by Yvette Carnell
Apparently not everyone in the black community wants to listen to another hand wringing, angst ridden news panel about who gets to say the “N” word and why. Some black folks are actually over all the hoopla about the word, a point Ebony writer Michael Arceneaux drove home in his article titled, Dear CNN and Don Lemon.
Arceneaux laments the “sixth grade analysis” employed in the discussion, then goes in on CNN anchor Don Lemon specifically:
That leads me to you, Don Lemon and this despicable editorial of yours in which you so audaciously opine: “Have you ever considered that you may be perpetuating the stereotype that massa intended? Acting like a n*gger. Stop acting like n*ggers and saying ‘n*gga,’ n*gga.”
Well, “respectable Black,” massa didn’t even want me to read so you might as well stone me to death for being able to differentiate context and shifts in language, huh?
Then Arceneaux zeroes in on a point I’ve been mentioning for months, about how this sort of “respectable black” nonsense is about the politics of respectability and black insecurity, not any real desire to help black folks. Arceneaux notes what’s missing from Lemon’s discussion:
I hope and pray I never catch Bill Cosby disease, because that brand of self-loathing and uppity point of view makes me want to bury my head in shea butter. If you’re really about going against the wishes of “massa,” why not do your part to discuss institutional racism?
There’s never any in depth discussion of systemic racism because that requires a bit of heavy lifting. Much easier to discuss how your parents were well to do and a cop called you n*gger one time (somebody get my swooning fan).
With the Voting Rights Act being gutted, Stop and Frisk, unemployment, and everything else, the last thing black folk needed was another discussion on the “N” word.
And Arceneaux is right when he says that the entire segment could’ve been cut down to one quote from Marc Lamont Hill:
“I always find it remarkable that white people find n-word usage such a complicated puzzle. It’s not that complicated: Just. Don’t. Use It. You just have to accept that there are some things in the world — at least one thing — that you can’t do that [Black] people can. And that might just be okay.”
That’s really all we needed. Everything else was black chatter.
Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill and campaign staffer turned writer. She is currently an editor and contributor to Your Black World and Founder of BreakingBrown. You can reach Yvette via Twitter @YvetteDC or on Facebook.