It was recently brought to my attention that a woman developed a graduate school project out of the use of what is politely referred to as "the N word" in America. When she made the presentation of her thesis proposal to a panel of white professors, way back in December of 2006, it was suggested that she needed to find a positive aspect of the word because it has been included in classic poems. The very notion of educators suggesting that some "positive aspect" be found to the word really made me snort a laugh. It would be easier to find positive application to "nazi" or "bitch" or "whore". Let's start up a survey to find all the nice and sunny ways to apply the word "cunt". Think of the target as a loved one, that should help, right?
We are dealing with a word and mindset that has come to target an easily identifiable group of people, kept at the lowest of social classes (during slavery, institutionally quantified as only three-fifths of a person), with a weapon whose use is to drive them even lower still in their own hearts and minds and in those of anyone within earshot. These are words that have grown from descriptive tools into weapons used to demean and insult. Unlike other words, with their fluid and complex definitions, challenging the choices that people make or don't make, the dreaded "N-word" strikes the nature of how a person was born. Whatever else you make of yourself, you're always either a star-bellied sneech or a plain-bellied sneech and that's the only way some people will ever want you to be seen. For a truly thorough oppressor, it's not enough for them to put you down. They want you to feel and believe that you deserve nothing else. It helps keep the oppressed in their place, otherwise they start getting uppity...and not in a positive way.
The closest thing I've ever found to a positive aspect for this weighty word, was that it too seemed to start as a simple descriptive: "negger" is German for "plowman". With all the immigration going on way back when, German was as popular and common as Spanish is. In fact, when the time came to vote on it, German ran a very close second to English as our national language (if anyone was still wondering about some of the things that slowed our entry into WWI). Anyway, since it was still your great-great-grandfather's calendar on the wall, it should take little imagination to see how in America "plowman" could be tied so readily to "black man" a couple of centuries ago. The Germans apparently didn't think that way, though, or the name "Schwarzenegger" probably wouldn't exist. Why go to the trouble of a mouthful like that if you already associated "schwarze" ("black") with "negger". I gather that it must've been uncommon, as there were probably not a lot of black plowmen in Germany or Austria at the time. There may be one in the California governor's ancestry, but probably one of the few.
Regardless, no I'm not a user. No matter how cool and en vogue the word becomes, it still sounds like a fight starter to me. I'd give a more positive reaction to someone throwing a rock at me, really. I don't check whether a belly is starred or not. I know the rock or the word came from a sneech and it stings the same. The weapon doesn't care who's wielding it. Maybe, just maybe, one day the whole sneech population (that being "We the People") will grow beyond the divisive level of fear-anger-hate mentality, both internally and externally that seems to have turned this word into a weapon and continues to fuel its use. Then, we can work on helping each other along, instead of trying to tear each other and ourselves down. It truly is important. Until we get to the point where we're all Free, none of us is.
Thanks for your time.