By Lafe Tolliver, Esq
As many of you may know, I am the part owner of the public opinion survey company known as Gotham Metrics, LLC. We contract out with corporations and small businesses to obtain data that will enhance their business plan and attract favorable opinion to and about their websites.
Lately, due to the racist antics of the podcast darling of the right-wing media, Joe Rogan, we have been asked to ascertain public sentiment regarding public figures and celebrities using the “N” word as a letter or using the full spelling of the “N” word as a means by which certain companies or celebrities can increase their street cred.
As you may have heard, Joe Rogan (formerly the host of the TV program, The Fear Factor and a wrestling commentator) has been exposed in using both the “N” word and the full spelling of that word, many, many times on his podcast. Note: to date, 113 offensive Joe Rogan podcasts have been silently removed. Go figure.
Joe Rogan even embellished his racist tendencies when he said on a podcast that when he went to a Black neighborhood and saw the film, The Planet Of The Apes, he thought he was in Africa!
Yes, Joe Rogan found a match with apes and Black people in that film.
Of course, Joe Rogan did the expected song and dance of being contrite and sorry for using that foul epitaph so many, many times on his radio show and vowed to never to be so offensive again. Note: Big bucks were involved in the public relations of handing this time bomb since Joe has been offered a shocking $100 million dollars to leave the Spotify platform and transfer his racial antics to the ring wing platform called Rumble.
Needless to state, Herr Trump, never a one to shy from “cultural wars” (especially when it takes a whack at people of color) told Joe to stop apologizing to the Lefties and the media because it made him look “weak.”
For a variety of reasons, and all bad, the use of the “N” word and all of its demeaning derivatives, has been a staple in American history for hundreds of years when it was first cast as a symbol of all that was evil, dirty, vile, retched and dehumanizing about people from the continent of Africa who came here and were portrayed as debased non-paid slaves.
What is a most grievous ongoing tragedy is that some Black Americans (sadly, the youth) thought it was cool and hip and ‘with it’, to take that cudgel and slam each other with it to the point that when there is some Black-on-Black crime, the “N” word is hurled as a weapon in the heated interchange of verbal fisticuffs between the combatants.
Now, there is no way, no matter how you try, to cleanse and detoxify that word or the letter that it stands for. Impossible as ice being hot to the touch. Impossible as holding one’s breath for three hours. Impossible as sweet potato pie tasting like brussels sprouts.
Some things are beyond redemption and being cured of its poisonous history. The “N” word is one of them.
Below are some questions my opinion survey company placed before six hundred people to determine their attitudes about the “N” word.
Determine for yourself where we are in America with the continuing use or disuse of that word. Each participant was noted for their race, age and geographic location but those identifying markers were left off these questions.
QUESTION ONE: If your boyfriend/girlfriend called you, “My N****R, would you correct him or her regardless of whether it was said in a public or private space?
QUESTION TWO: You are in a crowded white grocery store and a Black person calls out to a Black friend, “Hey, my “N****R!, would you cringe or simply try to blend into the walls?
QUESTION THREE: Do you think it is appropriate for youth to address each other with the
“N” word instead of their first name?
QUESTION FOUR: When you hear celebrities use the “N” word in a CD or on social media or in a song, do you recoil or simply write it off as they being…artistic?
QUESTION FIVE: If you were up for sentencing before a white judge whom you learned used the “N” word, would you feel comfortable with that person sentencing you?
QUESTION SIX: It is late, and you are driving alone, and you are stopped by a police car and the approaching officer yells, “Hands where I can see them ‘N****R!’” What would you do?
QUESTION SEVEN: When a white person tells you that he or she uses that “N” word because Black people use it amongst themselves, what is your response?
QUESTION EIGHT: Have you quietly, to yourself, used the “N” word when you see observe
certain conduct of Black folks that you deem is despicable or simply foolish?
QUESTION NINE: If you are listening to music and the artist uses the “N” word, do you turn off the song or continue to listen to it?
QUESTION TEN: If some white friends tell you to, “Get over it” about you feeling squeamish about they using the “N” word in your presence, do you go along for the sake of friendship or do you find other friends?
Until Black people quit making lame excuses, artistic or otherwise, regarding their use of the “N” word, why would anything change with the dominant white society changing their attitude about using the word?
How many times have you heard that if you do not respect yourself, why would anyone else respect you? If you label yourself as unworthy, vile and a debased person (as what the “N” word says you are), should you expect better treatment from others than what you are affording yourself?
So, the next time someone uses the “N” word, do not think it is cool, hip or that they
are, ‘with it.’ They are not and you are not when you self-inflict another wound into your psyche without countermanding that word.
Deserve better…demand better and act better.
Contact Lafe Tolliver at firstname.lastname@example.org