âCall Me the N-Word, No Biggie!â<br />

‘Call Me the N-Word, No Biggie!’

[OPINION] Jamilah Lemieux says some of us are just too quick to forgive...

Jamilah Lemieux

by Jamilah Lemieux, August 07, 2013

âCall Me the N-Word, No Biggie!â<br />

Riley Cooper and Desean Jackson

will like you.

Think of Don Lemon’s now infamous “Pull up your pants, stop littering and White folks will respect you” speech a few weeks back. The narrative emerges yet again: if we are good, White people will stop treating us badly. Though calling out injustice and requiring those who commit it to actually do the work of righting their wrongs—as opposed to just saying “Sorry, you caught me!”—is very good in my book, it doesn’t bode well with the idea of the Respectable Negro who can order her steps properly to arrive at the Promised Land: White acceptance.

I’ll defer to Ntozake Shange:

“one thing I don’t need is any more apologies I got sorry greeting me at my front door you can keep yours I don’t know what to do with them they don’t open doors or bring the sun back they don’t make me happy or get a morning paper didn’t nobody stop using my tears to wash cars Because a sorry

You can keep turning the other cheek if you wish, but do know that lack of accountability simply sets up the offender to strike you from a new angle. Let us reserve forgiveness (and our willingness to open our arms in embrace) to those who will work for it. 

The Beautiful Struggler is the musing space of Jamilah Lemieux, News and Lifestyle Editor for EBONY.com. Follow her on Twitter @jamilahlemieux

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