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Old 05-30-2006, 08:11 AM   #1
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New And Improved Defense For Racism

I'm being sarcastic just to make that clear. I saw a story about this on CNN. Hmm, so now some white people are going to justify using the N word because rappers and hip hop stars use it, in a "pal" way? He said it with an "a" before he beat the guy with a bat, so hey all is forgiven

Not to mention the fact that many African Americans don't approve of anyone using that word and don't agree that by using it themselves they are taking the racist power away from it.

BY JOHN MARZULLI and BILL HUTCHINSON
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

The Rev. Al Sharpton wants to testify that the N-word is never a term of endearment - refuting the claims of Howard Beach hate crime defendant Nicholas (Fat Nick) Minucci.

In a letter sent yesterday to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, the activist minister offered to be an expert witness on the vile racial slur.

"To try and recast that word is not only a rewriting and distorting of history, it's an insult to black people," Sharpton told the Daily News yesterday.

The reverend's pitch was spurred by the 19-year-old defendant's claim that in hip-hop lexicon the N-word is a friendly greeting.

But prosecutors contend Minucci's use of the word before he allegedly pummeled African-American Glenn Moore with an aluminum bat was charged with racial hatred.

In a March jailhouse interview with News columnist Denis Hamill, Minucci begged to differ on how he used the N-word during the June 29, 2005, attack.

"There's a very big difference in the hip-hop world that I come from between 'n---a,' which is a greeting, and 'n---er,' which is racist," said Minucci, who is white. "'What up, n---a?' is like saying, 'What's up, pal?'"

But in his letter to Brown, Sharpton said the N-word is vile and degrading - whether it ends in -er or -a.

"I'd be more than willing to take the stand to explain the history and current connotations of the N-word," wrote Sharpton, who led a motorcade through Howard Beach, Queens, after the attack on Moore.

"If Minucci had referred to an Asian-American as a 'g--k' or a Jewish person as a 'k--e' before savagely beating him, he'd be laughed out of the courtroom if he claimed he was using the word as a welcoming gesture," Sharpton said.

Brown could not be reached for comment on Sharpton's letter. Minucci's attorney Albert Gaudelli did not return calls.

Sharpton said he was concerned that if Minucci is acquitted on hate crime charges it could make it harder to bring such charges against people who use the slur.

"It would be creating a climate that somehow that term would be sanitized," Sharpton told The News.

Minucci's Queens Supreme Court trial began May 22. A jury of five blacks, four whites and three Latinos will decide the fate of Minucci, who faces up to 25 years behind bars if convicted.
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Old 05-30-2006, 08:11 AM   #2
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http://www.abolishthenword.com/

"Inspired while listening to a local radio show Lisa Evers "Street Soldiers" about the use of the N word, as well as seeing positive images during Black History month yet hearing negative lyrics in songs we experienced conflict, frustration and an overwhelming sense to "do something". We are using the billboard effect of t-shirts, the internet and the contract idea that Oprah uses on her show to pass on information and strengthen the commitment to this movement.

As a small group of Brooklynites who grew up during the original old school era of hip hop, we remember when rap songs never used the "N" word or profanity for that matter. We remember referring to our friends as homeboy and home girl. And we were still cool. We remember the airing of "Roots" and the sting of hearing the "N" word on national television for the first time. Now we ask ourselves what happened. What happened in our community that the "N" word is tossed around freely in everyday language? When the use of it makes you cool, down, accepted.

Our community has come full circle as we extend an invitation to others to call us the “N” word as well and we answer with a smile. Our ancestors must be rocking in their graves. The “N” word is not a term of endearment. It cannot be reapropriated. We cannot redefine the “N” word or re-spell it to make it positive. Racism is so subtle, we now think that we can embrace the “N” word and take away its power. However, not enough time has passed for this concept to be effective. The word is viewed as a racial slur at large, it will continue to be so until it is put away for a generation, and then maybe it can be embraced at such time in a historical context.

Until the pain of this word no longer lingers in society for any of us, we cannot continue to use the “N” word. Every time we use the “N” word it is a slap in the face of our elders and a blatant disrespect to our ancestors. We have not only lost our minds, but we’ve lost consciousness.

The dependency of this word as a greeting, to complete sentences and start conversations is a total disregard for every movement that gave us the many freedoms we enjoy today. This site is our answer to a call to duty. We now challenge you to make a personal commitment and join us in the movement to abolish the “N” word."
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Old 05-30-2006, 11:55 AM   #3
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the problem... not in this case, that's just a silly excuse by a desperate lawyer... but in society as a whole is that the use of the word as a term of enderment is rampant in hip-hop culture... and as the hip-hop culture takes over more and more of the mainstream, younger kids don't neccesarily see the word as an evil word... because they hear it so often in popular culture.

i understand the theory behind the use of the word... to "take the word as our own." but two things are going wrong... many young white kids now think it's ok to use the word ad nauseum, and it's tossed around sooooo much in rap music that the entire basis behind trying to "take the word" is pretty much lost.

i think a great example when discussing the "n-word" is richard pryor, who used to toss the word around like candy... but vowed to never use the word again after a trip to africa.
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Old 05-30-2006, 11:59 AM   #4
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The language circus is an unfortunate side track to the core issue - a person was beaten with a bat! Trying to make this crime better or worse based on a word and how it was uttered misses the forest for the trees.
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Old 05-30-2006, 12:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
The language circus is an unfortunate side track to the core issue - a person was beaten with a bat! Trying to make this crime better or worse based on a word and how it was uttered misses the forest for the trees.
So motive shouldn't matter?
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Old 05-30-2006, 12:10 PM   #6
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How much more intent do you want? There doesn't seem to be a defense that the beating was accidental.
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Old 05-30-2006, 12:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Headache in a Suitcase
the problem... not in this case, that's just a silly excuse by a desperate lawyer... but in society as a whole is that the use of the word as a term of enderment is rampant in hip-hop culture... and as the hip-hop culture takes over more and more of the mainstream, younger kids don't neccesarily see the word as an evil word... because they hear it so often in popular culture.

i understand the theory behind the use of the word... to "take the word as our own." but two things are going wrong... many young white kids now think it's ok to use the word ad nauseum, and it's tossed around sooooo much in rap music that the entire basis behind trying to "take the word" is pretty much lost.

i think a great example when discussing the "n-word" is richard pryor, who used to toss the word around like candy... but vowed to never use the word again after a trip to africa.
All very true. I know a lot of white kids who say the N-word (not around african americans...or at least I hope not). They think it's cool and funny, because they are exposed to Dave Chapelle and hip hop, which uses it too casually. It's a serious issue that needs to be discussed...the word should not be used, black or white, casual or serious.
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Old 05-30-2006, 01:03 PM   #8
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Offensive words should be rendered harmless through repetition and mass usage.

Look at the words "cracker", "honky", "whitey" and "white boy". Any white people here offended by those words, as they are printed? Not me. I can't think of one single epithet relating to my race (white) that offends me, which is rather "empowering", to use a Dr. Philism.

Naturally, context is the key here, which is the point BVS made with regard to the Howard Beach crime. Calling someone a "white boy" while beating him with a bat is a hate crime which should be prosecuted, obviously, but this avoids the issue.

Using the word "my nigga" as a slang term in reference to one's friends, regardless of the race of the person using it, is hardly criminal, nor should it be offensive.

At the same time, I know many gay people here in San Francisco who consciously call themselves "fags" and "queers", with the intent to weaken the sting these words have caused in the past.

Being overly sensitive to racial epithets only gives more power to those who wish to use them to hurt.
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Old 05-30-2006, 01:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2democrat
It's a serious issue that needs to be discussed...the word should not be used, black or white, casual or serious.
I agree that it should not be used. I remember starting a thread after Richard Pryor died about what he said about the use of the word, maybe someone can look for it if anyone's interested.

After visiting the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis the use of the word is more offensive to me than it ever was, and I didn't think that was possible. The original context in which it was used supercedes all other contexts and any and all attempts to reduce it's power on the part of rappers, etc. when you visit a place such as that. And for me it does anyway even without a stark reminder such as that museum.

People were never lynched or kept out of schools and public places, forced to the back of a bus, murdered by coward bastards in pointed hoods, for being honkies.
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Old 05-30-2006, 02:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
People were never lynched or kept out of schools and public places, forced to the back of a bus, murdered by coward bastards in pointed hoods, for being honkies.

You actually make my earlier point, which is that certain words are given too much power.

Some Latino kid refers to his friend as "my nigga", and this is supposed to conjure up 500 years of slavery and abuse? That's an overreaction.

Original word contexts are always being superceded, whether we want them to be or not. Look at the transformation of the word "gay", for example.

"Damn" and "hell" were considered very offensive words not too long ago, now they are used commonly, without too many people getting upset. "Shit" is heading in the same direction (the word "shit" I mean... please, no jokes).

Words are intrinsically meaningless. Name-calling is only effective if its victims infuse these words with the power to offend.


"You can't be racist by talking -- only by acting"

- Louis Farrakhan
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Old 05-30-2006, 02:13 PM   #11
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Isn't it up to individual people to decide whether or not they feel offended by a word?

I have been friends and acquaintances with enough Israeli Jews to know that some of them will call anti-Semitism whenever they hear the mildest criticism of Israel and some of them would almost be branded anti-Semitic themselves for the statements they make. They run the gamut, based on their own personal experiences and so on.

So why should a white guy tell a black person they shouldn't be offended? Or that they're overreacting?

If something doesn't offend you, great. If it does, fine. That's not up to another person to decide for you.
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Old 05-30-2006, 02:17 PM   #12
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i agree with many points in here, but the fact remains that the color (or gender, or sexual orientation) of the person saying the word does matter, whether we think that's fair or not.

there's a big difference between refering to myself as a "homo" versus a stranger calling me a "homo" versus a good friend calling me a "homo."

i don't think we can ever responsibly divorce ourselves from the histories of many of these words because they have been used in the past not just to denigrate but also to increase the physical and psychic domination of one race (or gender, or religion) over the other. the reason why anti-white slurs don't have the level of offense that their multi-culti counter parts do is that, due to history, we simply do not have a historical grand narrative of anti-white oppression in this country, unless we are talking about white-on-white discrimination. and this is why the N-word is, generally speaking, the nastiest word in American english: history.

in an indivdiual context, i think that words like "queer" and "my nigga" can be used without any harm, but i don't feel as if the public sphere is the same.
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Old 05-30-2006, 03:02 PM   #13
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A lot of it also depends on the context where we live. Most of y'all posting here live in more progressive, tolerant areas.


I live in the capital of the Confederacy...there are still plenty around here who believe that the Civil War is still going on (heck even my next door neighbors). I guess that's why I could be a bit more sensitive to the N-word...wounds are still open around here.
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Old 05-30-2006, 03:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
How much more intent do you want? There doesn't seem to be a defense that the beating was accidental.
I didn't say intent, I said motive.

The beating has been established.

But was this a crime of revenge, buglary, or based purely on skin color or sexuality?
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Old 05-30-2006, 03:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2democrat
I live in the capital of the Confederacy...there are still plenty around here who believe that the Civil War is still going on (heck even my next door neighbors). I guess that's why I could be a bit more sensitive to the N-word...wounds are still open around here.


this is a good point. my BF is from a very conservative small town outside of Memphis, and he grew up around the very casual and very hateful use of the N-word, his grandmother used the word "boy" when addressing a black man, etc. he and some of his friends who have since moved out of the area have a very visceral reation to the word because it reminds them so much of that deeply felt, highly lived-in, entrenched racism.
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