Overall, we’re very fortunate that most of the feedback we get about this issue of the N-word and our site is overwhelmingly positive and supportive. The primary question we get consistently asked on the BN-W site, however, is listed first below.
(1) Why does the “BN-W Mainstay Philosophy” have all the racially derogatory slang terms spelled out except for the N-word – why doesn’t it get spelled out too, what makes the N-word any different (or special) from the other racially derogatory slurs listed?
The site revolves around and is all about the N-word; this word is spelled out numerous times in different places and different ways throughout the eNewsletters. Upon reading a few of the eNewsletters that would be very clear, so there’s no need to spell it out with the other derogatory slang terms listed as the BN-W Mainstay Philosophy. Additionally, everyone knows the “N-word” because of its intentionally marketed prominence in entertainment. No doubt, the Blacks who use it are part of the problem; but the bigger part of the problem is those who allow its marketing through music, song, dance, video, and comedy. Most artists will do whatever to get paid — and frankly if they’re told NOT to use the N-word they won’t (especially if it will impact getting paid). We all know that. So the preoccupation with the marketing of a negative Black image by the entertainment industry owners and executives remain as the bigger concern in our opinion. Why do they so willingly want to participate in campaigns to market such imagery of Black men and women? We’d love for the N-word to get the same treatment as the other racially derogatory slang terms – which would mean that there would be NO corporate mass marketing of the N-word in particular, just as no other racially derogatory word is intentionally mass marketed globally, right? If the N-word were part of the “do not mass market on a global scale” club, there would be nothing to complain about, right?
In conclusion, no one knows the K-word, the H-word(s), the W-word(s), the S-word, the C-word(s), the P-word(s), the G-word(s), and so on. But because of the very long history of enslavement – and the dehumanization process to justify it – as well as the continued racism in America today along with the use of the word through that peculiar and unusually aggressive mass marketing technique, everyone surely knows the N-word. So the ability to be “equally balanced” when it comes to derogatory slang terms is virtually impossible. The N-word really has no equal.
[For us at BN-W, a side note to this FAQ is that even something that’s as derogatory as this word is to Blacks, that you have individuals who would put us into a category of wanting to be “special” because we choose not to spell it out within our “mainstay philosophy.” So can you understand now how easy it was for people of that mindset (along with guns and laws) to co-opt, steal, takeover, and falsify the many powerful things in our heritage and legacy and try to make it theirs?]
(2) How does the media, education system, and entertainment industry play a role in the global mass marketing of the N-word?
We can only answer this question with some more questions: since the media plays such a crucial part in the reporting/marketing of images, who are the owners and executive/upper management of the major mainstream media (network television, cable, newspapers, magazines, etc.)?; since education is also crucial, who are the administrators responsible for putting the curriculum together from Kindergarten through 12th grade and then who has primary control at the college through post graduate level in deciding what’s elective versus mandatory courses, especially when it comes to world history; and since entertainment is another crucial part of the American way or lifestyle, again, who are the owners, executive/upper management, and marketing teams that decide how to best market/promote their talent and material for maximum profit? Why is the historical context of the N-word overwhelmingly downplayed in the media? Why is this word not shunned by educators when used in schools and why is the history of this word as it relates to African enslavement in America primarily not taught through the education system? Why do the owners and executive/upper management allow this one particular well known derogatory slang term – that was used to dehumanize Africans and keep chattel slavery in full force – to be mass marketed on an international level within theentertainment industry? Here’s a perfect example of a high profile case that got immediate action and results to have a derogatory slang term REMOVED from all future distributions: Michael Jackson was told to redo his song, They Don’t Care About Us, because he used the Jewish derogatory term – KIKE. Why would that word get a forced removal yet somehow the N-word use through music, song, dance, video, and comedy gets the greenlight for free-reign use and international marketing? Who in the entertainment industry decides to selectively choose which derogatory term gets to be mass marketed on an international level and which ones will be completely kept out of all forms of media, education, and entertainment? Who in the educational field decides it’s okay for students to walk around the school halls and classes using the N-word with no consequences and who decides that teaching the history of this word and all that’s associated with it is not to be done? Who in the media decides to primarily report the negative images associated with the use of this word that, ironically, results from the miseducation through this very educational system along with the marketing tactics utilized through the entertainment industry to promote this negative image? These are the critical questions that need to be answered – and then the reasons analyzed; and then from there we’ll all know how to proceed.
(3) What needs to be done to improve the educational system so that it properly reflects world history and the contributions of all groups?
It will take a complete makeover and a massive re-education process (that also includes teaching the educators because most of them have little to no knowledge on the true facts of world history). The entire American educational school system needs to be changed to include a curriculum that fully covers the accurate and true history of America’s beginnings – from stealing the land from Native Americans (through trickery, deception, and death) to the whole dehumanization process of stealing free Africans, forcibly and brutally bringing them to and enslaving them in the New World (which officially became the independent America in 1776), and then the mental, physical, verbal, and spiritual conditioning that took place, which enabled America to be built into what it is today. An agenda such as this would not only educate us all more fully but it would tremendously improve race relations because we’d all appreciate everyone’s contributions to the world. As it stands right now, most students (and educators) are only taught to favor, respect, and primarily know the European contributions – be it stolen or legitimate – which is to everyone’s disadvantage because it’s extraordinarily disingenuous, misleading, and falsified. It’s terrible when a group doesn’t know their history, but it’s just as bad when another group is deceived into thinking their history is something it’s – quite simply –factually not.
(4) Isn’t the word “Black” just as negative as the N-word?
No, absolutely not! Before we explain the history, we’d like it to be clearly known that we prefer the use of African to describe ourselves, not only because it more accurately reflects where our ancestors came from historically but because that’s where all human creation and civilization began (regardless of the seeds of doubt that school books and society try to plant in all of us). We at BN-W often use “Black” in our writings because that term is more inclusive of all descendants of Africa, whether you consider yourself African, African American, Caribbean, South American or Asian (search for Chancellor Williams and the Black Consciousness IQ Test in the BN-W Resource Directory for more on the large population of Blacks in Asia). Unfortunately, many of us are not yet ready to connect to our African heritage and legacy – but we’re getting there – so for now Black is an inclusive term that has extremely powerful and strong origins that’s not problematic in any way to use in describing the “sleeping giants”; and it also provides no excuse for some to disconnect or tune out because everyone can relate to Black. Now, onto a brief explanation of the word “black.”
As we’ve indicated in our eNewsletters, Egypt was renamed to such by the Greeks when they entered the already-thriving dynasty. Kemet is the original name of Egypt before the renaming. According to “Ancient Egypt: Art and Archaeology,” which is published by The American University in Cairo Press, “Kemet was the name the ancient Egyptians [Kemetians] gave to their land: black land, fertile land, the gift of the gods and the deified river Nile.” This is a very significant acknowledgment from this book because for much of the book, like so many others, you have to read between the lines – and, as usual, read other sources to fill in the blanks, missed, and misleading information. Our Kemetian ancestors called themselves the Black people who were of the Black land – rich and fertile. Now, what’s lacking in power about that?
Another more detailed breakdown of the legacy of this word and how it was transformed from an African positive into an American negative (via educational instruction and marketing techniques) is the essay, “On the Color Black,” written by Anthony T. Browder and taken from his book of essays entitled “From the Browder File: 22 Essays on the African American Experience.” Following are some excerpts: “African Americans have been programmed to think that black is something to be ashamed of. It’s strange that the people who gave the world culture, science, religion and civilization know so little about their ancestral heritage. All we have to do is study our history and the perceptions that we have of ourselves will change instantaneously….[Black] is one of the most powerful colors in existence. Our ancient African/Egyptian [Kemetian] ancestors oftentimes placed black capstones on their pyramids and obelisks because of the powers inherent in the color black. Some of the world’s most sacred icons, including statues and other images, reflect the African reverence for the color black. Shrines of the Black Madonna can be found throughout all of Europe. The large block of stone in Mecca called the Ka’ba is a black monolith of extreme importance to the Islamic community….The facts are very plain. Black has alwaysbeen, and will continue to be, a source of power and influence….The scientific, religious and social uses of the color black are based on the time-tested evidence regarding the usefulness of that color. Black is a generator of energy….The way we perceive blackness has changed drastically over the past 6,000 years. What once was good is now thought of in a negative light. The negative distortion of blackness even applies to the foods that we eat. Think about it the next time you eat a slice of devil’s food cake; it is black. Angel food cake, on the other hand, is as white as the driven snow. We must eliminate the idea in our minds that black represents evil and white represents good….Change your mind and believe that black represents life and power. Reinforce that thought with historical evidence and it will be accepted as reality.” In this essay, Browder also gives some history on the word white and its historical representation of death and the “absence of life.”