Nigger,” a word that has caused pain and alienation to many blacks will be the focus of “What Lies Be ‘N’eath: Visual Manifestations of A Troublesome Word,” a panel discussion that will discuss the historical context of the word.
Heather – Marie Davis, the alumni curator of the panel discussion and art exhibition running now to March 30, said the panel discussion will provide a “variety of views.”
“So many people use the word without historical context,” said Davis, a 2001 FAMU fine arts graduate.
“People should get a view of what it means to different people.”
Davis explained how she didn’t hear the word “nigger” used so commonly until she moved to Florida and when she returned to her hometown, Chicago, she heard blacks and whites using it.
Davis then decided it was time to create a visual forum on the context of the word “nigger” in hopes that people will learn the history behind the word and think twice when they use it.
Although Davis thinks the word “nigger” is “negative,” she stressed that the mission of the panel discussion is not to sway people not to use the word, but to discuss the evolution of it in everyday language.
“The word “nigger” has manifested itself in everyday language, in hip-hop,” Davis said. “We want to discuss the images of what people think when the word nigger is used.”
James Eaton, founder and director of the Black Archives Museum says the word “nigger” originated from Africa.
“The word came from the word niger which means black. It has become a negative word.”
Ayinde Madzimoyo, president of the Student Alliance for Cultural Development thinks the word “nigger” is negative and explained how blacks have attempted to make it positive.
“It’s just another example of how black people have adapted white people’s view of us. Some say it has been turned around for the positive, but we’ve turned around their [white people’s] word. We’re seeing ourselves through their [whites] eyes.”
Madzimoyo thinks the discussion is vital.
“I think it’s important to have a discussion on the topic, but I don’t think the discussion needs to stop at the word,” said Madzimoyo, 20, a junior psychology student from Atlanta. “The word is a representation of more deep seated issues.”
Eaton says he hopes young people in attendance will get a better understanding of the word and how things used to be, because it may be harder for them to understand because of the generation factor.
“It’s really hard for a young person to understand the word…you have to be in your 60s to understand it.”
The panel discussion on “What Lies Be ‘N’eath: Visual Manifestations of A Troublesome Word,” will be held March 29, 1 p.m. in 205 Foster-Tanner.