Let’s talk about the “N” word. Who doesn’t use the word? Florida A&M’s Collegiate 100 Black Men of Tallahassee and SISTUHS, Incorporated exposed the powerful word during an open discussion on Wednesday. The “N” word has many connotations associated with the history of the U.S.
Whether the connotation is good or bad, every American is familiar with the term. The panel discussion, “That’s My Nigga: Open Discussion about the “N” Word,” was meant to broaden FAMU student’s perspective of commonly used language. What better example than the “N” word? As controversial as the word is, members of the panel discussed how the word has developed over time. The panel emphasized how the “N” word, a term once demeaning, has become a term of endearment. The discussion was conscious raising and relevant, but the “N” word is subjective and can be confusing.
The panelist hoped to inspire students to think critically about the language they use.
“This discussion was meant to empower students to determine the context that the word serves in their life”, said panelist Locas Melton a graduating senior from Columbus, Ga. Students seemed to be engaged in the discussion.
Cedrick Allen a second-year criminal justice major from West Palm Beach said, “It was a great event and impressive that students organized the event.”
Many students had developed their own context of the “N” word. Host, Jaronn Goodman a fourth-year business administration student from Lakeland, Fla., and Collegiate 100 member was pleased with the turn out.
“Our purpose was not to dictate the use of the “N” word but to help students become conscious of their use of the word and how other people use the word as well”, Goodman said.
Freedom to express one’s self is important but how we express ourselves is also important. Contexts and definitions are not all that should be considered when using the “N” word. Consciousness of one’s identity gives meaning to the language one uses. African-Americans have historically been oppressed and forced into subordinate positions that they have fought to overcome by assimilating into a dominant culture and have consequently adopted racist attitudes and language. Using the “N” word as an endearment is a personal choice but developing a historical context for the words a person uses is essential.