I am an educator, a paraprofessional working with special education students at an "alternative school site". The kind that may previously have been called "continuation" schools. It's definitely an interesting and fulfilling job.
What I cannot understand is how a black woman, educated more than myself, having obtained multiple degrees, can say the used of the "N" word is socially acceptable. Perhaps I beat her at Scrabble because she doesn't know her root or base words well. This word she thinks is acceptable and claims to be unbothered by, came from the word niggard. What in the world does niggard mean?
Dictionary definition of niggard is:(n) a stingy or ungenerous person. I was raised to believe that somewhere in the definition was reference to ignorance. Her words were, "If anyone should be bothered by it, it should be me". My response was, "That's funny because I find it highly offensive and degrading. Oh and you don't have to be black to be one." Suddenly I had made it a racial issue. Me? When? When I said you don't have to be black to be one? Ridiculous.
This female continued to press the issue and insist I was making it racial. Other staff in the room looked very puzzled.
I find this word offensive because it is degrading to anyone. I do not understand the way the kids throw it back and forth with each other. I hear no Hispanics calling each other "Spic", no Irish calling each other a "Mick", no jews using "Kike". Why choose this word to use almost as a term of affection? I don't know, maybe someone else knows and can explain it to me. If not that's fine, maybe I'll never know or understand it.
What I do know is, when I hear it used I feel indignant. When I hear it used, it's never throw towards me, usually it's back and forth among my students. I wonder if they, the not yet fully educated, without any degrees let alone a high school diploma, realize how they are abusing their friends verbally. I doubt it. How could thy when Miss Multiple Degrees thinks it's acceptable?
Me? I might not have degrees, but I do have a world experience and a mother (passed now) who taught me that the word was unacceptable. A childhood friend whom I used call the "little chocolate" boy while he called my sister and I "vanilla" girls. Innocence with ignorance. Maybe that's what we all need so that nobody makes anything "a Racial Issue".
Maybe I just don't like to hear anyone degrade, humiliate, bully, verbally abuse or demean someone else. Or maybe, just maybe, I enjoy leaving Miss Multiple Degrees with her mouth hanging open after challenging my Scrabble words and finding them legit. Me without degrees, the ignorant one. Maybe I'm ignorant because I don't understand the widespread acceptance of this word and many others.
Oh well, you know what they say, whoever "they" are. Ignorance is bliss.