Let's go to a dark place for a moment...
I have been busy getting ready for a talk at the Chicago Comic Book and Entertainment Expo so I have been absent the last few days. So, a quick thought for the weekend:
I love Brother Richard Pryor's classic routine on the word nigger. He went to Africa and had a transformative moment of critical self reflection: there are no niggers. The word is an ugly, debasing, and foul thing that has been used to dehumanize black people. My parents were devotees of Richard and as is required for respectable negroes I was raised to rarely if ever use that word. With that allowance, I also do not like the immaturity of its contemporary substitute, "the n-word." It is childish.
We have so policed our language that to utter the dreaded "n-word" even in context is considered a hostile act, one anathema to civil discourse. For example, my students look aghast when I say "nigger" while reading a text in which it was used, or repeating what the tea baggers yelled at Representative John Lewis. My logic? We need to hear the ugliness of a thing in order to understand the hatred behind it. We need to read it aloud when printed so that we can grapple with how white supremacy has been the norm in this society.
But, what of people whose behavior fits the word? (I will leave those criteria up to you)
More specifically, what of folks whom at one time would have been called "Uncle Toms" or "Handkerchief Heads?" Does the dreaded "n-word" describe them? The new age slave catchers? Do they fit the bill?
And being really provocative, and also because I have been playing with this so taboo idea, are black apologists for the Tea Party's racism the white man's niggers? Is Thomas Sowell (who says that John Lewis is a liar) one? Is Ward Connerly, black Judas that he is, a white man's nigger?
From The National Review:
The national debate about health-care insurance has underscored one indisputable fact: In every way imaginable — socially, ideologically, culturally, politically, and financially — the American public is profoundly divided. There is one area of division that is starker, more enduring, more contentious, and with greater potential to leave lasting scars than others; and that is the area of race. Each of the other factors of American life intersects with race, thereby compounding its effect upon all Americans.
If I have learned one thing from life, it is that race is the engine that drives the political Left. When all else fails, that segment of America goes to the default position of using race to achieve its objectives. In the courtrooms, on college campuses, and, most especially, in our politics, race is a central theme. Where it does not naturally rise to the surface, there are those who will manufacture and amplify it.
Such is the case with the claims that the “Tea Partiers” are a bunch of racists and that many of them spat upon members of the Congressional Black Caucus and called them “n*****s.” I am convinced beyond any doubt that all of this is part of the strategic plan being implemented by the Left in its current campaign to remake America.
In a video that has been played repeatedly showing CBC members as they walked past the tea partiers, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is seen using his telephone to tape the event. If he had any evidence to corroborate the racial claims, why hasn’t he come forward with his phone by now to settle this matter? I believe we all know the answer.
I agree with earlier Corner posts on the matter: By their reckless accusations, those who are alleging “racism” without evidence are doing inestimable harm to the social fabric of America.