeper understanding between the races. They are just taking advantage of our weakness and we are more-than-willing participants.
Eventually, being a n***a gets tired and these students often go on to become the future lawyers (defenders of n***as), police officers (arresters of n***as) and even teachers (educators of n***as).
The wounds are deep and a Band-Aid simply won’t do.
"Everybody wants to be a n***a, but nobody wants to be a n***a." - Paul Mooney