THE RED PILL

DIALOGUE AND DISCUSSION ON EDUCATION, ENVIRONMENT AND RACE

 

The Gods must be with us. So much rich material to incite people into action and thinking. The President's visit to Africa, the calling of Michelle Obama a foul name by a white Christian radio host, the racial issues in Texas, CNN's Black in America Part 2 to start airing tonight, and now Louis Gates, the noted Harvard Professor, gets profiled or at least many suggest so.

No matter how hard we want it go away, after all we do have a so-called black president now, the issue and emotions associated with it linger just back in the shade, waiting for the next opportunity to show itself. It may come with black students not being allowed to sit under a tree in Louisiana, or a man getting shot while sitting in his car by so-called white police officers, or a man, after having been imprisoned for 20 years, is found innocent due to DNA tests.

Or the spark may be a world renowned professor getting jacked for breaking into his own house. I watched with interest how Eric Dyson even absent of all the facts spoke in gatling gun staccato words how it just had to be racial profiling. I'm not saying it is, I am not saying it isn't. I am saying it sure is strange that he could talk that long and that fast without any facts except the information reported by the news. What do you think?

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Before this gets way off course and it can, let me be perfectly clear. I have no interest or stake in if people choose to use the word nigger or not. I am not trying to convince anyone of anything in that reference. This is just an exercise in learning. I think the first question I asked was, what was the origin of the word nigger. Barry then responded with a great deal of information.

If one performs the search for themselves they may find similar data. The one telling thing is there is no clear origin of the word. One can only guess. In my 1953 edition of Webster's New World Dictionary the etymology of the word nigger is n. [earlier neger; French negre; Spainish negro; see Negro]. It is then defined as 1. a Negro. 2. a member of any dark skinned people. A vulgar offensive term of hostility and contempt and is used by Negrophobes.

If you then look up the word Negus you will find that the etymology is Amharic, meaning king and it is defined as the title of the ruler of Ethiopia. I attended a seminar at the University of Memphis where the facilitator, an Egyptologist, swears that this is the origin of the word nigger. He said that the word nigger was a parody, a poor and feeble imitation, of the word negus. However there is no conclusive evidence one way or the other.

There is another word in the dictionary, niggard, the etymology of the word is middle english and old norse, meaning stingy. It has also been strongly suggested to me that this is where the word nigger originates.

So what's left are definitions. As Barry post highlighted there are a plethora of negative connotations associated with the word. However this does not address the positive and endearing associations of the word and there are plenty just turn on MTV, BET or VH1.

So are we saying those young people don't have the right to define for themselves? If we are then we are taking away a freedom from them and giving that freedom exclusively to those people who chose to define the word nigger as something negative and that is the object of this exercise. However my last statement is in itself erroneous because you cannot take freedom away from anyone who is already free. The proof is no matter how some of us don't like the use of the word. No matter what metaphors we attach to it, no matter how many rituals we create to bury it as the NAACP did, it will not go away.

The dissonance comes with the fact that a faction of so called black people abhor its use and a faction love and employ its use. Now what really gets crazy is when one faction declares they are right and the other is wrong. I am staying out of that argument. Again I'm for freedom. Lastly, I am saying that the word doesn't mean anything. It is meaningless. People have outline for themselves the definition. There is an old saying from a wise old black man. He said he was in the deep south and went into a restaurant. Te owner said in a loud voice, "We don't serve niggers here." To which the old man replied, "That great because I don't eat them."

I have an 18 year old son who started studying with Mr. Black when he was 12. If anyone, so called black people or so called white people refers to him as a nigger it amuses him to no end. He has no reaction. he is nigger proofed. He will quickly tell you that if you are reactive to that it's because you are "caught up" that's his term for believing what other people say what you must think about yourself.
Mr. Freeman what do you Judged has fueled this incident. Not just what happen at Gates home, the whole Side Show. Any one with a clue please respond.

B. Crittenden Freeman said:
Mr. McDaniels, with your permission...

Mr. Gates went to bed the night before "a human being" and woke up "a human being". The trappings of himself and the "trap" "pings" of the world never changed. (Hmm. Interesting title for a book.. "Trap Pings"). Anyway,I'm glad that Gates got beyond it.

Aaron (Al) Lewis said:
Sammie, thanks for joining. That is funny. How about sharing a little about yourself with us. Oh and by the way you used the word "Nigger". Why not the "N" word? I mean I have no judgment or preference I was just wondering about your personal choice. Some so called black people find it offensive and some declare they will never stop using it.
Sammie that requires a both simple and complex answer. Simple: controversy sells advertisement and the subject of race especially involving the police and an affluent so called black person is alluring, almost too good to pass up. Look at a few months ago when the event dubbed as the greatest civl rights issue of the decade, the Jena 6, jumped off. Now there was a circus for you. No I did not take off work or offer any support to that effort. It was just a fascinating side show to watch and I came away with many observations. By the way what ever happened to that event? OK, I was just being facetious. However, civil rights are not something that stirs me. Human rights is the domain I prefer to dwell in.

Hey it sold air time, little merit as a civil rights issue, but seductive as heck. One of the things I hope we have time to cover in the training is the quest for freedom and the civil rights movement. As to the Mr. Gates affair it appears like people waiting and wanting to be offended. I am not being critical of them it just points out the dire need for intelligent dialogue around race, racism, discrimination, prejudice, bigotry, power and class.

Here is a hint to the wise. In order to construct thought you first have to deconstruct belief. More on that at the traiing.
ok, so we can have a scenario where Nancy Pelosi opens up Congress by saying "My Niggas, I give you the President of the United States"!

The word may or may not have a definitive background is, at this point irrelevant. What is relebant is its impact, usage & intent.

Aaron (Al) Lewis said:
So the etymology of the word is Negro, thus black in Spanish. Apparently is was mispronounced, thus you would hear, negra, nigger or some variation. One thing is for sure no one knows its origins and that's all I ever suggested. All of the rest of the associations have been defined by someone else. The definitions were just made up as time passed. I know for a fact my grand father whom I knew intimately referred to all so called black people as niggers and he was born in 1894 and he was educated. I know he never meant any malcontent by it. So by his definition the word nigger meant something else. I know scores of people even until this day that refer to any person of color, including themselves as niggers, with no ill will. I know people who refer to all human as niggers and they may or may not mean harm.

All my life I have heard and used the word. Depending on the inflection, intonation and context I was able to discern rather it was being used in a positive or negative light. Yet, again I am still talking about definitions. I know the younger generations have yet redefined the word and they use it liberally and one would still have to understand the context to know what definition was being implied.

So we can establish that with all he negativity associated with the word nigger there is also a great deal of affection associated with in as in the term of endearment, "my nigger" . Even the phrase "nigger please" can take on different connotations depending again on the context, inflection and intonation. Just as you posted the negative uses of the word, I can post an equal number of how the word is used affectionately, even to represent love and sometimes it is used while "making love".

One can see right away this can generate a lot of emotion and energy. Yet, all of this is based on someone's definition of a word that no one can tell me where it came from with any authority. That indicates that the person hearing the word has to add their own value to it and by doing so they will have to apply a definition.

I cannot argue an opinion of rather it is right or wrong to use the word. That is personal choice and I am a free person. No one else can tell me what the word means so no one else can define it for me. Wow this gets really interesting. I wonder how many more tags, labels and names we have accepted without proper investigation. In other words have people done the same amount of research on race as they have on the word nigger? However and I maintain that the word doesn't mean anything.
Barry, meanings are always relevant. If not there would be no definitions to follow them. We wouldn't be having this conversation if they were not. What I am stating is that we give an awful lot of power to other people's definitions. I give no power to anyone's definition unless I true it up for myself. By doing so, I can take all the charge off of it just as my 18 year old son has. The intended sarcasm has no impact on him. That is an aspect of freedom. If I am living on this planet, in this world, so sensitive to what other people call me, I would, as I once did, find myself a pin cushion for the thoughts, opinions and beliefs of others. I refuse to be lived that way. Yet, I understand the concept that people are well-defended around their beliefs. The word nigger is just a word that I have little investiture in. I see it for what it is -- nothing, until I make it something.

So, thanks for proving the point that language has way more power over us than we'd care to own or admit. And that's all I was ever suggesting. Now, the point is how can we move beyond allowing someone to define for us? So, if nigger is a "charged" word, I can't wait until we get to Chicago and see the impact when we introduce some real "power" words to the participants.

Again, and I have stated this repeatedly, this exercise is not about if the usage of the word "nigger" is right or wrong. That is relevant only to the receiver. No one person can determine what is offensive for anyone else. If Sister Nancy opened congress with "What's up my nigger?", I am sure a great deal of people would be offended. I'd be amused. What we are getting in now are personal opinions and preferences. My opinion means nothing is this context. All we are interested in is what is and how it came to be.

That is the object of the exercise. There are far more pressing issues at hand than the word "nigger", but as I suggested, this entire conversation around race is seductive. How we approach it presently is largely unfulfilling and almost always controversial. I think that when real understanding is infused into the dialogue, the charge will lighten considerably. Of course, I'd preempt the training if I went into the core on this forum.

Thanks for your courage and your ideas.

Much respect,
Al
Oh and I have been corrected, Negro is NOT the etymology of the word nigger.
Al, not meanings being relevant, my statement was "definitive background" is irrelevant. The definitive background of the word "nigger" is irrelevant.
Hi Sammie, long time no chat with! How are you and yours? All's fine on my end.

I'm unsure as to what you're asking. Can you please specify? Thanks.

Sammie James McDaniel jr. said:
Mr. Freeman what do you Judged has fueled this incident. Not just what happen at Gates home, the whole Side Show. Any one with a clue please respond.

B. Crittenden Freeman said:
Mr. McDaniels, with your permission...

Mr. Gates went to bed the night before "a human being" and woke up "a human being". The trappings of himself and the "trap" "pings" of the world never changed. (Hmm. Interesting title for a book.. "Trap Pings"). Anyway,I'm glad that Gates got beyond it.

Aaron (Al) Lewis said:
Sammie, thanks for joining. That is funny. How about sharing a little about yourself with us. Oh and by the way you used the word "Nigger". Why not the "N" word? I mean I have no judgment or preference I was just wondering about your personal choice. Some so called black people find it offensive and some declare they will never stop using it.
Peace Barry. we are on the same accord.
I was just thinking. Years ago right after the Racial Healing Event in Chicago we created a list serve called The Kitchen and sometimes things got hot, that's why we called it that. I remember posting a thought I had about Carl Jung and projection.

The concept of the shadow is used in some modern initiation processes right? So if you take the concept of shadow, those things about ourselves that we repress, deny, cast off, don't love, find contemptible and consequently project onto others, doesn't it make logical sense that the very people who came to define the negative characteristics of the word nigger would themselves be projecting their inner painful judgments of themselves onto someone else? Then, what would that make them?

Could it then be conceivable that when someone refers to me as a nigger they are inadvertently trying to focus their inner pain onto me to hold for them? So. what if I choose not to hold it for them? That is what I chose to do. That thought allowed me a choice; that choice provided me with an aspect of freedom. Thus, the word holds no power over me for I know from whence it came.
Hey Barry we're" hanging in there" today. To make myself "clear" I judge "racism" may have had little or nothing at all to do with the initial incident.As Al alluded to in his last post IMJ the "shadow of racism" was driving ,from the moment Gates open the "door" to the "beer summit".
ok. I think I can better answer. And my answer is "i'm unsure". I still need to know what exactly happened, words exchanged and all when Dr. Gates and Officer Crowley interacted. Then I can decide what "prejudices" (pre-judgements) were at play.

BTW, did anyone catch Larry King with the Police Offier who used the expression "Banana-Eating Monkeys"? And then he lied about "not knowing why he said what he said! Of course he knew exactly why he wrote those words. nd yes, his "prejudices" (his pre-judgements) came out. And he couldn't own them and then learn from them and then begin the process of letting them go. So, therefore, he can't be trusted (in my book, at least).

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