Perhaps The Evilest Word Ever Uttered By Man
by Phillip Ghee
The other day a co-worker mentioned Dick Gregory. Now this was a name I had not heard in many a year. After musing, in my mind a bit about his well being, if he was still active and the Bahamian Diet; my thoughts turned to a more weighty issue.
Dick Gregory was a true activist and took to the forefront early in the days of the still volatile and formulating Civil Rights struggle. I in no means, by this article, wish to subtract or take anything away from his meaningful contributions. However Dick Gregory as well Richard Pryor and many a well-intended rapper suffered a flaw, albeit, well intended, logic. This flaw has had and continues to have a devastating effect on the African-American community and perhaps on the ‘Peoples of Color’ world wide. It would greatly help the cause if those who fostered this flawed logic would come out and admit its misdoings. Maybe after reading this article they will.
Gregory and the aforementioned others tried to take possession, claim ownership of a word, thus diluting and diffusing its connotative meaning. The logic might have worked if this was just an ordinary word. But the word they were and many are still dealing with is a word of true evil and you can not possess evil. As the Bible admonishes "You can not hold evil to your breast." Evil can not be corrupted into good because evil is corruption.
The word in question is the N-----Word. It is perhaps one of the most powerful of remarkably small number of truly evil words. Once again, I can’t stress it enough, this is not a cuss word, a curse word, bad language or a profanity, it is Evil. It is infectious and it lies so deep within the psyche that many are unaware that they have been poisoned.
Case in point. I was so excited when Jesse Jackson mounted a campaign to urge those in the entertainment industries to stop using the word. Imagine my disappointment when years later he was heard via a live microphone to use the same evil word when upset at what he perceived to be the lecturing of then Presidential hopeful Barack Obama. As I am lecturing now, what would a poisoned yet supposedly enlightened person think of me. All that Mr.Jackson’s eventful history and all he has suffered through and battled against, he still could not erase that evil corruption from his psyche, then what of the common man, Black or White? It is not a word of love when you change the spelling because when that anger surfaces it is still the same word you use when you intend harm to another, the color of yourself.
Pathology: elements that has not been adequately addressed and has been allowed to fester generation after generation and now is dangerously on the brink of being accepted as normal and non-treatable. These elements lie deep below the surface in the interior of the roots and may not be seen for years to come but ultimately that do appear, mostly in rapidly appearing chancre-like sores (murder – assaults – black on black crime – low self esteem – self hate and self debasing behaviors etc.). Once again, it is not a word of love just because you change the spelling and place a mild variation on the accent because when that anger surfaces it is still the same word you use when you intend harm to another, the color of yourself.
Specific Organisms: N-word
Treatment: We must continually implore our local entertainers, DJ’s, radio host and stations to start exercising more restraint.
I grew up in homes (foster homes to be specific) where the N-word was used quite liberally and with great gusto and zeal by all those foster guardians as well as other members in my community. And I could never understand it. When I learned about the history of slavery, somewhere around the third grade; without any church upbringing, I knew this to be a word of evil and counterproductive. Eliminating it from my vocabulary was a simple affair and I just couldn't understand why adults, many with outstanding jobs and titles, could not. Maybe it is more than an evil disease; maybe an evil cancer is a better term. There is only one instance where I even entertain the word and that is mostly in silent meditation when I read Incident by Countee Cullen, as I feel that it properly demonstrates the enormously evil potency of the word.
In closing let me leave you with a lyric from Bob Marley's Redemption Song Lyrics. Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds.