Business…here’s a piece on LaDainian Tomlinson, the passer.
So I’ve seen that a lot of people are using Michael Richards’ kirk-out on stage as a time to relaunch discussion on black people using that n-word. I only write “n-word” because I don’t want to deal with semantic arguments over the different connotations of the word based on differences in pronunciation that wouldn’t be indistinguishable if someone were speaking with a retainer in his or her mouth. But you know exactly what I’m talking about.
As many of you know, I say that n-word a lot. I’m unapologetic about it, and I’ve blogged about it quite a bit. I must admit, though, that I’ve spent a lot of time lately with a non-curser, and it has kinda made me rethink some of my language.
Oh yeah, I cuss a lot, too. To the point where when my mother e-mails my blog posts to her friends, she offers a caveat about the foul language that’s going to be in the post. Note–it’s no fun when you embarrass your mother, no matter the level of the embarrassment.
I find that I use that n-word a lot because it fills certain sentences perfectly. When I use it, it’s because I think it’s the perfect word to convey what I’m thinking and feeling at a given point in time. More accurately, it registers the effect from the listener I’m looking for.
And that’s the part that makes me think. No matter what anyone says, there is no positive connotation to the word. None. At best, someone using it intends it to be viewed innocuously, but there’s no way at all to make it a nice thing to say. Anyone that says that is lying, simple as that.
So is it time for me to chill out on that? It’s entirely possible. i don’t mean anything by it, but I do have to acknowledge that it offends a lot of people. And I do believe that people have the right to be called what they want and not called what they don’t want. That’s also pretty simple.
So how do I continually rationalize saying the word a few dozen times a day? Right now, I’m really not sure.
I’m sure of one thing, though–hearing Michael Richards say it didn’t make me rethink a thing. There’s nothing similar to what he was saying and what I’d say when using that n-word. The problem with him wasn’t the slur. It was the intent behind it, which involved a strange and, perhaps, Freudian references to sticking forks in anuses. That was just too much, and it’s mostly unrelated to what I’m thinking about.
I’m thinking about whether the benefits of driving home a sentence are enough to offset how inherently problematic the word really is. Perhaps the people using it aren’t really causing a problem, nor do they intend to, but we can’t do nothin’ but trace this to something not cool.
Anyway, that’s a consideration. But get ready for the sad part…
Perhaps the toughest way that would hurt me would be the effort expended finding a replacement in the vocabulary. I can’t think of a word that would fill the same role.
That there is a problem. Maybe my decision’s been made for me.
We’ll see how it goes.
No promises yet. Just thinking out loud.