In case you didn’t know, last night, inspired in part by the Paula Deen brouhaha, and ongoing George Zimmerman trial, CNN hosted an hour-long special (including commercials) titled The N Word: Is It Ever Ok, hosted by Don Lemmon.
During the program, Lemon was joined by a panel of guests including LeVar Burton, Tim Wise, Wynton Marsalis, Donna Brazile and others, debating the use of the word.
Many of us mocked the idea of the special yesterday, before it aired, but I figured I’d share it anyway, since, I’m sure, some of you would want to watch it, if you already didn’t, and discuss. Plus it’s a slow news day, as we all look to the upcoming long holiday weekend!
As for how I, personally, feel about the use of the word… I’m not one of those who’s necessarily married to, or divorced from it. I’m more of an “actions” guy, so I tend to react to how people behave, and how they act, not really to what they say.
I think the same amount of energy (if not more) that we invest into squabbling over who controls the use of the word, and how it’s used, should also be focused squarely on acknowledging and then dismantling, or coming to terms with the environment that gave birth to the word as we now know it today, its intent and meaning, as it came to be in the 1900s or so – an environment that, for all intents and purposes, still arguably lives and breathes in the 21st century, just in a different package.
I believe that what ails us is so much bigger than this one word, but we invest so much in it and its usage. Not that we shouldn’t recognize the usage of the word, or the word itself – I just don’t want us to get too distracted by it, when there is so much else that we need to tackle.
But that’s just me.
I was expecting CNN would make the entire program available online, but they still haven’t yet, so I headed over to YouTube, where I found it uploaded in 4 parts – although the audio isn’t that great.