What's In A Word? Revisiting NAACP's Burial Of The N-Word
Remember that time the racial slur was laid to rest?
July 11, 2017 at 3:12 am
Let's be honest, July 2017 is off to a good start. Jay Z dropped an album that completed the Carter-Knowles trifecta of good music (Lemonade, A Seat at the Table, and 4:44) that made some rappers upset, encouraged me to examine my financial future and even reconsider blowing all my money in the strip club. Also, we've been privy to watch Blac Chyna actually tear down the Kardashian empire (I peep the turtleneck), this week is a palindrome week and Laker fans are going crazy for Lonzo Ball. It's a good start to the summer, however, let's take it way back to a date (10 years to be exact) that I'm surprised didn't get any recognition or media coverage.
On July 9, 2007, there was widespread media coverage about a funeral hosted by the NAACP at their 98th Convention in Detroit. Who died, you ask? Who got buried? It wasn't a "who" so much as it was a "what." On this day, the NAACP decided to bury the "N" word for all to see. They even went as far as to have a pine box be carried out by horses. Former Detroit Mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, had a few words:
"Today we're not just burying the N-word, we're taking it out of our spirit. We gather burying all the things that go with the N-word. We have to bury the 'pimps' and the 'hos' that go with it."
This was huge since just two months prior, "shock jock" Don Imus was in hot water for calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed hoes," and was apologizing until he ended up losing his spot at the station. Needless to say, it was a sight to see this full-blown processional happening for the word. In all honesty, I understand what the NAACP was trying to do, as they embarked on eliminating negative portrayals of black people in media at the time. Depending on who you spoke to at the time, some within the community was all for it, and others said it the "N" word much more that day because they didn't believe in it.
FAST FORWARD to 2017
We are 10 years removed from this event and yet, it's still an issue for our community. I wonder the impact that this "funeral" had on our community. Was the goal accomplished? I'd say, not really. Bill Maher was just in trouble not too long ago for saying the "N" word during what he thought was a funny joke. Of course, the apologies came out, and even had people calling for his resignation. Since 2007, there have been many examples of people resigning from positions, student protests on college campuses, and more, due to people using this racial slur. CNN ran a story in 2015 discussing the reason why the"N" word won't "die" when compared to other slurs used throughout the United States. For some strange reason, wypipo and others still feel that they deserve to say the damn word, and are quick to offer the rebuttal that if black entertainers are using it, why can't they? The word is still permeating through hip-hop music, media and more. We have wypipo out here pretending to be black owned businesses and Takeoff really wasn't left off bad and boujee.
At a time where racial tensions are high in Trump's America, what's the next chapter in this word's troubled history?