Dear CNN and Don Lemon:
I am old enough to remember a time in which CNN was the place for hard-hitting, insightful news and not the land of slaughtered brain cells it has since become. Of all the things to be discussing right now, why would CNN choose to air a segment that may as well have been called Slur Wars starring 'cracker' and' n*gger'? I wouldn’t be surprised if Anderson Cooper was crying in Ted Turner’s lap right now, horrified that he’s going to literally turn into the troll that’s seemingly inspired CNN’s “bold” new direction that looks all too familiar.
Now, this special was spawned from the Paula Deen lawsuit. However, as her accuser, Lisa Jackson explained in a statement, the issue is bigger than whether or not Blacks should be saying “n*gga” because of the hippity hop. The same goes for whether or not saltine, Ritz, and store brand cracker are equally as offensive as “n*gger.”
As Jackson said in a statement: "This lawsuit has never been about the N-word. It is to address Ms. Deen's patterns of disrespect and degradation of people that she deems to be inferior. I may be a White woman, but I could no longer tolerate her abuse of power as a business owner, nor her condonation of Mr. Hier's despicable behavior on a day-to-day basis. I am what I am, and I am a human being that cares about all races, and that is why I feel it is important to be the voice for those who are too afraid to use theirs."
In other words, why are you people trivializing a serious matter with your sixth grade analysis? I suppose it’s much easier to discuss the semantics of a slur than systematic racism, but that does as much to educate people as eating a can of fruit teaches lessons about healthy living.
For the record, that whole special could’ve been cut down to the following quote from Marc Lamont Hill: "I always find it remarkable that white people find n-word usage such a complicated puzzle. It's not that complicated: Just. Don't. Use It. You just have to accept that there are some things in the world — at least one thing — that you can't do that [Black] people can. And that might just be okay."
But I get it: White privilege is all about doing whatever the hell you want because you’re so used to it. Well, things changed to welcome to the darker side of life. There, problem solved.
Also, for the millionth time, even if you don’t agree with the use of the word as a “term of endearment,” if you’ve passed high school English you should be able to understand that the context in usage varies. Again, you don’t have to like it, but acknowledging its difference is fine.
That leads me to you, Don Lemon and this despicable editorial of yours in which you so audaciously opine: "Have you ever considered that you may be perpetuating the stereotype that massa intended? Acting like a n*gger. Stop acting like n*ggers and saying 'n*gga,' n*gga."
Well, “respectable Black,” massa didn’t even want me to read so you might as well stone me to death for being able to differentiate context and shifts in language, huh?
I hope and pray I never catch Bill Cosby disease, because that brand of self-loathing and uppity point of view makes me want to bury my head in shea butter. If you’re really about going against the wishes of “massa,” why not do your part to discuss institutional racism? Wouldn’t that be far more of a worthy discussion on a huge outlet like CNN versus this trite debate?
The George Zimmerman case proves that every single day in America Black men can be murdered on the streets like dogs and there’s a strong chance the assailant can commit the act without repercussion.
Mayor Mike Bloomberg is showing the world one idiotic, condescending comment at a time that to many, the persecution of Black and brown men and women just for existing on public streets isn’t worthy of real debate.
Worse is the gutting of the Civil Rights Act by the Supreme Court, highlighting just how helpful the legal system is towards perpetuating racism. That, plus all of the states who wasted zero time trying to usher in new voter ID laws to silence the voices of millions of minorities across the country.
That’s massa at work, my n*gga, not some of us paying affection to our folks in a way that displeases you. The last thing Black people need right now is their own speaking down to them because the person doing the finger pointing can’t be bothered to get off his high horse to understand their culture.
Michael Arceneaux is the author of the “The Weekly Read,” where tough love is served with just a touch of shade. Tweet him at @youngsinick.